Watercolor is filled with tricky techniques that make it a challenging medium. Masking fluid is a tool that makes the practice much easier.
Of course, which masking fluid you use makes a big difference. That’s why we set out to discover the best masking fluid for watercolor.
We put dozens of contenders to the test, finally arriving at these 10 finalists. Whether you’re doing a little bit of masking or a lot, there are options here to suit your needs.
Keep reading to learn more.
10 Best Art Masking Fluids for Watercolor
1. Winsor & Newton Art Masking Fluid
This watercolor masking fluid is made by one of the most recognizable names in art supplies. It is reasonably priced yet does an excellent job of protecting the areas of your painting that you want to keep white or to which you want to add highlighting.
This Winsor & Newton fluid has excellent liquidity, which makes it easy to apply. It usually is fully dry within about 10 minutes after application, making it possible to get back to painting quickly. If you’ll be removing the masking fluid, this product rubs easily away with a finger or an eraser.
A small amount of this masking fluid goes a long way. If artists are careful to tighten the cap after each use, the product won’t dry up.
Users love how easy this masking fluid is to apply and how long it lasts. However, critics say that this product sometimes has a strong odor.
This Winsor & Newton masking fluid is an excellent choice for novice and seasoned artists alike.
2. Grafix WM2 White Mask Liquid Frisket
When it comes to art masking fluid watercolor artists have excellent reasons to be choosy. The wrong product may leave behind a residue or be too difficult to remove. This Grafix masking fluid comes in a two-ounce bottle and features high-quality latex to ensure easy application and removal.
A made in the USA product, it’s easy to remove this fluid from any type of paper without ripping. Approximately 15 minutes are required for complete drying.
Some artists try to speed up the drying process by using a heating tool, but this is not recommended for this product as it may cause the fluid to become permanently attached to the paper or leave discoloration behind.
Artists praise the excellent consistency of this masking fluid, saying that it is ideal for use in a wide variety of pieces. Rare complaints about the product may relate to its tendency to turn slightly yellowish after considerable time without use. If you don’t plan to use masking fluid often, then this may not be the best option.
Choose this Grafix masking fluid to enjoy easy application and removal.
3. Daler-Rowney Art Masking Fluid
This masking fluid for watercolor painting has a slight yellow color that may not make it a good choice for some artists. Additionally, it has perhaps the strongest smell in this review, which may be a big detriment.
With a thin, runny consistency, this masking fluid is great for making long lines or small dots. As long as you’re careful, it shouldn’t get out of control on the paper. The jar has a particularly narrow opening that allows in less air. That translates to less danger of drying out.
You may see a small amount of paint bleed-through, but removal seems to be fairly easy. It applies best with a cotton ball, pen or old brush.
Artists who praise this product say that it leaves no stains and is easy to rub away with an eraser. Nonetheless, some people are dissatisfied with this masking fluid’s inability to hold a straight edge.
With an economical price and consistent performance, this Daler-Rowney masking fluid is a great choice for students.
4. Dr. Ph. Martin’s Frisket Mask Fluid (Level 1)
With this frisket masking fluid, artists are provided with a latex-based product that adheres to a variety of surfaces, including watercolor. It’s made in the USA and comes in a one-ounce bottle that’s made of glass and includes a dropper.
Because it’s so easy to apply, this masking fluid can be used for layered or blocking applications. Removal is a breeze with a soft eraser. Notice that this masking fluid is called “Level 1.” Dr. Martin’s also makes a stronger Level 2.
Claiming that they have successfully used this masking fluid with a variety of paints and inks, artists say that they are fans. Complaints about paper tearing during removal are few and far between.
Nonetheless, more than one consumer has noticed that the masking fluid tends to dry up in the dropper. This clogs the dropper, making it impossible to use. It may be best not to count on using it.
With excellent consistency, easy application and trouble-free removal, this product is a good bet.
5. Grumbacher Miskit Liquid Frisket
Available in a 1.2-ounce size, this liquid masking fluid is bright orange. This could be valuable for artists who have difficulty discerning white masking fluid on similarly colored paper.
The formula contains natural rubber latex. Some users may have an allergic reaction.
Application and cleanup are a breeze. Ordinary soap and water are all that’s needed.
Grumbacher recommends that users store this product upside down with the lid tightly closed. This maximizes the masking liquid’s longevity.
