Alcohol Ink and Masking Fluid

by | Feb 4, 2019 | Alcohol Ink, Sheryl Williams

Masked neck and dots of hair

Masked iris to pour background

Masked the glass details

Masking fluid is a part of every artist’s toolbox.

So what is masking fluid?

  • Masking Fluid is a latex product that you can put down on your surface and any ink applied won’t stick there. When you remove it you’ve got a lovely white space.

Why would you use it?

  • Perhaps you’d like to pour a lovely background and then paint a specific image on white rather than on top of the background. (See Iris above)
  • Perhaps you’d like to preserve whites for whiskers or white in cactus spines. (see Wild Woman above)
  • Perhaps you’d like to preserve a color that you’ve already put down and now you want to apply a background and don’t want to mess up what you’ve painted. (See Glass above)

How do you apply it?

The most common way is to lather a brush up with soap and then dip it into the fluid and paint with it. Sometimes your brush is toast afterwards.

There are tools with thin needles to apply it but they can clog up.

Fineline masque Pen

Here are masking tool pens that disburse a fine line of fluid. Keep clean.

Pebeo Masking Fluid Marker .7mm

Molotow Art Masking LIquid Pump Marker

I like to use the end of a pointed brush. You can make very fine lines and then just wash off the brush end. (see video)

Brush Handle

I’ve found out and made a new applicator I call a masking wheel (see second video) This is great for unusual shapes especially in water.

For large areas use can use Frisket or contact paper and cut out your image to be preserved and apply it to your surface


What of masking fluids are there?

I prefer Pebeo Drawing Gum. It’s relatively thin and works beautifully for me. It’s a blue color.

There are lots of other masking fluids on the market and they are in different colors from white to yellow to blue.

How do you take off the masking fluid?

  • You can rub it with your finger
  • Use a pick up tool (see video)
  • You can use masking tape to grab it and pick it up (see video)

Here are two videos for you to watch: The first one compares several tools and shows you how to use them

The second video shows you how to use and make a masking wheel.

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Sheryl Williams is an accomplished alcohol ink artist and instructor. She provides online courses where she teaches building blocks of techniques and tools that develop the necessary skills to express the art within you. Learn more about Sheryl and her course offerings on your profile page here!

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  1. Linda Eader

    Can you use masking fluid on black nara paper?

  2. John Donovan

    Did you figure out why the eraser didn’t work well?


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