Workshop 1 – 2018

Fine-tuning the masking fluid?

This topic contains 10 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  RiverSong 1 year, 2 months ago.

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    Lisa vB

    Hi Kelly,

    I’m really enjoying the class and looking forward to the remaining lessons! Working on my second attempt at the tree and will post when I’m done (work’s been busy this week). I have a question regarding the masking fluid. I’ve used it before, typically with a brush I don’t care too much about. For my first tree, my “blossoms” were a bit clumpy, because when I dotted on the fluid, one dot connected with the other to make bigger dots than I intended… So on the second tree, I used the end of the brush handle instead. Better. But the fluid is so viscous, it tends to glop up, etc.

    It’s not so much a big deal with the “blossoms” on this assignment, but what tools/devices do you recommend for applying masking fluid when you need precision, fine and/or straight lines, that sort of thing?




    B. Collins

    good question. i’m getting globs too.
    maybe we’ll get an assortment of tricks and tips for applying masking fluid.



    Hi, I use masking fluid all the time and find the following tools really useful: old brushes (cheap nylon are best), a variety of colour shapers (silicone tipped “brushes” used as blenders by pastel artists, ruling (also called mapping) pen (for fine lines such as snow on branches or light grasses), cocktail sticks and an old toothbrush (for splattering). The other tip I’ve picked up is that you can thin the fluid down a bit – best to pour a little into a dish and add a small amount of water until it resembles single cream. Makes it much easier to apply. You may also find this short youTube video helpful The complete guide to masking
    Hope this helps.


    Thanks for answering this, Vicky! Please also note that masking fluid can go bad. It should be a creamlike consistency or a little thinner when new. As it ages, it becomes thicker and harder to deal with (at least my brand does this). Also, it goes from smelling kinda-bad to completely horrible. :D The problem with old masking fluid is it can stain your paper a little. I’ve seen it turn the paper a very light yellow. So I try to keep mine fresh and buy multiples of the smallest containers available.


    Lisa vB

    Oh great, thank you! I will try these suggestions and check out the video.

    Meanwhile, here are my trees. The one to the left was my first attempt. Admittedly, a little rushed (couldn’t wait to get started!). The blossoms are huge because my masking fluid dots flowed into each other, etc.

    The one to the right is my second attempt. I went for a more saturated look, and the blossoms are better–this is the one where I used the end of the brush’s handle to try to keep them more defined/separate from each other.


    I like them both, Lisa! The one where you felt the dots were running together too much: I actually like that clumped-together look. :) You can always paint over parts of them if you think they’re too big. Nice work! :)



    Thank you for the questions and answers for masking fluid. Mine has gotten a bit old as it has the consistency of cake frosting!



    I think my masking fluid is old. it seems to be drying before touching the paper. I ended up very quickly having a hard blob on my paint brush. I do have a masking pen I bought last year but it is fine.


    I’m sure masking fluid varies from brand to brand, but yeah, it needs to at least stay wet between the container and the paper. :D


    B. Collins

    what size of paper are you using for the gumballs!
    probably not that important but i’m curious. i haven’t start mine yet but will today.



    So I tried to thin my masking fluid just now with water and now it is one hard lump in the bottle :( I do have a fine masking fluid pen but that might not work to do the gum ball :( I will try. the art store is too far for me to try today to get new masking fluid. I am looking at a 1.5 hour bus ride one way. hopefully my gumballs work.

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