Masking Fluid Challenge – And The Winner Is ….

Using Masking Fluid to preserve white spaces can be a challenge when what you want to preserve is a very fine line like cat whiskers or a spider web.  I saw a video on pinterest where a lady used masking fluid on a spider web¹ using a different fluid for each quadrant with watercolor.  I also saw a video Karen Walker made using Pebeo drawing gum as masking fluid.²

Time for a challenge.

I found a neat spider web picture and traced it onto a 9 x 12 piece of Yupo.

Then I proceeded to mask the web using the following masking fluids:


Masking Challenge markedThe size of the brush made a difference. Even though I used the same brush, and it was small, and the lines were still too thick.
The hypodermic needle was a mess.
The Fineline flow was consistent and very fine.

The colorant was important to see what was masked and what wasn’t.

  • Pebeo – gray
  • Fineline – green
  • Incredible white – white
  • Daler Rowney – yellow

The clear winner for me was the Fineline Masking Fluid.  The unique top has a pin it in to always keep the narrow tip clear.  MasquepenI have used a Masque pen in the past and really liked it until I needed to keep a beading pin in it to keep it from drying out. Now I can’t get the pin out.

Ink it up Valley Trail



After the masking fluid was dry, I applied alcohol ink – Nature Walk series consisting of Raspberry, Pebble and Clover. (Click on image to enlarge)




Fluid Pick UP
Fluid Pick up


I used a rubber cement pick up to wipe off all of the masking fluid





Reveal the WinnerThe Reveal.





So thank you, Fineline. You come in both an 18 gauge and a 20 gauge tip.  I’ve ordered a 20 gauge tip so it will be neat to see what that does.



To see the differences, click below:

I invite you to watch the videos for more commentary and details:

It’s in two parts: Applying the fluid and Paint and Reveal.


¹masking fluid on a spider web

²Partial Masking by Karen Walker

13 responses on "Masking Fluid Challenge - And The Winner Is ...."

  1. Hi Sheryl,

    I am totally enjoying your tips, tricks, and tutorials. Thank you so much for putting this formation together.

    Your tutorial on using an airbrush was so inspiring that I purchased the one you have. Now to learn to use it….got any suggestions?

    Got another question…….my moms maiden name is Williams…one brother (Marvin) lived in So Dakota, and another (Orville) in Kansas. Orville’s son Richard Williams is an original member of the rock band called “Kansas”…one of their famous songs is “Dust in the Wind”. I’m curious to know if we might be related?

    Thanks again


    • Hi Sue,
      I’m so glad that you are enjoying the tutorials. As far as the compressor, practice putting one drop at a time on the paper. Then approach the drop from down low and move your arm up as you press down on the button (?) to let the air out. Watch how the speed of your arm movement and the amount of alcohol in the ink makes a difference in the little “fingers” that are created. Keep adding drips, one at a time and blowing up and away from the drip point, the center of your flower bud. You can use really deep colors too.

      We’re probably not related, there are lots of Williams out there. My husband is from Williams in Ft. Worth Texas. I love “Dust in the Wind.” A classic.

  2. In the video I used a rubber pick up and it worked great with no smearing. I’m sure it’s all about how dry the ink is. We’re not patient people but wait longer. Reds can take a day to dry. You could blow with a compressor or hair drying to speed up the drying. Don’t get the Yupo took hot or it can melt. I actually ironed a piece once just to see what would happen. Guess what? curled…

  3. Sheryl, I have had problems with the masking fluid smearing when I have tried to remove it from a piece of Yupo – several times and after letting the ink dry for a long while. Do you ever have this problem? If so, what do you suggest? Thanks!

  4. Sue, I didn’t know that the purpose of the bottle was to clean out the fluid. I think you put it so well. The fluid itself dries up and gets solid. Keeping it fluid in the bottle is not usually an issue. Once it goes into one of these little tips it must stay cleaned out so you can use it again. So the next question is to mask or not to mask for fine lines?

  5. Thanks, Sheryl. I used Fineline last year and loved it….until the neck and nozzle got so clogged I couldn’t clear it out..even after a couple tries, and 2-3 hours of work. Hope yours lasts longer !

    • Hi Barbara,
      I had my Masque Pen clog up too. I soaked it in warm water – have to keep changing the water – to keep it warm or hot and eventually was able to pull out the dried up fluid with a beading needle. It’s the only thing thin enough to get in there.

      • You can buy MasquePen in a kit that comes with an extra bottle whose sole purpose is to squirt water through the tip after you’ve used it so it doesn’t clog up. The only thing I don’t like about
        ALL masking fluids is that they dry up in the bottle or go bad (smell like ammonia), sometimes quicker than you think they will. The other two things you can use to get fine lines is the tip of a diamond shaped small palette knife or a ruling pen, which you can find in the drafting section or on Amazon. they are both metal so you don’t have to worry about the masking fluid ruining them.

  6. Wonderful post, Sheryl! Please post this to the FB Yupo page under Yupo tutorials! I am surprised that the W & N Art Masking Fluid was not used. It’s the brand I’ve used for many years. I’ve tried others – Most of the ones mentioned – except the Fineline (which I’m going to try) – I use it thinned slightly with water and apply with “The Incredible Nib” tool – I’ve had mine for 40 years and the USA company is still in business! Just ordered more nibs – the quality is there, but they changed the tip. It’s much more pointed now. This reminds me that I need to get my hubby to sand it down in his shop to match the original. It’s a very useful tool. I need to do a post on it. Thanks so much for this great in-depth post!!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

©2016 Sheryl Williams Art All Rights Reserved.
%d bloggers like this: