Can You Use Masking Fluid With Acrylic Paint?  

Yes, you can use masking fluid with acrylic paint as long as it contains a very low amount of ammonia. That’s because ammonia can ruin the physical and chemical properties of acrylic paint. 

On the marketplace, you can find masking fluids from different brands specifically formulated for acrylic paints which are safe to use. That was a quick answer to can you use masking fluid with acrylic paint?  Let’s dive deep and find out how to apply it and whether masking fluid ruin acrylic paint or simply blends in.

What Happens If You Use Masking Fluid with Acrylic Paint?

In most cases, masking fluid goes well with acrylic paint. Although masking fluid is generally used with watercolors, it can also work well with water-based acrylic paints. Masking fluid contains liquid latex, ammonia, water, and pigments for color.

While latex and other additives don’t affect acrylic paint, ammonia can break its chemical bond. That’s why many DIYers prefer using tape instead of masking fluid. Below are the issues you might face when using masking fluid with acrylic paint:

It Might Not Work at All 

As you know, masking fluid prevents the paint from penetrating areas where it is applied. If you pick a masking fluid used for watercolors, it might not work with acrylic paint at all. Hence, the fluid won’t be able to prevent the bleeding of the paint and ruin your entire project.

Difficulties While Removing 

Most masking fluids are white or slightly tinted. Acrylic paints are opaque and thicker than regular watercolors. After applying masking fluid to acrylic, if the layers are too thin, you might find it difficult to find the areas where the product has been applied. 

If you use paint and fluid on the same project, the paint might peel off the paint instead of the dried fluid. 

Rough Edges 

Applying mask fluid can be pretty hectic, even if you use your best brush. Improper application can lead to uneven edges, which become more prominent when dried. 

As a result, when you peel off the fluid, the edges will appear rough and ugly. You have to reapply some white paint to fix the edges. 

Use Masking Fluid with Acrylic Paint – A Step-by-Step Guide 

If you’ve decided to use masking fluid with acrylics, you must know how to apply it right for the best results. Here’s a detailed guide to applying masking fluid-

Step One: Choose the Right Product 

You must choose the right masking fluid compatible with acrylic paints. Liquitex, WINSOR & NEWTON, Fineline, and many other brands are popular for their water-based, non-toxic, tinted masking fluids specifically formulated for acrylic paints.

You should check the user reviews and choose one that meets your needs.

Step Two: Select an Applicator 

Some masking fluids come with pointed nozzles or brushes for easy application. We recommend going for masking fluids that come with a nozzle, as they can be applied very thinly.

However, you can also use a synthetic brush to apply the product to larger areas. Some also use a sponge, toothbrush, applicator pen, or toothpick. 

Tip: Synthetic or silicone brushes are better than natural ones when it comes to using masking fluid. Also, dip your brush in soapy water every five minutes to prevent the masking fluid from clogging the bristles. If you use a natural brush, repeated washing will weaken the natural bristles.

Step Three: Test for Compatibility 

You should always test the compatibility of the masking fluid before using it with acrylics. Pour the fluid into a small area and apply acrylic colors once it’s dried.

Check if the fluid is reacting with the paint or damaging it in any way. When you’re done, peel off the dried masking fluid and see if it provides your preferred results.

Step Four: Apply the Masking Fluid 

Take a small amount of masking fluid in a bowl and thin it down if necessary. For easier application, pour the masking fluid into a bottle and use a nozzle to apply it to the canvas. 

Directly apply the masking fluid to the areas you want to protect from the paint and let it dry. Be patient, as it might take some time. While applying the fluid, make sure the layer isn’t too thick or too thin.

Just put the right amount so that you can easily remove it later. Also, don’t use a hair dryer or heater to dry the fluid, as it might ruin the product. Wash your brush with soapy water again to make sure the fluid doesn’t stick to the bristles. 

  • Tip: Don’t shake the masking fluid bottle before application. Instead, stir the fluid gently using a wooden skewer. Shaking the fluid might make it lumpy and create a mess when applied.

If you ever need to sand acrylic paint while working with the paint and masking fluid, know that it’s possible to sand acrylic paint if the situation demands it. But you must know the right way of doing it.

Step Five: Peel Off 

Now it’s time to remove the mask. You can directly peel off the mask-like layer using your hands (make sure you don’t use your nails). Or a kneadable eraser will also help to remove it. Check the finished product, and your job is done!


To apply the masking fluid, use a pointed nozzle or thin brush and cover the areas you don’t want any paint on. Once dried, you can create your artwork with acrylics. Finally, remove the dried masking fluid to expose clean white areas protected by the fluid.

Alternatives of Masking Fluid for Acrylic Paint 

Looking for a good alternative to masking fluid? Not everyone likes to use masking fluid with acrylic paint as it may ruin the brush and is difficult to remove. So, here are some items you can use instead of masking fluid:

Packing Tape 

Using tape is probably the easiest way to block acrylic paint on paper and canvas. You can use packing tape and shape it with scissors to get the perfect lines and highlights you want. 

Sometimes, you may need to create even lines when playing with different colours (you can even make yellow paint with acrylic) which is difficult to achieve with masking fluid. Packing tapes make this job easier.

Packing tape is easy to apply and remove without any brush or other tools. It works with all types of paints, including acrylics. However, taping a large area can be tiresome, and it’s difficult to create curves with tape.

Gouache Paint

This opaque white paint is water-based and can be applied over acrylic paint without any problem. Once you’ve applied the acrylic paint to the canvas, you can use a brush and highlight areas with white gouache paint.

Although effective, this method will take some time, and you won’t be able to create fine edges with this paint.


Clear wax is also a great option to mask off areas where you don’t want any paint. Wax doesn’t affect the integrity or appearance of acrylic paints. And you can use any regular wax or special resisting wax crayons with acrylics.

Although wax is easy to apply, it’s difficult to peel it off from paper or canvas. It will always leave some traces, no matter how hard you try to scrape it off.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How long to leave masking fluid before painting?

Typically, masking fluids take only 5 minutes to dry. However, the time will depend on a few factors like how thick the fluid is, what’s the brand, and the weather condition. The thicker the masking fluid is, the longer it will take to dry.

Moreover, some brands use additives to improve the quality of the masking fluid, which can slow down the drying process. Also, cold weather and high humidity will keep the fluid wet for a long time. So, you must work in a well-ventilated area to make the masking fluid dry faster.

Can you paint over masking fluid?

Yes, you can paint over masking fluid as long as it’s completely dried. However, never apply paint on a wet masking fluid layer, as it will ruin the surface. The fluid will stick to your brush and spread on unwanted areas.

As a result, you won’t be able to paint on areas where the fluid has spread. So, use a toothpick to check if the fluid is completely dried. If the fluid comes off and sticks to the toothpick, avoid painting on it right away.

How do you clean brushes after masking fluid?

After applying the masking fluid, you must clean the brushes immediately with soap and water. Take a bowl of warm water and mix some soap or detergent with the water. 

Dip your brushes in the bowl and keep them there for about 30 minutes or more.
This way, the dried masking fluid will start degrading, and you can easily remove it from your brushes.

Final Words 

So, can you use masking fluid with acrylic paint? There you have the answer. The trick is to know how to correctly apply the masking fluid with acrylics. As long as you follow our given instructions, you’ll be able to create your preferred highlights and fine lines.

Work in a low-humid area where the airflow is sufficient. And remember to clean your brushes right after applying the masking fluid. This way, you can use masking fluid without any issues.

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