Sunday, March 11, 2007

What is masking fluid and how do you use it?

Sherry asks:
I saw the Queen's Anne Lace photo on Judy's blog and just loved it! I was wondering what she used to mask off the flowers. Thanks.

Thanks, Sherry. That was a project I taught to senior citizens, quite successfully, I might add! It is easy enough for kids or seniors with a bit of preparation on your part. Here's how I did it ...

There are a couple of different kinds of masking fluid. The easiest one to find comes in a bottle and you can buy it at any Michael's or A C Moore. You will find it in the fine art aisle. There are a number of different brands. There is one by Winsor & Newton that comes in a pretty large glass bottle and may be either white or yellow. The one I prefer is the Susan Scheewe brand. It comes in a 2-ounce plastic bottle and is blue. I like the smaller amount because I don't use a lot of it.

What I use for my adult classes is called Masque-Pen. I order it from Art Supply Warehouse ( The nice thing about it is that it comes in a small plastic bottle with a small metal tip. You can create fine lines just with the tip or you can squeeze out a puddle to brush onto a larger area.

Masking fluid is liquid latex. If you are using a brush, you want to use an old round brush you don't really care about. Dip the brush in clear water and then roll it over a bar of soap (I use Ivory and just keep it in my watercolor bag) until it has plenty of lather all the way up to the ferrell. Then dip the brush into the masking fluid. You have about 10 minutes to work before you have to rinse the brush and start over. If you just use plain water, you should not work for more than about 30 seconds before rinsing and starting over. Your brush is toast if the product dries. Don't forget to empty the water you use to rinse the soap out of the brush and get fresh before you start painting.

For the Queen Anne's Lace project, I used a small piece of a kitchen sponge to dab on the flower heads and threw it away when I was finished. Then I used the writing tip to create the stems. Let the mask dry before you paint over it. Remove it with you finger--the pad of your finger, not your finger nail. Make sure your paper is thoroughly dry before you try to remove the mask or the paper will tear.

By the way, if you are a fiber artist, don't use this on fabric, it won't come out.

Hope this helps,
Judy Leasure, TDA
My art pictures:
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