Masking Fluid - Product Guide & Reviews
Masking fluid is a watercolour medium and is used to help artists leave small areas of white or the lightest area of colour. It’s generally used for highlights and outlines. It is a liquid that dries gummy or a rubbery texture which can then be peeled or rubbed off after the watercolour has been applied. Leaving behind fresh white crisp lines.
Masking fluid is a specially formulated liquid latex and normally comes in two colours blue or white. There are so many masking fluid products on the market so its hard to know where to begin. This guide will explain and compare the formats and brands available so you know which masking fluid is best for you. Also showing how to uses it and dishing out some handy tips along the way.
Masking Fluid Types
Bottle Format – Most masking fluids come in a glass or plastic bottle/jar. These are ideal if your using brushes or silicon tools to apply the fluid as it allows you to see how much liquid you are putting onto your brush or applicator.
Masking fluid also comes in small squeeze bottles or tubes, these will then have a nozzle designed for you to apply the masking fluid straight from the tube to the paper.
Masking fluid pens are also available and are used just like a paint pen again applying the fluid directly onto the page. Some work better than others as the nozzle or pen tip can get blocked up easily.
Colour – Masking fluid is available in white or blue.
The white masking fluid dries clear or pale yellow/white this can make it harder to see once you are ready to remove it. The blue coloured one ensures you will be able to see it even when dry.
Consistency – Masking fluid should be in a liquid form similar to cream. If its too thin or runny its hard to control and will spread on the page. If its too thick its hard to paint finer lines a small details.
Drying time – Most masking fluids dry quickly within an hour or two but this is dependent on how thickly its applied.
How its removed – Most masking fluid can be removed by either rubbing it off or pealing it off.
Application – You can apply masking fluid with a brush or silicon applicator. Apply a thin layer on your water colour paper to the areas you want to leave white and leave it to dry. Once dry its ready for you to paint over.
Hints and Tips
Top tip – If using a brush for application dip it into a warm soapy water solution, washing up liquid is best for this. Before dipping it into the masking fluid, this helps protect your brush and stops the masking fluid sticking to it.
Top tip – Once your painting is dry remove the masking fluid straight away. This will help you avoid any tearing.
Top tip – Shaking your masking fluid before use can produce bubbles, be sure to let them settle or pop before using as these bubble can cause uneven lines and if the bubbles pop areas of the painting will become uncovered.
Here we have put together a little review of the different brands on the market.
Pebeo drawing gum bottle,
Nice crisp edges to both dots and lines, a nice thin consistency thick enough for the fluid not to spread out once applied. Easy to peel off with no tearing. When its used over paint it removes some but very minimal areas of paint however it still kept a crisp line. 5/5
Zieler masking fluid,
Clean crisp lines for both dots and lines, a similar consistency to the Pebeo one and again didn’t spread out once applied. This is actually my favourite one to apply. It gave the sharpest lines of all of them when applied with a brush. It just missed out on a 5/5 rating due to a little more colour removing when applied over a coloured paint. No tearing and easy to peel off. 4/5
Daler-Rowney Aquafina masking fluid,
Clean crisp lines for both dots and lines, this one has a much thicker consistency which i found hard to use for sharp lines with a brush. It’s the only reason it didn’t score a 5/5. No tearing and easy to peel. Even though its an off white colour its thickness means you can see it when dry or under the paint. 4/5
Daler-Rowney simply masking fluid,
This one spread a little on both the dots and lines application even though its a thicker consistency than the Pebeo and Zieler ones. It gave the best result when painted over another colour but the fact it spread and was thicker so hard to apply resulted in the lower rating. 3/5
Pebeo masking pen,
This pen works like a pump action paint pen, this i found results in bubbles when the masking fluid is applied. The dots test results were awful but the lines were still crisp. This one performed badly for the large area test too as the paint applied over the top actually got through and marked what was meant to be a fresh white surface underneath. This one also had tearing on both the dots and the pencil line test. Not a good result. 1/5
Masking fluid is a fun and versatile medium to use along side watercolours. It is easy to use when you follow our top tips and can really help to create crisp white lines in your artwork. There are some really exciting effects you can create and it is satisfying to peel off after your watercolour has dried. When using a new product its alway best to do a trial run or a little test sheet before starting your main project.
Shop for Zieler masking fluid now: https://www.zieler.co.uk/product/art-masking-fluid-light-blue-60ml-by-zieler-09299339/
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