Updated February 3, 2023.
The white tape widely used by needlepoint shops, often imprinted with their name, is artist’s tape. It’s outstanding for taping the edges of canvas.
It holds but does not discolor. You can tear it with your fingers. It will stay attached to your canvas for over 20 years. I know I have some vintage canvases in my stash where the tape is still perfect.
Masking tape, though more widely available discolors canvas and does not work for long-term storage.
Because artist’s tape isn’t easy to find, I am always on the lookout for alternatives.
Recently I found two at my local Michael’s and tested them for you. Here are my results:
Scotch Low-tack Artist’s Tape comes in the familiar Scotch dispenser. Because it’s white, thick and papery, you might think it’s the same as the Artist’s tape you buy at art supply shops. It’s not. This tape has too little adhesive to stick to needlepoint canvas.
Every method I tried to get it to adhere, including pressing the edge down firmly, did not work. I could not even get it to stick on long enough to fold the tape over to cover the edge.
This tape is unsuitable for use on needlepoint canvas. It might be tacky enough to hold paper for a short period, but I’m not even sure of that.
Washi Tape has similar problems
Artist’s Tape from Artist’s Loft is a 3/4 inch colored tape that comes shrink-wrapped in rolls I could see through the wrap that the tape was crinkly, like painter’s and masking tape. Indeed it is painter’s tape repackaged for the art market. It’s a very thin tape that can be torn with your fingers. According to the label it is repositionable and Ph neutral, both good things. It is also supposed to be non-staining.
I certainly found it easy to use. It bound the edges of my canvas with ease, just as painter’s tape does. What only time can tell us is if this tape will stay on the canvas for long use or if it will crumble, stain and flake as masking tape does.
I think this tape is fine for short-term use to bind your canvas and I would use it with caution for longer-term projects and storage.
Recently I got some transparent masking tape from Snuggly Monkey. I haven’t tested it yet.
For my money, I’m still sticking with artist’s tape. I find it at Dick Blick (online and in many towns) or on eBay. One roll lasts ages as long as you keep it in a dark place (light degrades the adhesive).