Acrylic Pouring is a fascinating fluid painting technique. It is based on acrylic paint, which can be brought into a liquid, pourable consistency with the addition of Pouring Medium and other additives as required. Depending on the technique, this liquefied paint is then poured into each other or tilted onto the canvas and distributed by tilting the painting surface. Depending on the choice of the colour, the medium and the additives, different effects are created.
In this detailed article we show you how Acrylic Pouring works, which techniques are available and which pouring supplies you need.
- 0.1 Acrylic Pouring is Simply Brilliant!
- 0.2 How Does Acrylic Pouring Work?
- 0.3 Pour Painting tutorial
- 0.4 The Pouring Medium as an important factor
- 0.5 Professional Pouring Medium
- 0.6 The Alternative Pouring Medium
- 0.7 Which Mixing Ratio for my Pourings?
- 0.8 The Most Important Factor: The best Pouring Medium
- 0.9 Recipes for a Successful Mixture
- 1 Acrylic Pouring Calculator
- 1.1 The Secret of Many, Big Cells in Your Pour Paintings
- 1.2 The Best Painting Grounds for Acrylic Pouring
- 1.3 Preparation Work for Your Pour Paint
- 1.4 Required Acrylic Pouring Supplies
- 1.5 Recommended Books for your Start into Acrylic Pouring
- 1.6 Acrylic Pouring Techniques
Acrylic Pouring is Simply Brilliant!
The relatively new art form, which has its origin in the USA and also finds more and more followers in the German-speaking area, is simply brilliant. And these are the reasons:
- Suitable for beginners: For the acrylic flow technique you don’t need any previous drawing or painting skills. From small to large everyone can indulge in this hobby.
- Little material needed: You only need a small amount of supplies to start pouring acrylic.
- Also for busy people: You don’t have to invest half a day for an acrylic pouring artwork, but you can pour a complete painting from half an hour.
- Fun without end: What speaks above all for acrylic pouring: The high fun factor! It is simply unbelievable fun to mix the different acrylic colours and to create a small work of art without much effort.
How Does Acrylic Pouring Work?
The main components for the Acrylic Pouring are beside the acrylic paint and a Pouring Medium of course a painting ground. Depending on your needs, you can add further additives such as silicone oil for cell formation and a few auxiliaries and tools.
The acrylic paint is mixed with the pouring medium and provided with further additives such as silicone oil. The consistency must be such that it flows well but is not too thin. Then this colour mixture is poured onto the painting base, tilted or emptied. This depends on the technique and your own taste. The result is an individual work of art that can hardly be reproduced again. There are unbelievable many possibilities, starting from the colour combinations, different acrylic colours from different manufacturers, as well as various additives and of course the techniques.
Pour Painting tutorial
To give you an impression of how the Acrylic Pouring technique works, we give you a short introduction to the basic technique.
First step for your Pour Painting
Workplace preparation is the first step. Protect the work surface and floor with a plastic sheet or tarpaulin. Dried paint splashes and stains are difficult to remove, depending on the surface, and the acrylic flow technique often leaves traces in the form of paint next to the canvas.
Afterwards, have all your equipment ready so that you always have everything at hand. Put on gloves so that you don’t have your fingers full of paint.
Use a spirit level to check that your work surface is level. Otherwise there is a risk that the pouring liquid will run off the painting surface and ruin your painting.
Now you are ready to mix the colours with the Pouring Medium. Use a cup or container of your choice, put some acrylic paint in it and then, depending on the pouring medium used, pour in the same amount or twice as much of the pouring medium. Mix the whole thing carefully until it is a homogeneous mass. The consistency should be like liquid honey. If the mixture is too thin, you can also add some water and mix everything again.
If you want to have cells in your paintings, you can now add 1-2 drops of silicone oil and roughly mix it in.
Leave these mixtures to stand for a while so that the bubbles can rise to the surface. If you start polishing right away, you will have air holes everywhere in the surface. Some pourers make their mixtures one day before the actual pouring to avoid air bubbles.
Now you can start with the actual pouring, here the example of Flip Cup:
- Take your cups with the pouring mixture and pour them alternately into a new, larger cup. The aim is that all colours form layers on top of each other
- Take your big cup and put it in the middle of the canvas without any paint spilling out.
