Masking fluid, also referred to as liquid frisket, is a latex-based medium used to block out small areas and fine lines where you want to prevent pigment absorption. A mask can be applied with a ruling pen or fine-point stick. It can also be applied with a brush—but use an inexpensive one, since this sticky medium can clog up the bristles. Masking fluid works best on thick paper with a smooth finish, and the surface must be completely dry before starting. It is also best to remove the masking fluid as soon as possible to limit its absorption into the paper; you do this by gently rubbing it off with clean fingers or a putty eraser. Our top picks below will help you find the best masking fluid for your project needs.
1. Grafix White Mask Liquid Frisket
Made of a water-based suspension of latex, this Grafix liquid frisket goes on clear and won’t stain paper. With a thin consistency, it spreads easily and can be sprayed without dilution. It’s suitable for use on artist papers, board, wood, leather, glass, metal, ceramics, and rubber stamps.
2. Fineline Masking Fluid Pen
Skip brushes and get clear, precise lines with this masking fluid pen. This pale blue, easy-to-spot fluid comes in a 1.25-ounce bottle with a 20 gauge (0.5 millimeter) applicator tip for blocking out crisp lines and curves. It peels off easily without damaging paper, keeping sharp edges and avoiding bleed-through. It is suitable for use blocking out watercolor as well as ink, acrylic, oil, and dyes.
3. Grumbacher Miskit Liquid Frisket
Grumbacher Miskit Liquid Frisket is an orange-tinted medium that is easy to spot when it comes time to remove it. With its smooth, thin consistency, it spreads evenly and holds a sharp edge. The maker says it washes out of brushes with soap and water, but it may be best to coat brushes with soap first to prevent this fluid from clogging the bristles. It is also advisable to remove the frisket as soon as possible, as the orange tint could stain paper if left on for too long.
4. Winsor & Newton Art Masking Fluid
Winsor & Newton’s masking fluid dries clear and won’t stain paper. It must be applied to dry paper and removed as soon as possible. With a runny consistency, it works well when applied in dots or small flecks, but it may rip paper if applied too thickly.
5. Peel-Tek Crafters Masking Fluid
Peel-Tek is a brand known for making masking products used in construction and commercial painting, but this Crafters Edition masking fluid is designed with small art and craft projects in mind. The green-tinted medium is easy to spot, and with its thick, rubbery consistency, it paints on in durable layers and cleanly peels off without leaving a residue. This special formula is suitable for use on both porous and nonporous surfaces, making it a great choice for nontraditional materials such as rocks, eggs, ceramics, and metal.