Rubber cement is latex dissolved in various solvents, including acetone,
hexane, heptane, and toluene, according to Wikipedia.

It's the solvents that are dangerous, as they will penetrate skin, including
the lining of one's lungs.  Aliphatic (straight-chain solvents) are highly
flammable and can cause dizziness, headache, and brain damage with chronic
exposure.  Acetone is noxious and flash evaporates into the atmosphere.
Aromatic (ring compounds) solvents like toluene and xylene more toxic to
both brain and liver, and some are carcinogenic.  It's important to note
that serious repercussions are almost always associated with long-term
exposure -- painters, for example.

Concerning the uses of rubber cement, again from Wikepedia, are the

"Rubber cement is favored in art applications where easy and damage-free
removal of adhesive is desired. For example, rubber cement is used as the
marking fluid in erasable pens <>.
The rubber cement can be removed via the eraser up to 10 hours after

"Cement formulations based on n-heptane and n-hexane will not shrink or
swell paper fibers, thereby preventing wrinkles to the adhered surfaces.
This makes them safe to use on most finished paper surfaces, unlike
water-based glues such as PVA<>
glues <> (e.g., white or Elmer's
brand glue<>

"Because rubber cements are designed to peel easily or rub off without
damaging the paper or leaving any trace of adhesive behind, they are ideal
for use in paste-up work where excess cement might need to be removed. It
also does not become brittle as paste does. Rubber cement is not considered
an archivally sound adhesive and will cause deterioration of photographs and
papers over time, a danger associated with many other common adhesives."

So apparently, and without more detailed research, rubber cement is ok as
long as it's applied in a well-ventilated space and the work kept there
until the solvent flashes off.

Latex masking fluid (latex, water, and ammonia) are actually used to do body
painting and to make facial masks.   (Google it.)

Here's one description that indicates the solvent dissipates upon the
application of a thin layer.

I think it's fairly safe to judge that using this material is safe and at
least as archival as the paper.  Adding a bit more ammonia to the fluid,
Anne, to redissolve the latex wouldn't seem to increase any problems with
the fluid or its effect on the paper, you're using the original solvent.



On Fri, May 6, 2011 at 2:00 PM, Anne Runyon <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> I used to use water to dilute the W&N mask, but had trouble
> with it getting lumpy. So after reading the label and consulting
> with Kirk Taylor, my favorite art store's owner, I switched to using
> the ammonia and now have no lumps! I also have always stirred
> the mask rather than shaking it, simply because I could use it
> without the bother of all those bubbles.
> W&N mask lists rubber latex and ammonia as ingredients,
> so perhaps it is not intended for archival work?
> Does rubber cement contain rubber latex?
> (I do not have any in my studio to see.)
> Best,
> Annie
> -----Original Message----- From: Kathleen Garness
> Sent: Friday, May 06, 2011 12:27 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [SCIART] masking liquids
> If the mask can be diluted with water when it is found to be
> thickening up, my sense, like Will's, is to use water rather than
> ammonia so as to keep the paper as neutral in pH as possible. I wish
> I understood more of the chemistry of this! : )
> Water has worked for me with most traditional watercolor gum
> friskets, with the exception of rubber cement, which I have thinned
> with rubber cement thinner. I've been told to avoid rubber cement as
> a frisket for watercolor paper but don't remember why.... Used to use
> it a lot in my commercial work, though.  I'm intrigued by all the
> different tools you all say you use to apply the frisket!
> KG
> On May 5, 2011, at 10:45 PM, Anne Runyon wrote:
>  I was wondering. The works I have done are illustrations, not fine  art,
>> but nonetheless I do hang on to my originals.
>> Does this mean that the mask might not be a good idea at all, even
>> undiluted? It does rub off completely,
>> once you have finished with the background painting and then the  paper
>> receives paint normally.
>> Annie
>> From: Smith Will
>> Sent: Thursday, May 05, 2011 6:27 PM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [SCIART] masking liquids
>> Iím no chemist but I would think there would be a problem with introducing
>> a strong alkali to paper. One of the features of  archival paper is its
>> neutral PH.
>> Will Smith
>> Project Officer (Botanical Imaging)
>> Environmental Sciences
>> Department of Environment and Resource Management Toowong Brisbane
>> Australia
>> Telephone (07) 38969508
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Bruce Bartrug
Nobleboro, Maine, USA
[log in to unmask]

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but
because of those who look on and do nothing.  - Albert Einstein

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