Every few months, my friend Claire and I get together to create art! We are still pretty new to watercolors, and try to improve via tutorials on Youtube and Pinterest. Recently, she picked up a bottle of masking fluid at our local art store. I had never used it before, so I was fascinated when she showed me how it works!
In this post, I’ll share my first art piece made with masking fluid. I’ve concluded that it’s pretty magical, and I will definitely buy a bottle for myself.
Masking fluid, sometimes called “liquid frisquet” or “drawing gum”, is a thick, opaque liquid that dries into a gummy, removable film (the closest thing I can compare it to is watered-down glue or mod podge). It is water-repellent, acting as a mask to preserve white space on your paper or canvas.
Because it’s quick-drying and very sticky when dry, I’ve heard that you should only use it with a paintbrush that you don’t care too much about.
We decided to do hand-lettered quotes on top of a colorful, floral background. I chose this quote by Monet: “I must have flowers, always and always”. After lightly sketching out the quotes in pencil, we went over them with masking fluid. I learned that dipping frequently is the key to getting consistent coverage.
Once the masking fluid is dry, it becomes a bluish-gray color and is very water-repellent. You can see here that the watercolor ink just beads on top of it!
Here, I am adding more flowers to the piece.
It’s important to make sure each of the lettered words is surrounded by color, so that the white text will be visible. I had to go over the piece multiple times to make sure the colors were dark enough to contrast the white letters.
Now, here comes the fun part! After the watercolor florals were completely dry, we began peeling off the masking fluid. This is strangely satisfying, and I’d liken it to scratching a lottery ticket or peeling plastic film off new electronic gadgets. It helps to use an eraser to lift up the corner, and then just use your finger to rub the rest away.
The gum rubs off like eraser shavings, and you can simply brush them off your paper. It leaves behind crisp white areas, untouched by your watercolors.
Here is the finished piece! I am very happy with how it turned out, and will probably frame it up in my room :)
- Pebeo Liquid Drawing Gum (available at University Art in San Jose, or various online stores)
- Loew Cornell 36 Color Watercolor Palette
- Strathmore Cold Press Watercolor Paper – 140 lb
- Assorted paintbrushes