Tips and Techniques – Using Masking Fluid

The sky’s the limit with masking fluid and today I am going to introduce you to a way of creating patterns and background paper like you’ve never seen before (well, actually, you have, but they are usually digi! lol)

You Need:

Bottle of Artist Quality Masking Fluid (I used 100ml bottle from National Art Materials bought from Eckersley’s Art Supplies).
Scuzzy paintbrush
Tub of warm, soapy water.
Acrylic paint or watercolours
Your hand writing skills

Step One:

Place your cardstock on a flat surface and shake your bottle of masking fluid VERY well. It is made from liquid latex (rubber) so it needs to be well shaken.
Start by dipping your brush into the masking fluid and applying a GENEROUS amount to the cardstock in patterns/shapes/ text. I use text as I find it the most popular and the most effective.

Step Two:

Allow time for the masking fluid to dry (should take about an hour to be sure) and then wash your brush in warm, soapy water to get rid of the latex on the bristles.
As the masking fluid dries it becomes transparent (or a clear yellowish colour).

Step Three:

Once the masking fluid has dried, you need to apply a coat of paint over the top. I used a “Wet on Wet” technique, which means to wet the whole page with water and then apply the paint in thin washes so that it blends in each layer.
I also flicked a layer of white paint over the whole page

Step Four:

Allow the paint some drying time now – about an hour or so if the weather is warm.
When the paint is COMPLETELY dry, you can start peeling off the masking fluid. Because it is made from latex, it will peel off in rubbery strips, into little balls which you rub off with your (dry) fingers.

The finished product should look like this:

The base colour of the cardstock should be showing through where you have “masked” off the areas of text (or whatever else you have drawn).

Here’s my sample of a completed LO using the masking fluid on the base card:

Have fun and don’t remember to wash those paintbrushes!

Take care,
Sares xx


10 Responses

  1. This is awsome Sarah, I’ve never even heard of this stuff, thanks for the tip!!Your LO is sooo unique!

  2. OMG I am very new at viewing your site and amazed at what you have created here…I have never heard of this stuff before. I might have to do some hunting to find it, but what a kewl effect. Thank you for the inspiration

  3. wow! this is exactly what i was looking for! would this technique work on canvas?

  4. You never cease to amazing with your amazing skills and inspiring work… TFS

    Oh and do you mean “don’t forget” or “REMEMBER to wash those paint brushes” ??? 😉

  5. Hi Sarah,

    I am the technique section editor for The Art Journal Journey ezine published by Artella (

    I would love to reprint your technique in our next issue. Could you please contact me by email?

    Best Regards,
    Cheryl Richards

  6. is there a way in which i can colour masking fluid without changing the way in which it works just the paper in which i use means that i cannot see the masking fluid well enough to get a precice result. i hope you can help

  7. do you know if there is a masking substance on the market that can be applied over the area to be protcted and can be overpainted and later be removed by a water wash?

  8. Thanks for finally writing about >Tips and Techniques – Using Masking Fluid | Leonardo’s Apprentice- the world of Sarah Gladman <Liked it!

  9. Is there any way to remove masking after being on the paper for two years? It doesn’t come off in the usual way any more!

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