Acrylics, Painting, Watercolor

What is Masking?

July 15, 2014

How do you use masking fluid by alina bradfordMasking, in fine art, means to protect your canvas or paper from paint. This is done by covering the area you want to keep paint-free with tape, a sheet of paper or masking fluid.

Masking Fluid

Masking fluid is liquid that you can buy from your art supply store. You brush it onto your paper or canvas in the area where you need to preserve the white of the support for using in the painting. Often, masking fluid is used when the artist wants to keep areas white to use as highlights in the finished painting.
Try these steps:

  1. Brush the fluid it onto the area you want to mask. Make sure to use an old brush, since masking fluid can ruin newer brushes.
  2. Let the fluid dry before applying your paint.
  3. Once the paint is dry, remove the masking fluid. There are several ways to do this. First, rub the area with an eraser. If that doesn’t work, try to lift it by laying a sticky piece of masking tape on the area, and then ripping the masking tape and dried masking fluid from he paper. If that doesn’t work, nudge a craft knife blade under the edge of the dried masking. Pull the blade upward, remove the blade and use your fingers to peel the rest of the fluid off.

Masking Tape

Masking tape takes a little longer than masking fluid, but some artists prefer it because it doesn’t damage the paper. To use masking tape on art, simply lay strips of tape over the area you want to protect. You can layer strips or cut them into shapes you need so that your protected area won’t be square. To avoid hard edges, tear the tape length-wise and lay the ragged side along the edge of the protected area.


Laying paper over an area you want to protect is the simplest and the most inexpensive way to protect areas of your painting. Cut or tear a thick sheet of paper to the size you need and simply lay it on your painting. You may want to put a loop of tape on the back of the paper to hold it in place while you paint.

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