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Mask Mask King, masking fluid King

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Masking Fluid For Watercolor

And Acrylic Painting.

What is Masking Fluid?

  • Its actually Latex, the liquid rubber that runs out of rubber trees in the tropics


How is Masking Fluid Made?

  • Some brands have additives. MaskKing fluid has quite a few.
  • Most noticeable is ammonia. Its there to give the product maximum shelf life.
  • There is a very little bit of non-staining color; just so you know what areas you have already masked. Without the color, you will never see a little skip in the mask until its too late.
  • Flow promoting agents to help get the fluid into sharp points.
  • Stabilizers to retard coagulation in the bottle.
  • Barrier materials to prevent excessive adhesion to the paper.
  • and a thickener added to make the flow a little more controllable.

When should I use Masking Fluid?
There are a lot reasons why you would want to protect an area of the painting. Here are a few examples:


  • Protect the petals of the flowers. Don't forget the stalks.
  • Paint the background, then remove the mask. Finally, paint in the blanks.


  • Mask out lines to suggest light blades of grass among the darker blades.
  • One of my favorites. I sometimes use utility poles and electric wires to give a feeling of connectedness in a painting. Dark wires against a light sky is easy, but light wires against a dark background requires masking fluid.
  • Scatter little dots of masking fluid over the surface of a winter scene. When the painting is finished, remove the mask. Itís snowing.
  • Well placed specks of mask will be white flowers when a painting is done and the mask removed. A touch of color and you have yellow, etc. flowers.


  • Mask the foam on the crest of waves
  • Triangles of masking fluid become sailboats.


  • Whether human or animal, eyes seems wrong without the little dot of a reflected light source. Its so easy with masking fluid.

How should I use masking Fluid?

  • The most important thing is how not to use it.
  • Never use it with a good brush.
  • Artists have tricks to hopefully keep a brush safe while using masking fluids.
  • Donít take a chance.
  • Sooner or later (usually sooner), that $50.00 brush is going to become a 2¢ stick.

A favorite trick which is going around now.

  • Artists dip the brush into soapy water before dipping it into masking fluid.
  • The reason this works is that the mask never touches the bristles.
  • They are full of soapy water.
  • The masking fluid is only carried on the outside of the brush.
  • You would almost get the same results using the handle end of the brush..

Use A "MaskKing"© Pen

It works like a marker. Stroking the broad way will make nice thick lines. The long way can make extremely thin ones. You can also cover a lot of paper fast.

Can I cleanup masking Fluid pen?


  • The Quill washes clean
  • Rinse the tip inside and out with water.
  • Poke out the nib with the included probe.

Suppose I didn't clean the Quill.

  • Here is the best part. If you donít clean the tip, NO PROBLEM.
  • The next time you want to use it, just pick off the congealed mask.
  • If some mask gets stuck it the little slot, poke the probe in and pull the mask out.

You can buy the pen here.

Are there any other ways to use masking fluid.
You bet there are, they are just more difficult. Before I invented the MaskKing pen I had some survival techniques.

  • For a little spot, use a toothpick.
  • An eraser on the back of a pencil made bigger spots.
  • A Q-Tip makes a decent throw away brush for a somewhat larger area.
  • For really big areas pour some liquid mask on the paper and trowel it around with a credit card.
  • There is one masking job that you don't use my pen for. Flicking spots to make snow. That goes great with a toothbrush. Just remember to use and old one. Even that will get ruined.

If you are interested in some of my deeper painting thoughts, let me refer you HERE. Scroll down a few inches to What I am trying to achieve and how I try to do it.

Regards and keep painting,
Larry Weiss

The "MaskKing Pen" is patent pending.

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Updated 5/14//11

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