Have you started using masking fluid and got some on your brush and now want to know how to remove masking fluid from your brush? Fear not! I have the answers for you. When using masking fluid it’s really important to clean your brushes before the fluid dries. This will stop the masking fluid from hardening on the brush bristles and making them harder to clean. In this post I will explain how there are several methods for removing masking fluid, including using soap and water, rubbing alcohol, or specialized brush cleaners.
I will also explain:
- The materials needed to remove masking fluid from your brush
- A step by step guide to removing masking fluid from your brush
- Tips and Warnings
- How to clean Maskol off a brush
Masking fluid is a popular tool among watercolor artists, allowing them to preserve white areas of their painting while adding washes of color.
However, if not removed properly, masking fluid can ruin paintbrushes, making them stiff and unusable.
The reason is that most masking fluids are basically a latex rubber that can be painted on and when dry it is basically dried rubber.
In this article, I will discuss different methods for removing most types of masking fluid from paintbrushes.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced watercolor artist, knowing how to properly remove masking fluid from your paintbrushes is something you should know to ensure their longevity and preserving their performance.
Follow the tips and techniques in this article and you can be sure that your brushes will remain in the best condition and be ready to use for your next painting project.
Removing masking fluid from brushes requires a few materials that can be easily found in any art supply store. Here are the materials you will need:
- Masking fluid remover – such as Zest It Masking Fluid Remover
- Soap or dishwashing liquid – can be Murphy’s Oil Soap, dishwashing soap etc.
- Warm water
- A small bowl or container
- A soft-bristled brush
Masking fluid remover is a specially formulated solution that is designed to dissolve and remove masking fluid from brushes without damaging the bristles.
It is important to use a masking fluid remover that is specifically designed for this purpose, as using other solvents or chemicals can damage your brushes.
Soap or dishwashing liquid is used to clean the brush after the masking fluid has been removed. Warm water is also needed to rinse the brush thoroughly.
A small bowl or container is needed to hold the masking fluid remover solution and to rinse the brush. A soft-bristled brush should be used to apply the masking fluid remover and to gently scrub the bristles to remove any remaining residue.
Step by Step Guide to removing masking fluid from your brush
Removing masking fluid from brushes can be a tricky if you have never done it but it is not rocket science and I think you can easily do it. Here’s my easy step-by-step guide to help you remove masking fluid from your brush:
- Step 1: Rinse the brush with warm water to remove any excess masking fluid from the brush.
- Step 2: Apply a small amount of dishwashing detergent to the brush and gently work it into the bristles.
- Step 3: Rinse the brush thoroughly with warm water to remove the detergent and any remaining masking fluid.
- Step 4: If there is still some masking fluid left on the brush, you can try using Murphy’s Oil Soap or a hardened rubber cement-like eraser made specifically for this purpose.
- Step 5: Once you’ve removed all the masking fluid, reshape the bristles and allow the brush to air dry.
It’s important never use hot water when cleaning your brush. This can cause the bristles to become misshapen or damaged or worse it can soften the glue holding the bristles in and they will start falling out.
Also, avoid using harsh chemicals or solvents not designed for artists paintbrushes as these can also damage the bristles.
By following these simple steps, you can easily remove masking fluid from your brush and keep it in good condition for future use.
Tips and Warnings
Here are some additional tips and warnings to keep in mind when working with masking fluid and cleaning your brushes:
Use an old brush or silicon clay sculpting brushes to start with
Use an old brush when applying masking fluid. Chances are your brush will get ruined anyway so use something cheap or at the end of its life. Do not risk damaging a good brush.
Alternatively you can use silicon clay sculpting brushes as it just peels off and there are no more ruined brushes.
Coat the brush with dishwashing liquid before using masking fluid
One forum contributor suggested even rubbing in a little dishwashing liquid to your brush before using masking fluid. Just enough to dampen the brush’s bristles. This makes it easier to wash off.
Work in a well ventilated area
Always work in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves to protect your skin from the harsh chemicals in masking fluid and cleaning agents.
