Monday Money Savers: cheap model masking tape

Use masking tape in your model making? Here’s a quick money saving tip.

If you’re like me and you make a lot of models for your layout, or just make plastic models in general, you’ll use masking tape.

And usually, this is Revell, Tamiya etc style paper masking tape.

They’re great for covering windows and door frames or detailing on Airfix and Revell kits while painting and airbrushing and I can’t fault them. They are one of my staple model making accessories!

An Alternative

Just recently, however, I was at a local home DIY and hardware store*, buying fine sandpaper (to smooth down a plaster hill landscape scene) when I noticed the electrical masking tape display. I needed some black tape for a soldering job so wandered over to have a look at the colourful rolls on display.

And while pursuing the rolls of tape I noticed they also sold paper masking tape for decorating.

On examination, it looks, feels and acts just like the traditional model making masking paper tape. It has the same tacky adhesive that holds it in place but is easy to peel off and is wafer thin making it easy to work with.

But Better Value, Much Better

The difference, however, is the quantity and value for money.

Being for home DIY it’s sold in much larger rolls.

The typical model tape is sold for about £2 to £6 for something like 18-meter roll that’s usually between 6 and 10mm wide.

By contrast, the decorating variant I got (branded Tesa Professional) was 50 meters long and 38mm wide yet only cost £7!

That’s a huge increase in the amount of tape you get for your buck.

I don’t know why I’ve never thought about using decorating paper tape before but it’s going to save money in future! Admittedly, you need to cut this tape along both length and width for scale modelling — that’s one advantage of the narrow model making a specific tape — but I can easily live with doing that.

I handed over the cash and went home to a contented evening of sanding down some plaster hills — more on this another time.

Thankfully, it didn’t turn into another embarrassing model making moment.

> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.


Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon, eBay and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.

Add Comment

Required fields are marked *. Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.