How to Use Frisket Film

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Artists use Frisket film to mask out parts of an illustration or painting so that pigment cannot color the art surface in those areas. Frisket is especially useful in watercolor and acrylic painting and in airbrushing. Other uses include rubber stamping, stenciling and retouching. The waterproof film comes in several versions to suit specific needs: easy-peel, "low tack" for hot press (smooth) surfaces and airbrushing, "extra tack" for cold press (rough) board and other surfaces requiring extra adhesion and "all-purpose," a cheaper low-tack alternative. Frisket is sold in packs, by the sheet or on rolls in clear and matte versions.

  • Art or design for masking
  • Frisket film
  • X-Acto Knife
  • No. 11 blade
  • Rubber-cement remover (if needed)
  • Burnisher (for rough surface application)

1 Insert a sharp No

Insert a sharp No. 11 X-Acto knife blade into the shaft of the holder and tighten it securely.

2 Peel

Peel the backing from a piece of Frisket film and apply the film to the area you wish to mask.

3 Press the film gently

Press the film gently to adhere it to the surface beneath. Hint: When applying Frisket to rough surfaces, burnishing around the edges will result in better adhesion.

4 Follow the artwork

Follow the artwork with the tip of the knife blade to cut out the film in any areas you wish to leave covered. Caution: Cut through the film only--not through the art surface!

5 Remove the excess film around the masked edges

Remove the excess film around the masked edges, being careful not to peel up the masked sections.

6 Apply the media

Apply the media and allow it to dry thoroughly.

7 Use the tip of the X-Acto knife blade

Use the tip of the X-Acto knife blade to gently lift the edges of the film mask.

8 Remove any adhesive residue with rubber-cement remover

Remove any adhesive residue with rubber-cement remover.

  • Always exercise caution and use protective eyewear when using X-Acto knives.
  • Do not leave Frisket film on your artwork for long periods. It will be more difficult to remove.
  • When lifting Frisket film from painted acrylic surfaces, be careful not to lift up layers of pigment as you are removing the masks.

Rae Casto began writing professionally in 1982. She writes on a variety of topics including health, nutrition, art and culture for various websites. Casto holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and art from Guilford College and a Master of Public Administration in health administration from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.