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Painting circles

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  • Member since
    May 2020
Painting circles
Posted by 2qtslow on Thursday, May 21, 2020 11:52 AM

I want to paint a 3/4" red circle on the body of a white car.  Is there a foolproof method to keep it perfectly and with no bleeding?  It occurs to me I could paint the body red and then protect a circle sized area before painting the rest white, but I would still have the problem of creating a perfectly round and bleed-free mask.

  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Nova Scotia
Posted by Bainford on Friday, May 22, 2020 11:18 AM

I have seen compass type devices that hold a knife blade instead of a lead pencil. I haven't used one so don't know how well they work. I think I would try a circle template like this to try to get a good circle from masking tape. 

2mm-40mm Diameter Range Circles Plastic Stencil Template Ruler ...

It may be tricky to get a good clean circle. I expect it will take a few tries. You will need a quality tape that is a bit wider than the circle. Another method might be to trace around a round object of suitable size, like a pill bottle. Again, will probably take a few tries to get a good result.

I would definately paint the white first, then the red.

See the other recent post in this section titled "two tone paint job" for more info on preventing paint bleed. Hope this helps.

"It would be unusual, if the unusual didn't occur."

- Steamboat Gariepy


  • Member since
    May 2020
Posted by 2qtslow on Sunday, May 24, 2020 12:29 PM

Thanks.  I've eBay'd something very similar to the device above.

"Sealing the tape", whether it be with a clear or with the same color is one of those ideas that seems so self-evident once you learn it.  But I doubt I would have come up with it on my own in a million years had I not read it here first.

Any suggestions for a good tape that is also wide enough.  I have four different rolls of Tamiya, but none are remotely close to being wide enough for this.  And I really thought Frogtape would continue to come off cleanly like it did in the past, but my "Removing tape tack" post tells me I need to keep looking.

I suppose I could cover most of the area around the planned circle with Tamiya and then put a carefully circle-scribed Frogtape over the whole thing.




  • Member since
    May 2020
  • From: Melbourne, Australia
Posted by Joe3D on Thursday, June 11, 2020 2:54 AM

I bought one of the compass-like devices and it works wonderfully (search for 'Circle cutter 12mm - 300mm'). The blade is incredibly sharp and you end up with a perfect circle. Make sure the masking tape is fine, not crinkly, otherwise you can end up with bleed under the edges. If spraying, patience is your friend to stop a wet edge on the circle allowing the bleed. 


  • Member since
    May 2020
  • From: Melbourne, Australia
Posted by Joe3D on Thursday, June 11, 2020 2:56 AM

For large masking tape sheets, I have purchased 'border model' masking sticker sheets. About 200mm x 200mm

  • Member since
    August 2015
  • From: Hamptonville, NC
Posted by TarheelRick on Thursday, June 11, 2020 7:10 AM

Have you considered using frisket film.  It is available in most office supply stores and art/craft stores.  I have some, but have never had need to try it yet.  Seems I remember several years ago on another forum someone raved about the possibilities with this stuff.

I build models because I can't afford the real thing!

  • Member since
    January 2018
Posted by Viperdoug on Thursday, June 11, 2020 9:55 AM

I have used a circle cutting compass on Tamiya masking sheets and have always had no problems with bleeding of paint. The cutter needs to have a sharp blade and will do a great job cutting the Tamiya masking sheet. When I start to paint I will put a few very light coats on at first then build up the color. I use the cutter made by Olfa 9911, you can get them for about $15 and the Tamiya Masking Sheet 87129 also about $15.

  • Member since
    January 2017
Posted by 195X on Thursday, June 11, 2020 10:42 AM

Your local craft store will have circle stickers in varying sizes. They are commonly used to mark pricing on yard and garage sale items. Should be able to find something close to the size you need.

My favorite color is clear. I am also ambidexterous, I can screw up equally well with either hand. I am 53 years old and been building for most of that time. :)

On the bench... somewhere. Pink Panther show car, 1978 Dodge Magnum Charger Daytona Midnight edition SE 300. Mongrel T.

  • Member since
    May 2020
Posted by 2qtslow on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 4:04 PM

The Olfa 9911 arrived today.  The Tamiya masking sheets are going to take quite a bit longer, so I also ordered and received today a roll of Tamiya 40mm masking tape. I am about to start building the Tamiya Honda GP car.  It comes with a red circle decal, but it must be applied over multiple parts and levels. I don't trust my skills with MicroSol and the like to make a decal look like it truly belongs.

This is the car: My thought is to cut a circle out of the 40mm tape and then put the whole strip, minus the circle, over the body before sealing and then painting the red circle.  I'll be working with Tamiya acrylics and they have the grace of coming off very easily if I mess up.

I looked at frisket film.  It is cheaper than Tamiya masking sheets and much more readily available, but a fair portion of the reviews complained about them either leaving behind tack or peeling off paint when they were removed.  I suspect both problems would have been solvable but for now, using the roll tape while waiting for the sheets seems the easiest solution.  Not the cheapest choice, but I have thrown enough money at this new hobby of mine that prices seem to be less and less important all the time.

Thanks to all for all the advice.





  • Member since
    January 2018
Posted by Viperdoug on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 9:55 AM

Be carefull with the 40mm tape, its a little hard to work with. The masking sheet is more plyable and easier to lay down flat and smoth.

  • Member since
    May 2020
Posted by 2qtslow on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 12:52 PM

Yeah, it looks like it won't be a completely level surface, but at least acrylic comes off easily if things go wrong.


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