- Lift the cup very carefully so that the paint comes out
- Move back and forth in a very small circle until all the paint has run out of the cup
- Now you can take the canvas in your hand and spread the paint on the canvas by tilting
- Now is the right time to drive over the canvas with a butane torch to let the cells pop up
- Also don’t forget the sides of your canvas, these should also be covered with paint
- Make sure that the canvas lies straight and let the painting dry for a few days – if possible in a room that is not too hot and dry to avoid cracks
You have created your first Acrylic Pouring painting, congratulations!
The Flip Cup technique is only one of many, we have a separate tutorial for all other pouring techniques.
Achieve beautiful Acrylic Pouring results with this course
The Pouring Medium as an important factor
In Acrylic Painting you use water to dilute your acrylic paints. This works well, but is not recommended for Acrylic Pouring. Water not only changes the consistency, but also the pigment density and the adhesion of the paint to the painting surface. This means that the colours are lightened and no longer so bright. In addition, drying this diluted mixture is problematic, since cracks can appear in the paint surface due to the rapid evaporation of the water.
In order to avoid these negative consequences of a dilution by water, there are special painting medium, called Pouring Medium in the technical jargon. This pouring medium offers you some advantages:
- The adhesion on the painting surface is maintained.
- Despite dilution, the colours remain brilliant
- The flow behaviour of the colour mixture is positively influenced
- Cracks during drying can hardly occur any more
Therefore we strongly recommend to use a professional or alternative Pouring Medium.
Professional Pouring Medium
The products falling under the category Professional Pouring Medium were specially developed for use with the acrylic flow technique. In addition to the positive properties listed above, these professional products also offer the advantage that your works retain their colour brilliance over many years, as the colours are not attacked by acid or similar substances contained.
Advantages and disadvantages of a professional acrylic medium:
+ Long durability and color balance
+ Improved flow properties
+ No cracking during drying
+ Brilliant colours despite thinning of acrylic colours
– Slightly higher purchase price
Recommendations Professional Pouring Medium
We have tested the following products and can recommend them to you without restriction:
The Alternative Pouring Medium
In addition to the professional products developed especially for this purpose, you can also use alternative pouring medium. They work just as well and are often a bit cheaper. However, the durability of your paintings might not be as good. Some of these alternative painting medium contain components such as acid, which can cause the acrylic colors to fade over time. However, there is no knowledge about this at the present time. Therefore, there is currently no reason why they should not be used. In addition, there are many other factors for durability, such as UV light and environmental influences.
The advantages and disadvantages of the alternative Pouring medium:
+ Often cheaper
+ Partly available in larger packaging sizes, ideal for frequent users
– At the moment there is still no long-term experience on the durability of pour paintings created with these products.
Recommendations Alternative Pouring Medium
The following alternative pouring mediums are available on the market:
Floetrol is a very popular alternative pouring medium. Very good results with good colour separation can be achieved with it. You will get relatively simply beautiful cells in an Acrylic Pouring paintings. The Pouring Medium Floetrol dries relatively slowly, there is no thick layer on the painting surface – depending on the drying the substrate structure is therefore somewhat visible. The price-performance ratio is right with Floetrol and is known as the best alternative medium for many artists.
- This all-purpose glue can be processed very well, mixed with sufficient water the perfect pouring consistency can be achieved
- Cells are produced reliably, the drying time is two to three days
- This glue dries out rather matt, depending on the colour used
- The Elmer's glue all therefore offers a very good price-performance ratio
Which Mixing Ratio for my Pourings?
Finding the perfect ratio of Pouring Medium and Acrylic needs some practice. Also a general statement about the mixing ratio is not possible, since it depends both on the consistency of the acrylic color, and on that of the pouring medium.
However, we can give you a rule of thumb that always works: Put a part acrylic paint and a part pouring medium in a cup. Mix both for half a minute and then look at the consistency: At the end it should be similar to that of liquid honey. If the consistency is still too thick, you can either add some more medium or some water will work fine. But here the limit is about 30% water on the total volume. Otherwise you will have negative effects and we want to avoid this absolutely. You continue the whole thing until you get the desired consistency.
Viscosity is the key to successful pouring. If it is too thin, your beautiful patterns and cells will run on the canvas. If it is too thick, there are no cells and it is difficult for you to spread the paint.
