Painting Over Packing Tape


Well-known member
I started building last December. Because my shop is unheated and my wife wouldn't allow painting in the house, I bought a bunch of colourful packing tape. I bought it for colour but love how it holds my planes together when I do things like run into a fence made of railway ties. First flights ever and on a Tiny Trainer. Clipped a tree top cruising as fast as you can on an A Pack and you could hardly see where it contacted the wing. I was amazed. Same with my Explorer and Mini Arrow. Both would be long dead were it not for packing tape over the entire plane. They all still fly well. Needed a new fuselage on the Trainer after many hard hits. Could stand to rebuild the nose on my Explorer but even though the foam is mush underneath, the tape holds it together well enough I'm not building another nose. It's not critical to flight. The nose on the Arrow is mush too.

I love adding tape to my planes for strength. But it's a bit limiting in terms of getting too creative with colours and visual designs. My questions. Can you paint over packing tape? Will the paint fall off? Is there a particular type of paint that works best?

Temperature's finally warm enough I can paint in the shop. Our local club is having a Float Fly event in about 3 weeks and I want to build an Otter and Simple Cub on floats. Wanna make them look cool. By cool I mean slightly better than I can do with coloured tape.


Building Fool-Flying Noob
Water base inks tend to ball up, and wipe up easy. I imagine acrylics may not hold well unless it's a primer too. although water based glue will do the same. oil base may be the way to go.


Well-known member
Any brands work better than others?
I've found that Rust-Oleum brand 2x cover works really well. Try sanding any tape with some sand paper before painting. Keeps the paint from scratching off. Try using oil based minwax on any non taped surfaces before painting. Makes your Dollar tree foam water proof. Especially if you plan to fly off water. You can use a spray sealer to make it water resistant if you don't plan on flying on water. The spray sealant is applied before paint, or after if you get clear. The spray sealer is nice because it's fast, not messy like minwax, and doesn't yellow foam board like minwax. But be careful, do light coats as it is water based and will delaminate. Practice on scrap first. They make a spray oil based minwax but I've only been able to find it online.


Well-known member
Awesome, folks. Some great ideas here.

For sanding the tape, use something like 400 grit?


Master member
Sand with 320 to scuff it up. Painters touch 2x holds well, and is available at all hardware stores in Canada. Use several light coats.

Basically what kdobson83 said.

I use minwax for dollar tree board, available at Canadian tire and home hardware. Wipe on, wipe off.


Legendary member
why not consider a paper-based tape that will hold paint - seems pointless to go backwards to go forwards - alternatively, use some brown paper and spray glue to 'tape' the surface and paint from there?


Master member
I painted over top of packing tape on my Storch. I 2nd the idea of roughing up the tape so it sticks better. I added some stripes with some duct tape on one part and it unfortunately stuck in the wrong place so had to peel it back up to re-apply it. This of course peeled up some paint. It's a small area and I'm not going to worry about it. But keep something like that in mind if you do that.


Junior Member
I dunno, this is all packing tape. I place strips on a clean piece of glass with plans underneath and cut the desired design/shape. Then apply to the foam board.


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Active member
I've had good luck with EzDope on tape ( I know it's not very popular). Completely by accident, I covered the leading edge of my wing with dope intending to wipe up the droplets when they beaded up on the tape. I didn't wipe (ha ha) and found that the dope had "primered" the tape (after 3 coats). Hit it lightly with a scotch-brite and some Valspar now you can barely even see the tape lines. The only issue I've ever had is with masking tape. Even with the dope it's very easy to peal the paint right off the tape if you're not careful. RattleCans Rule!

May try fiberglass resin as a primer next time... if I can keep it thin enough without melting foam...


Well-known member
I dunno, this is all packing tape.
Nice work! I agree. Packing tape works well but there's certain things you can't do with it although you've certainly proven it's capable of providing a sweet finish. I'm not as steady as I once was and my eyesight sucks up close even with glasses. I need my bench lit up like a dentist's chair to see anything. I can apply tape but not as nicely as you.


I know nothing!
I dunno, this is all packing tape. I place strips on a clean piece of glass with plans underneath and cut the desired design/shape. Then apply to the foam board.
Artistic use of tape? Who would have thunk it?! You, sir are a pinstriping madman! Not only do those models looks really good, I've not doubt your pictures will inspire another person to try it. Well done. (y)(y)


I know nothing!
@jross, I was re-reading this thread and I had an epiphone. If my Simple Scout wing had been reinforced with packing tape, it may not have been destroyed by my last crash. She's currently sitting forlornly in an unused chair, just waiting for me to repair her. That might not be necessary had I simply had a line of packing take along the leading edge. I've gotta think on that one. Thank you. (y)(y)(y)