Textures with Masking Fluid

(Regarding the colour wheel) All colours are the friends of their neighbours and the lovers of their opposites - Mark Chagall


African wax fabrics are a wonderful source of inspiration for Module Three that is all about bold colours and organic floral shapes. We focus today on using masking fluid as resist technique to create repetitive textures in contrasting colour layers to be used in the collage projects.


This mini project is about creating colourful textures on deli paper using masking fluid. Have a look at the Pinterest board for inspiration and ideas for colour combinations: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/estemacleod/african-wax-cloth/

Use painted deli sheets from the first module for the layered resist technique. All colours from the set can be used to mix up a wider range. Pthalo green, Burnt Sienna and Azo Gold on their own or mixed up with others will create interesting colours. Masking fluid will be applied with cotton buds (Q tips).


The process for creating interesting textures is quite simple. You will apply the masking fluid on the painted sheet where you want to original colour to remain. The method used for application is cotton buds arranged in a pattern on a sliced carrot. This is the simplest way to create varieties of textures and replicates the technique of melted wax on batik fabric.

You can mix colours from the set, and see what combinations you like together. Use the colour sheets as starting point. You can create dots, curves, circles, stripes and lines with the masking fluid on them.

Make sure the masking fluid is dry before painting a colour on top. You can use paint medium to mix in, but his is not necessary when painting on top of a coloured sheet: make sure this layer of paint is not too thick.

Try different colours, the Pthalo green makes a lovely rich deep teal when mixed with Pthalo blue, add some brown for a deeper tint. Maroon made from red, magenta, Burnt Sienna and a dash of black works well as an opaque colour on top of a lighter colour. Azo gold is a beautiful translucent warm brown and works well in colour mixes with yellow and Pthalo green to create warm rich yellows and greens.

One technique you can try for a fine all over texture is to apply a second deli paper on top of a painted masking fluid detail one whilst it is freshly painted, in the same way you did in the first module to create duplicate thinly layered colour sheets. Because of the dotted masking fluid marks it will create a fine texture when doing a "print" from this coloured sheet.

This can be repeated with another colour, so you can paint the same sheet you had just done the print from, adding more colours to build up the texture with deeper colours. This works best with colours in harmony with one another, like blue and green, rather than contrasting colours like orange and purple.

When you remove the masking fluid, the original colour sheet will be revealed. Make sure the painted sheet is dry. Best to leave it an hour or more after painting.

To remove the masking fluid use a fan or flat brush to cover the entire sheet with a thin layer of water. This will soften the paint on top of the masking fluid. Now rub the sheet gently with a kitchen paper towel, the movement will remove the masking fluid easily. Expect some colour to be rubbed off as well.

I created a black and white sheet, masking fluid had been used on top of a clear deli sheet. A layer of black high flow was painted on top, no painting medium was used in the mixture. Once dried, the masking fluid marks were removed by rubbing over it with my fingers rather than using a kitchen towel, no water had been applied. I did this to ensure that the white dots do not turn grey as it might when rubbing with the wet technique.

The variety of coloured textured sheets will be used in this weeks collage project. You do not need to make many, look at your colour combo sheets from module one as inspiration.


The aim of this mini project is to create sheets or simple textures in contrasting colours to be used in the collage project.