Artists praise this product for being able to hold a sharp edge yet also being thin enough to paint with. With fast drying and a little bit of product going a long way, many people love this masking fluid.
Nonetheless, critics note that the color begins to separate over time, and it’s necessary to be careful not to shake the bottle to mix it up again. A gentle stir does the trick.
Its bright orange color makes this masking fluid an excellent choice so you can see where it’s been applied.
6. Turner Colour Works Watercolor Masking Fluid
According to many artists, some masking fluids are difficult to use because they are too gummy. This makes them hard to apply with precision. Turner’s masking fluid earns points for having a more fluid consistency. The result is that the artist is in total control.
This masking fluid from Turner is a dream to apply. Just use an old paintbrush, carefully applying a small amount at a time. It dries in just a few minutes so that you can get back to painting.
When you’re ready, just peel the dried masking fluid away or use a soft eraser to do the job.
From this masking fluid review, we learned that there’s no residue left behind upon removal. Many artists love this brand of masking fluid, though a few do complain about the odor.
Turner makes a fantastic masking fluid that novices and experienced artists will love.
7. Lukas Aquarell Watercolor Painting Medium – Masking Fluid
This removable liquid frisket can be used to efficiently cover certain areas on any paper or to block paint. If you like, this fluid is particularly good for creating sky and cloud effects.
Containing natural rubber latex, it’s possible that people with an allergy may have an adverse reaction to use. If you don’t have an allergy, then you’ll appreciate how large this bottle is for a remarkably inexpensive price.
The thin consistency ensures ease of application. Plus, it dries fast. When dry, it is translucent, which means that it is hard to see against your paper. Thanks to its ability to create clean lines, plenty of artists still love this product.
Most people praise this masking fluid’s consistency and the fact that a little goes a long way.
If you plan to do a lot of masking, then you need this large bottle of masking fluid.
8. Fineline Masking Fluid Pen
This 20-gauge masking fluid pen contains 1.25 ounces of fluid. It comes with a tip and a separate cap for storage.
A made in the USA product, this masking fluid takes advantage of an unusual cap and wire system to keep the bottle air-tight and to prevent clogging. In fact, the dispensing tip is made from stainless steel for precise application.
When dry, the masking fluid assumes a light blue color so that it can be seen against paper. Artists praise this product because it works exactly as it should. Consistent flow enables you to make fine lines, and many people remark that the fluid is easy to remove from paper even when it’s left for a long time.
While artists appreciate having the applicator tip, they do note that you have to be vigilant about keeping it clean.
If you need to mask small, detailed spaces, this is the perfect solution.
9. Molotow GRAFX Masking Pluid Pump Marker
If you don’t want to mess with brushes and you need to mask small details, then you need our pick for the best masking fluid pen. Granted, this pen won’t last as long as a bottle, but it could be the ideal solution if you aren’t a prolific painter.
The pen tip allows for precise application. You can even colorize it if you want to make it easier to see. The masking liquid removes easily and without leaving a residue. This is a sustainable product that can be refilled with fluid, and the tip can be exchanged.
Artists love the precision of this pen, though a few say that sometimes it’s hard to get the fluid flowing.
If you’re looking for an on-the-go masking solution or are doing really detailed work, this is the way to go.
10. Schmincke Masking Fluid
This removable blue masking fluid is remarkably easy to see after application. As long as you are careful to gently rub it away, it won’t tear your paper or leave behind discoloration or a residue.
Thanks to a fine applicator tip, you can use this masking fluid on really detailed pieces. Plus, you don’t have to sacrifice a paintbrush just to do some masking. It’s a really convenient alternative.
Saying that they appreciate the ability to use the product right out of the bottle, artists love this fluid. Nonetheless, some have complained about inconsistent flow.
If you want a masking fluid for detailed pieces that’s also tinted, then you’ll fall in love with this product.
Making The Decision
For overall quality and consistency, our top recommendation is the Winsor & Newton Art Masking Fluid. As long as you can put up with the relatively strong odor, it’s a solid bet.
A trustworthy alternative is Dr. Ph. Martin’s Frisket. Thanks to the dropper, it’s really easy to use. All you have to do is keep the dropper clean.
If you prefer detailed work, then give the Fineline Masking Fluid Pen a try. The stainless steel tip is great.