Use a clean brush that is uncontaminated
When applying masking fluid to your paper, use a clean brush and avoid using a brush that has already been contaminated with paint or other substances. This will help prevent the masking fluid from drying onto the brush and making it harder to clean later.
Allow masking fluid to dry completely before painting over it
After applying masking fluid, allow it to dry completely before painting over it. This will help prevent the paint from bleeding under the masking fluid and ruining your work.
Use a purpose made cleaning agent
To remove masking fluid from your brushes, use a cleaning agent specifically designed for this purpose, such as Zest It Masking Fluid Remover.
Soak your brushes in the cleaning agent for about 15 minutes until the masking fluid becomes soft and gooey. Remove the masking fluid with a rag and then wash your brushes in a brush cleaner.
Use some manual picking to remove dried masking fluid
You can sometimes remove small bits of dried masking fluid with your fingers. It is basically dried rubber so you can scrape and pull it off gently if your brush is not that important to you.
Do not try to dry masking fluid with heat
Avoid using heat to dry masking fluid as it can cause the fluid to adhere even tighter to your paper and make it more difficult to remove later.
Quick clean up mistakes and spills
If you accidentally get masking fluid on an area of your paper where you don’t want it, use a small amount of masking fluid remover on a cotton swab to carefully remove the excess fluid.
Read the manufacturer’s instruction labels or website
Always read the instructions and warnings on the masking fluid and cleaning agents before use to ensure safe handling and avoid any potential hazards.
How do you clean Maskol off a brush?
Maskol is a different type of masking agent made by Humbrol. Made more for the model kit hobby industry, it is also used by many artists as a masking agent.
Cleaning Maskol off a brush can be quite the task. If you’re struggling to get the product off your favorite brush, don’t worry.
Firstly, it’s best to clean your brush as soon as possible after using Maskol. If you leave it too long, the product can harden, making it even more difficult to remove and you end up with little dried bits on the bristles. So, try to clean your brush right after using it.
To begin cleaning your brush, wipe off as much of the product as you can with a paper towel or cloth. Then, rinse the brush under warm water, making sure to get all the remaining Maskol out of the bristles.
Next, apply some soap or brush cleaner to the bristles and gently work it in with your fingers. Rinse the brush again under warm water until all the soap is gone.
- If there’s still Maskol left in the brush, you can try using a small amount of rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits.
- Dip the brush into the spirits and work it into the bristles with your fingers.
- Rub some soap into the bristles and work that in as well.
- Rinse the brush thoroughly again under warm water to remove any remaining solvent.
- Once you’ve cleaned your brush, reshape the bristles and lay it flat to dry.
Cleaning Maskol off a brush can take some patience, but with these tips, you can keep your brushes in great shape for a long time.
How to remove masking fluid from brush – Wrap up!
Learning how to remove masking fluid from a brush can be a tricky task, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done easily.
One of the most popular methods is to use Murphy’s Oil Soap, which does a great job of cleaning masking fluid from brushes.
Another effective way is to coat the bristles with soap before use and place the brush in soapy water whenever you stop working. This keeps the masking fluid from drying out and makes it easier to remove later on.
When using masking fluid, it’s important to use a clean brush with the necessary size and paint with the liquid on the paper creating the exact shape that you want to mask. After use, clean the brush thoroughly with warm soapy water solution, washing up liquid is best for this.
Overall, removing masking fluid from brushes requires patience and care, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done effectively.
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Joseph Colella (Joe Colella) is an Editor and Writer at WastedTalentInc. As a frustrated artist with over 40 years experience making art (who moonlights as a certified Business Analyst with over 20 years of experience in tech). While Joseph holds a Diploma in Information Technology, in true wasted talent fashion he spent years applying for various Art degrees; from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Napoli), to failing to get into the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) at the University of Western Sydney. While he jokes about his failures at gaining formal art qualifications, as a self-taught artist he has had a fruitful career in business, technology and the arts. His goal is to attend the Julian Ashton School of Art at The Rocks Sydney when he retires from full time work. Joseph’s art has been sold to private collectors all over the world from the USA, Europe and Australasia. He is a trusted source for reliable art advice and tutorials to copyright/fair use advice and is committed to helping his readers make informed decisions about making them a better artist.
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