Acid free artist tape has a backing of finely ground mineral particle aggregate. In layman’s terms, this means a rough surface which affords good traction to those stepping on it. It is perfect for use in both places where slipping in likely (e.g. on a flat stone floor which is liable to get wet) or where to slip would be particularly hazardous (e.g. in factories, laboratories or areas in which specialist equipment or materials are kept, and on stairs). In order to ensure your acid free artist tape is reliable, however, you have to make sure it is applied correctly.

With any form of acid free artist tape – you must make sure the surface to which you are applying it is dry and free of contaminants. Water or damp can break down the chemical adhesive and lead to your tape becoming loose. Contaminants can have a similarly dangerous effect. If, for example, you were to apply your adhesive tape to a particularly dusty floor, then the dangerous is that the tape adheres to the dirt and not the floor. Again, the risk of the tape coming free is increased.

Temperature can also affect the performance of some tapes; too hot and the adhesive may melt, too cold and it may be rendered inactive. The surface to which you are applying the adhesive tape should ideally be around 10°C. If you are applying the tape to stone, wood or some other porous material, then it may be worth using a special primer in order to increase the strength of the bond.

Remove the paper backer from the adhesive tape and press it against the surface. Continue to apply pressure along the length of the applied tape. This can be done easily by hand, though the use of a seam roller may help you get a more even spread and ensure that all areas are firmly pressed down. Acid free artist tape comes in a range of colours, suitable for a variety of contexts. Black and white hazard line tapes are ideal for particularly hazardous areas, where it is important for an edge or potential danger to be highlighted. Plain black, white and yellow tapes are available for those contexts in which you wish people to remain safe, but do not want anything which looks too harsh.

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Corlissa Bramowitz

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