But once you have found the right consistency, it will be relatively easy to get consistent results in the future. By the way, you can also combine different pouring mediums and develop your own individual recipe.
The Most Important Factor: The best Pouring Medium
The choice of a suitable pouring medium is the key factor to beautiful cells. Only if the consistency of your Pouring mixture fits, also cells develop.
If you are completely new to Acrylic Pouring, you can also use a Pouring set, which includes most of the basic materials you need for your start into the Pouring techniqe.
- Everything you need for your start into Paint Pouring
- Included are pouring medium, silicone oil, mixing cups, mixing stick and mini paint stands
- Just use your acrylic paint with this set and get going
Recipes for a Successful Mixture
When you start to pour, it can be a challenge to get the consistency right. We have therefore developed some basic recipes for you to use as a starting point:
1 part acrylic paint
1.5 Parts of painting medium
0.5 Part of distilled water
1 part acrylic paint
1.5 Parts of painting medium
0.5 Part of distilled water
1 part acrylic paint
1.5 Parts of painting medium
1 part distilled water
You should always first mix the acrylic paint with the pouring medium and then add water and silicone oil.
Acrylic Pouring Calculator
Calculating just the right amount of pouring liquid you need for your canvas can be tricky. To help you, we have programmed an Acrylic Pouring Calculator to help you out:
The Secret of Many, Big Cells in Your Pour Paintings
Creating cells in your pourings is one of the main goals of most techniques. But how do you get these cells into your Pourings?
The addition of silicone creates the desired cells on the acrylic flow technique. But with which silicon-containing product do you get the most cells or the largest cells?
This is not about mixing in any silicone oil, but about knowing the properties and the connections why one oil produces small cells and the other large cells – or in the stupidest case hardly any cells.
Silicone Oil with Low Viscosity:
- The lower the viscosity, the larger the cells
- The paint flows faster
- There are stronger color gradients
Silicone Oil with High Viscosity:
- High viscosity results in rather smaller, but many cells
- The color flow is slower
- There are more clearly defined cells and more color separation
We have achieved very good results with the following silicone oil:
The Best Painting Grounds for Acrylic Pouring
There are a variety of ways in which they can pour. If you apply any surface with a first layer of acrylic binder and then a primer with Gesso, you can pour on almost any surface.
Wooden Painting Boards
Preparation Work for Your Pour Paint
How to prepare your workplace
- In order to protect your workplace, you should line it with plastic foil
- Wearing rubber gloves is also recommended
- You can fill squeeze bottles with required liquids such as silicone oil and distilled water for better handling and dosing
- If you have any paint stains, it’s worth preparing kitchen paper
- Work in a room that is as well ventilated as possible
Preparing the Painting Ground
If your painting ground is not yet primed, you should use Gesso to pre-treat it. Do the acrylic paint adheres better and does not penetrate into the substrate. Place the canvas in a raised position so that the flowing paint does not stick to the underside. For this purpose you can use used drinking glasses, cups or pinboard pins, which you fix on the backside. Before the actual pouring make sure that the painting ground is aligned in balance. Otherwise it can happen that your paintings flows on one side and is destroyed.
Prepare Your Other Supplies
Before you start, prepare all the necessary pouring materials and aids:
- Acrylic paints
- Pouring Medium
- Cups or other containers
- wooden spatula
- silicone oil
- (Distilled) Water
- Painting knife / scraper
Required Acrylic Pouring Supplies
We have put together for you the most important supplies which you need for the different Acrylic Pouring techniques. As a beginner it is not so easy to distinguish between what you need and what you don’t. And with the many different products it’s twice as difficult to keep track of. That’s why we have put together a starter set for you with which you can start pouring right away. Below you find the essential Acrylic Pouring supplies for your beginning:
- Floetrol Starterset: Pouring Medium, Cups and wood mixing sticks
- Sargent Art Acrylic colours 12 piece starter Set
- Treadmill Silicone oil a lot of cells
- White Canvas Starter Set
- Polycrylic Protection Finish
- Paintbrush to apply the protection Finish
You can find the full list here: Acrylic Pouring Supplies
Recommended Books for your Start into Acrylic Pouring
For the acrylic flow technique there are numerous techniques to obtain breathtaking paintings. We have summarized the most important of them for you:
You can find the full list with all the Pouring Techniques here: Learn how to Fluid Paint