Kraft paper tape is a studio essential. Known for its tough backing and reliable bond, this unassuming brown tape can fulfill many creative needs. Use it to seal the backs of artworks, stretch papers, package up carefully wrapped art for shipping—the applications are endless. From self-adhesive rolls to gummed tapes, our picks below will help you choose the best product for all kinds of jobs.
1. U-Haul Moving Box Paper Tape
Designed specifically for packaging boxes for home moving, U-Haul’s classic Kraft paper tape is our favorite all-purpose adhesive to keep around the studio. Strong, heavy-duty, completely opaque, it can be used to tape inspirational pictures to walls, seal boxes, and temporarily adhere sketches or casual works in progress to any surface. These self-adhesive strips are also very easy to tear with your hands. Best of all, when you remove a strip, it doesn’t leave a gummy residue.
2. Shurtape General Purpose Kraft Packaging Tape
You could use this tape for a number of projects, but we particularly like using it to tape down the back of picture frames. It is easy to rip, adheres to itself, and stays firmly in place when pressed down, with little to no curling over time. Despite this strength, it can be removed with little effort and leaves behind a clean surface. It also has a pleasant shade of brown that makes your finished work look clean and professional.
3. Duck Reinforced Gummed Kraft Paper Tape
Gummed paper tape, which needs water to activate its stickiness, is an excellent option for when you need to make a firmly secured seal. This option is particularly strong, as it’s designed with fiberglass filaments that reinforce a kraft paper backing. It has impressive adhesion to cardboard, making it ideal for shipping out precious materials or artworks. In our book, it’s the top USPS-approved tape to use when sending packages via Registered Mail.
4. Specialty Tapes Gummed Kraft Paper Tape
If you need to stretch watercolor paper to avoid wrinkles as you work, an economical solution is to use gummed tape. This option offers a winning combination of impressive holding strength and endurance. Only one strip of tape is used to hold each edge of the paper, and it stays put until you’re ready to remove it. When you do so, it lifts easily from the paper without leaving a mark. Plus, you get a lot of tape on one roll—enough to stretch many large papers.
5. Because I’m Happy Kraft Paper Tape
This is a good-looking tape, with a pleasantly smooth surface and warm brown tinge. It’s self-adhesive, slim, and easy to tear. But what we really like about it is that it takes pens and markers very well, making it an ideal tape for writing on, especially when you have to stare at the finished label every day. A word of warning: this tape has a tendency to leave behind sticky residue, but you can wash this off with a little soap and water.