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Galaxy Watercolor Wall Art with Masking Fluid DIY

Lately I’ve been obsessed with galaxies, Pinterest, negative space and re-discovering my tucked away art supplies from college – which brings me to this addictively fun DIY blog post!

Watercolor Wall Art with Masking Fluid


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Supplies you’ll need:

  1. paint tray

  2. watercolors (solid or liquid)

  3. masking fluid

  4. paint brushes

  5. watercolor paper

  6. art tape or painter’s tape

  7. pencils (light and dark lead – depending on what process you use to transfer your image)

  8. eraser

  9. hard surface to tape your watercolor paper to (masonite boards work great!)


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Optional supplies:

  1. salt

  2. textured sponges

  3. light box (not pictured)


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To start out: DOODLE! I love to draw. It brings me joy, peace of mind and helps me sort my thoughts. In this case, doodling helped me decide what image/layout would look best for this project.


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Once I decided on an image, I used a lightbox, placed my original doodle on top of the lit lightbox and then placed the watercolor paper centered on top of the doodle. I then traced my doodle with a light pencil onto the watercolor paper (an HB pencil is what I used – something you can get at any art supply store). You can also free-hand the image lightly onto your watercolor paper.

Another great technique is a transfer in which you use a very dark lead pencil (3B-6B pencils are wonderful!) and rub the lead evenly on the backside of your drawing. Once the whole backside of your image is covered with lead, place it on top of your watercolor paper where you want the image to transfer and trace over the outline of your doodle. The pressure of your pencil outline will transfer the lead you rubbed onto the back of your doodle to the watercolor paper. Any pressure placed on the paper will also transfer lead onto your watercolor paper though, so be sure to erase out any unwanted marks before going to the next step.


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Once your image is transferred, securely tape all sides of your paper to a hard surface. Next, decide what you would like to be the negative space (the part that will be left white). I decided to have “wanderlust” be the negative space so proceeded to paint the inside of the letters with the masking fluid. The masking fluid is a resist so once it’s dry it will block any watercolor from getting into your negative space.

The masking fluid takes roughly 10 minutes to dry – when it’s tacky to the touch and doesn’t come off onto your finger then you’re ready to proceed to the next step! I also splashed some extra masking fluid onto the paper for added texture and effect. Have fun with it! You’ll soon discover it’s the shit!


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Now is where you release your creative animal and let loose! Have fun! Pick what colors you’d like for your image and paint away. Dilute the watercolor with water to create a very light wash or use very little water with the watercolor to have a very saturated wash of color. Other added effects are sprinkle salt over wet areas of your image for a magical affect (this is what I used to create the galaxy look) or use a sponge to burnish out areas of color or dab the textured sponge to pick up extra color and create a wonderful effect.


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Once you feel your image can’t get any more perfect allow it to completely dry before peeling off the masking fluid and painter’s tape. You know when you get credit cards in the mail and there’s that goop on the back that you have to peel off? Peel off the masking fluid just like you’d peel off that goop. 😉


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And voila! You have a beautiful, original piece of artwork to proudly hang on your walls that YOU created! (This would make an AWESOME Mother’s Day gift! hint hint!)

– Dana from the Unglued crew

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