When I use either artists masking fluid or shop bought masking tape it aaallllways pulls the paper apart. How do I stop that happening or what can I use instead?enter image description here

  • Are you removing the masking material while the paper is still wet and therefore fragile? Perhaps just waiting for it to dry thoroughly will resolidify the paper enough to help it survive the mask removal. Sep 30, 2018 at 10:59
  • I've tried it dry and wet to see if it was that. I've also tried press it down not as hard (if that makes sense) but the obvious happens 😂 Sep 30, 2018 at 15:35

2 Answers 2


7 tips for working with masking fluid, from Artists & Illustrators

I use a great deal of water, sometimes pouring colour onto the paper from a small jar and then responding to its progress with further washes as it begins to dry.

I normally apply masking fluid to protect small, relatively complex shapes.

Masking fluid is often a difficult medium. sometimes to the extent that artists give up on it. However by following these tips the ‘difficulties’ can quite easily be overcome.

  1. Plan thoroughly. To get the most out of masking fluid, it should be considered very carefully at the planning stage of a painting. In most cases it is applied before any paint comes into contact with the paper. The marks made and therefore consequently left by the masking fluid on its removal have to be carefully appraised. It might help to think of it not as masking fluid but as ‘white paint’. I considered the placement of paint but has taken a less than considered approach to the application of the masking fluid. A badly planned and poorly applied area of masking fluid can have as damaging effect to a painting as a poorly painted passage and can leave the painting in ruins.
  2. Dilute to taste. Through experience, I have learnt that sometimes masking fluid can be too thick if used straight from the bottle. I often water it down to aid the flow of the masking fluid onto the paper, which is useful for creating finer lines or more finely spattered .
  3. Test the masking fluid on some sample scraps of your intended watercolour paper. If the paper used is a soft paper, the masking fluid might pull at the paper when it is removed. It might be advantageous to dilute the masking fluid with water, as this would exert less of a pull on the paper.
  4. Handle with care. Never shake the bottle up.
  5. Don't work wet. Make certain that the paper is thoroughly dry before applying the masking fluid, otherwise you run the risk of the masking fluid penetrating the top layer of the paper. This could result in the paper being torn when the masking fluid is removed.
  6. Always leave the masking fluid to dry fully before over-painting too. To check this, carefully touch the masking fluid with your finger tip.
  7. Remove it carefully. Some artists use a soft rubber to remove the masking fluid from the paper. I remove it by gently rubbing with my fingertips.
  • B.Martini - there's no need to apologise; generally we edit existing answers rather than creating entirely new ones, but in this case we'll probably just keep this one and delete your old one. I've reformatted your large paragraph into a numbered list for ease of reading, but I could only find 7 distinct tips; I suspect that the first tip is actually three in one, but couldn't work out where to split it.
    – walrus
    Oct 5, 2018 at 13:52
  • 1
    Great answer! Thank you for providing all these details.
    – Erica
    Oct 6, 2018 at 19:17
  • @B.Martini, as with your other answer that I just edited, copying and pasting answers in general is frowned upon; doing so without attribution is not allowed. Please give credit for any answers that do rely on other sources, and ideally just use them for reference rather than copying and pasting at all.
    – walrus
    Oct 11, 2018 at 13:36
  • I wonder if it would help to colour underneath the masking fluid spot with white clean crayon? the waxy surface might protect the paper a bit? Not sure, but just a suggestion. Or maybe use white watercolour pencil?
    – EmRoBeau
    Oct 29, 2018 at 17:24

Winsor & Newton® Watercolor Medium, Permanent Masking Mediumenter image description here

  • The person who asked the question specifically mentions that masking fluid such as this is causing them problems; please update your question to address this issue.
    – walrus
    Oct 4, 2018 at 9:23
  • This looks like it designed to not be removed. Can you help us understand how masking fluid should work?
    – Erica
    Oct 4, 2018 at 16:12
  • If you no longer want this as an answer, since you've added a new one that's not about permanent fluid, you can [delete] it. It's easy and there's no penalties associated with that. Happens all the time
    – user24
    Oct 5, 2018 at 19:47
  • It is designed to be removed it needs to completely dry. As well as the painting especially the area around the masking. When you get ready to remove just be careful and move slow.
    – B.Martini
    Oct 9, 2018 at 5:40
  • 2
    It specifically says "Non Removable" and "Permanent"...
    – walrus
    Oct 11, 2018 at 13:40

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