tutorials, Watercolors

How to use the masking fluid in your paintings

Masking fluid is the best thing to ever happen to a water colorist. It protects all the tiny fussy areas that you want to keep unstained with the wash being applied. It also gives you the peace to quickly paint an area that can be quite frustrating to manage with all the tiny details that you want to paint around.

Just like any other medium, masking fluid comes with a few do’s and don’ts and a few tips and tricks can get you to make the most of it.

1. Application:

Keep your good fancy brushes far far away from this bottle. You have been warned!

Use your old brushes that are not in use anymore. There are plenty other things that can be used to apply masking fluid. I usually use skewers, old brushes, tooth picks, old tooth brushes etc.

DON’T leave the bottle open while you’re applying the masking fluid on the paper. Just take a little amount out in a cap or your palette well and use.

If you find your masking fluid a little thick in consistency, just add a tiny bit of water and stir the bottle. Diluting the fluid makes the application easier.

2. Drying:

It literally takes five minutes or so to dry (unless it has been applied thickly, in which case you might need up to 20 minutes), so don’t try to speed up the process by using heat. The fluid will stick to your paper and will tear it when you take it off.

Don’t leave the masking fluid on for too long. I’m talking days and months here. You’ll destroy your painting.

Remove the masking when it is completely dry. Also don’t remove the masking when the paint around it is still wet. Patience is the key here.

3. Removing:

Masking fluid is very easy to remove. You can use a stump or an eraser or simply your finger to remove it.

Masking fluid leaves quite strong, hard edges when it comes off. Unless it is what your painting calls for, you can always soften the edges with a damp brush.


Masking fluid is seriously awesome. Once you get the hang of it, you wouldn’t want to work without it.

Have fun !





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