Blue painter's tape is a light masking tape designed to protect painting jobs and keep lines crisp and clean. It also prevents the smearing and spilling of wet paint on wood furnishing, windows, and other surfaces. And, just as it's important to properly apply the tape to achieve clean painted lines, it's also important to wait long enough before removing the tape to avoid chips and uneven edges.
After you've finished painting, allow your surface to dry before removing the tape. How long you wait to remove it depends on the drying time of your paint, but you should wait at least an hour. A good rule of thumb to use is to wait overnight before peeling off the tape. However, if you wait too long, the adhesive many not come off cleanly, leading to unsightly chips and uneven edges. If you don't wait long enough, the tape will take some of the paint off with it when you remove it.
Remember that if you plan on painting more than one coat, wait to take the tape off after the last coat has dried.
While it's best to remove the tape smoothly and slowly to prevent chipping, all is not lost if the paint chips during the process. If the tape does take any paint off with it, you can always use a small paintbrush and a dab of leftover paint to the area to correct the mistake.
Edward Kimble, professional painter and author of Interior House Painting Blog, contributed to this article.