Paint lifting off of foam board when taping paint schemes


Active member
I use Rustoleum on FT foam-board, sand the surface as course as I dare without overly scratching the surface of the foam board, anywhere from 180 - 600 grit. I still have some paint pulling off with the tape (3M blue tape) when painting layers. I sometimes use Dap spackling to blend seams and the lift off of paint is especially bad in these areas. I put considerable time into surface prep but still struggle with paint lifting off.

Suggestions? Thank you!


Master member
sorry I have none but feel your pain. I've done DTFB builds with polyurethane costing and never had a problem. built a sea duck outta FTFB this Feb and I thought I didn't sand it with steel wool enough as it peeled quite miserably. I thought I didn't sand it enough... that's all I've got to offer! Although if you're using spackle to blend, you might need to seal that up as well with something.

perhaps sand (steel wool) before spackle and seal the spackle with polyurethane before trying paint?


Active member
Thanks, I used poly over the sanded foam board and spackle,.

Maybe I didn't go over the poly covering the spackle enough?

The paint lifted off of the poly that was over the spackle.
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Master member
hmm... not sure then. Is a thin layer of spackle coming up too? I have a limited experience of paint on FTFB which I've had the same problem (most of my builds are the generic DTFB) I use mostly satin finish spray paint. I also try to de-tack the tape a bit by sticking it to my clothes and peeling of a few times, but that's just because I tend to rush painting by taping and painting differently colors all in the same evening :p

BTW that's a great looking build you've got there!


Active member
The spackle doesn't come up.

I hear you on the rushing part...50 years down the road and STILL haven't learned to be patient on the painting bit!!!!!

...and thanks.


Elite member
I have better luck with the gray delicate surface painters tape than the blue or green stuff. Even then, I stick it to my clothes a few times to reduce the stickiness (as Bwarz said); then only leave it on for the shortest amount necessary. As other folks have also said, thin coats and long drying times also helps. But yes, most of the time a little touch up painting is required after pulling the tape off.


New member
I would also suggest a good primer. Do you wear gloves when prepping? Biggest issues ive always run into when painting, granted its a plastic model vs a foamboard. Lack of primer and oils on the surface will contribute to paint lift. other tips I will agree with as well, leave masks in place for as short of time as possible, long cure times. Also experiment with how you peal masks, ive always pull slowly and folded the tape back on itself instead of perpendicular to the piece.

Richard Jones

New member
I alternate paints between airbrush and good old Rustoleum spray paint. I found the blue 3M painters tape tended to pull the paint off the foam board even though I prep with medium steel wool. I found 3M #2080 delicate surface tape works really well. It's lavender in color. For small areas I also found using Post-It notes also works really well because they are not very tacky.


Elite member
I agree. That blue tape is the devil. Green is a little better, but the gray stuff is the best for not lifting paint off.


Well-known member
On a few of the forums I saw modelers using Painter’s Tape to mask larger shapes on their models. They used several or many strips laid down, then trimmed around the edges. There’s a less tedious way to do the same using something called Frisket Paper. You can buy a low tack version or high tack and it comes in sheets or rolls. It worked well for me. Link to the post on my blog: Frisket Paper Tip Link to my blog:


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New member
You can also use vinyl or transfer tape to create masks, a crafting cutter like the Cricut will make creating masks / stencils a much more precise exercise. Video is a bit lengthy but has lots of good info.