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Masking

Liquid masking, I have mixed feelings when it comes to liquid masking in watercolor. When it works, I love it, but it doesn’t always work very well. Part of it is controlling the size of masking, a lot of that depends on how patient I am at the moment. Some of it depends on what I am using to place it. I used to use a toothpick, now I use a palette knife more often than not. It takes a long time to dry, if not used properly it can peel away paper when removed. So today I will give you a few tip that I have learned over the years.

This is the liquid masking that I use. There are a number of different brands and colors that it dries in however, so don’t think this is the only option. I have debated on trying a different kind, but I usually run out and need it immediately, so I buy whatever is available at Michael’s at the time. This is what they have at the one I shop at. This one is made by Windsor and Newton. It’s easy to use and easy to clean up. But it does take a bit of practice.

This particular masking dries yellow, so it is easy to see where it has been placed. If you find you don’t like it where it is, let it completely dry and it is really easy to remove. However, if it is at all attached to something you do want, be super careful removing it, as it will peel everything else off with it. I usually hold down on the spot I want it to break with a fingernail or my palette knife, and then gently pull until it breaks. But hold tight, because it can be stubborn sometimes! Also, don’t place this masking too early. If left on the paper for an extended amount of time, it will leave behind a yellow stain. I have left it on my paper for upwards of 1 week and had no problem. But anything longer than a week and I have had it stain my paper. When you want a white paper underneath, the yellow stain is frustrating.

Do NOT dry it with a heat gun or hair dryer. I cannot emphasize this enough, whether you’re wanting to speed up the dry time of the masking or the dry time of the paint, if you have put down liquid masking, just be patient and let it dry on its own. If you do dry it by either of these methods, it will peel off paper when you try to remove the masking. This can be really frustrating at the end of a painting. This also messes up the surface of the paper so if you try to touch-up paint around the area, it will have an obvious difference. Let it dry naturally.

The type of paper that you use makes a huge difference as well. A 100% cotton paper is more durable than pulp type papers. Papers that can be purchased at places like Wal-Mart, Michaels, Fred Meyer, or any other big box store are generally not cotton. They are usually cheaper papers as well, but not enough cheaper that they make a good substitute for good quality cotton paper. If you have the option, don’t ever buy a watercolor paper that isn’t cotton. Cotton papers will say on the front that they are 100% cotton.

This is a little egg that I did using liquid masking. This was part of a fun YouTube tutorial painting project that demonstrates how nicely it works to keep the paper under the masking white. When laid down properly, allowed to dry properly, and then painted and allowing the paint to dry properly, it works wonderfully, peels off nicely, and leaves a nice finish to any project. So, if you decide to try liquid masking, remember these few tips and you will greatly reduce the problems up might have with your masking.

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