Best Tape for Masking Lettering

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I’m trying to make a panel with lettering for an electronics project I am building. Attached are pictures from my first attempt at some random lettering. I used a 12 inch wide paper masking tape from Amazon that worked “OK” but not great. It also left behind adhesive residue. I’ve read on the forum about a vinyl transfer tape like this one is better.

What tape do you recommend for masking this type of lettering on a metal panel that is painted with black lacquer? BTW, I know the lettering chosen here is too heavy and the kerning could have been better. Again, this was a first prototype.

Thank you,


Do you need tape? What are you using now?

What kind of speed are you running?

What kind of transmitter is it?


I need something to create a stencil so that I can spray the panel with white lacquer paint for the lettering. This is a transmitter I am building for my ham radio hobby. The speed was about 50 mm/s at about 40 watts.


Unless a plastic material specifically references “laser safe,” stay away from vinyl anything. When lasered, chlorine gas is released.

US Cutter carries a great paper transfer tape in medium tack and high tack adhesive strengths. For vinyl sign transfer, the high tack stuff may be high tack, but for laser stuff, the medium just doesn’t hold well, in my experience.

The high tack stuff when burnished on the surface holds well but is easily removed. I’ve used it for stencil masking on wood and it’s been great. On metal, you’d likely get a cleaner, stronger bond for crisper edges.

I was vector cutting the blue painters tape with good results. I was testing the rotary, it made an easy cleanup.

Do you need to run that slow to get through the paint layer?

@fred_dot_u has a point, here’s a machine that ran for < year at a factory cutting thin vinyl ‘cutouts’… I think these machines are about $20k, so know what you’re vaporizing.

Good luck


There are laser safe stencil tapes as well as liquid masks for doing this if painters tape is not working. I use blue painters tape never masking. Masking leaves adhesive whereas painters tape is designed to release without leaving adhesive.
If you go to Jpplus and look for laser masking you will fine a liquid that you brush,on as well as laser tape. I would use the liquid if painters tape doesn’t satisfy.
Never use vinyl tape as vinyl when,burnt releases chlorine gas. Plenty of data on this…and no need to use vinyls

Please post the end product. Take care…

73’s de KA7CMF


Thank you all for your excellent suggestions. I plan to try 12 inch wide blue painters tape. I’m still experimenting with speeds and power. If you have a suggestion I’d appreciate it.

Besides making craft projects I’m also doing etched and powder coated metal equipment tags.

If you’re a ham radio operator or have a general interest, here is the equipment I’ve built or restored. W4AX - Callsign Lookup by QRZ Ham Radio


Thanks for the link…

Recognize, I think, my first receiver in the Vintage WWII section. The ARC-5. Modified it to the amateur bands in High School along with building a power supply…

You’ve got quite a collection of ‘toys’ if you don’t mind that I put it that way, as I can see the love there…

Take care, thanks for the link