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 a 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 paint, 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 💡 What do you need for Pour Painting?
- 0.3 💡 How do you Pour Paint for Beginners?
- 0.4 Pour Painting Tutorial
- 0.5 The Pouring Medium as an important factor
- 0.6 Professional Pouring Medium
- 0.7 The Alternative Pouring Medium
- 0.8 What Mixing Ratio for my Pourings?
- 0.9 The Most Important Factor: The best Pouring Medium
- 0.10 Acrylic Pour Recipes
- 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 Painting
- 1.4 Required Acrylic Pouring Supplies
- 1.5 Recommended Books for your Start into Acrylic Pouring
- 1.6 Acrylic Pouring Techniques
- 1.7 Frequently Asked Questions
Acrylic Pouring is Simply Brilliant!
This relatively new art form, which has its origin in the USA and is also finding more and more followers in the rest of the world, is simply brilliant. And these are just some of 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 number of supplies to start pouring acrylic.
- Also for busy people: You don’t have to invest half a day for an acrylic pouring artwork, as you can pour a complete painting in half an hour.
- Fun without end: What acrylic pouring offers, above all else: The high fun factor! It is simply unbelievable fun to mix the different acrylic paints and to create a small work of art without much effort.
💡 What do you need for Pour Painting?
The main components for the Acrylic Pouring are, besides 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.
💡 How do you Pour Paint for Beginners?
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 color mixture is poured onto the painting base, tilted or emptied.
This depends on the pouring technique and your own taste. The result is an individual work of art that can hardly be reproduced again. There are unbelievably diverse possibilities, starting from the color combinations, different acrylic paints from different manufacturers, as well as various additives and of course the techniques.
You can also use an Acrylic Pouring set, which already contains the pouring medium and the acrylic paints.
- Everything you need for your first Pour Paintings
- Features pre-mixed fluid acrylics that contain Pebeo Studio Acrylics Pouring Medium
- Just start and pour you happy
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.
The 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 off the canvas.
Afterward, 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 poured liquid will run off the painting surface and ruin your painting.
Now you are ready to mix the paints 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 everything carefully until it is a homogeneous liquid. 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 any bubbles can rise to the surface. If you start painting right away, you will have pockmarks everywhere on 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 with the example of the Flip Cup technique:
- Take your cups with the pouring mixture and pour them alternately into a new, larger cup. The aim is that all colors 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 runs out
- Move the cup 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 also the right time to blow 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 level 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 Pour painting, congratulations!
The Flip Cup technique is only one of many, and we have a separate tutorial for all the 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 colors are lightened and no longer so bright. Also, drying this diluted mixture is problematic, since cracks can appear in the paint surface due to the rapid evaporation of the water.
To avoid these negative consequences of dilution by water, there are special painting mediums, called Pouring Mediums in the technical jargon. These pouring mediums offer you some advantages:
- The adhesion on the painting surface is maintained.
- Despite dilution, the colors remain brilliant
- The flow behavior of the paint mixture is positively influenced
- Cracks during drying are all but elliminated
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 color brilliance over many years, as the colors are not affected by acid or similar substances it contains.
Advantages and disadvantages of a professional acrylic medium:
+ Long durability and color balance
+ Improved flow properties
+ No cracking during drying
+ Brilliant colors despite thinning of acrylic paints
– Slightly higher purchase price
Recommendations for a Professional Pouring Medium
We have tested the following products and can recommend them to you without hesitation:
- Liquitex is known for its high quality artistic products
- The Liquitex Pouring Medium is easy to process and dries to a silky shine
- Cells form relatively easily. A high-quality medium, which has however also its price
- First-class pouring medium with ideal consistency
- Preserves the brilliance of the colours optimally
- Quick-drying and does not crack
- Transparent, glossy and non yellowing
- Optimal in combination with studio acrylics and mat pub colours
- Can be used alone as a brush applied gloss varnish
The Alternative Pouring Medium
In addition to the professional products developed especially for this purpose, you can also use alternative pouring mediums. 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 mediums contain components such as acid, which can cause the acrylic paints to fade over time. However, there is no evidence about this at present. As such, there is currently no reason why they should not be used. Also, many other factors can affect 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 present, there is still no long-term information 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 color separation can be achieved with it. You will get simply beautiful cells in an Acrylic Pour painting. The Pouring Medium Floetrol dries relatively slowly, and it does not create a thick layer on the painting surface – depending on the drying, the substrate structure is therefore somewhat visible. The price-performance ratio is great with Floetrol, and it 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
What 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 paint, and on that of the pouring medium.
However, we can give you a method that always works: Put one part acrylic paint and one part pouring medium in a cup. Mix both for half a minute and then look at the consistency: In 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 keep in mind the limit is about 30% water for the total volume. Otherwise, you will have negative effects and we want to avoid this at all costs. 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, will 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 technique.
- 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
Acrylic Pour Recipes
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 painting medium
0.5 Part distilled water
1 part acrylic paint
1.5 Parts painting medium
0.5 Part distilled water
1 part acrylic paint
1.5 Parts 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 created 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 oil creates the desired cells in 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 just 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 worst cases 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 be poured. If you cover any surface with a first layer of acrylic binder and then a primer with Gesso, you can pour on almost any surface.
- Blick Super Value Canvas Packs are easy on budgets and come in popular sizes
- Pre-primed with three coats of acid-free acrylic gesso
- Ready to paint with oils or acrylics
Wooden Painting Boards
- Strength, stability, and perfect smoothness hardwood panels in different sizes
- Premium 4 mm solid basswood surface braced by a solid basswood cradle.
- Blick Premier Wood Panel - 4'' x 6'', 7/8'' Traditional Profile, Cradled
Pre-primed with acrylic gesso and ready to paint, Gessobord's fine tooth finish is delicate enough for glazing, fluid brush strokes, and tight detail, yet tough enough to hold up to rigorous palette knife painting, collage, and masking techniques. - Ampersand Gessobord - 14'' x 18'', 1/8'' Flat
Preparation Work for Your Pour Painting
How to prepare your workplace
- In order to protect your workplace, you should cover it with plastic sheeting
- 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
- For any paint stains or spillages, 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. Then the acrylic paint adheres better and does not penetrate 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 balanced and level. Otherwise, the paint may flow to one side and your artwork 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 to start with:
- Floetrol Starterset: Pouring Medium, Cups and wooden mixing sticks
- Sargent Art Acrylic colors 12 piece starter Set
- Treadmill Silicone oil for 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
Frequently Asked Questions
💡 What Paint to use for Pour Painting?
You can use any acrylic paint for your pour paintings. Heavy body acrylics have to be thinned with a little bit more pouring medium, while already thin acrylic paint can be used with less pouring medium. The higher the pigmentation of your painting is, the more brilliant your finished pour painting will be.
💡 How to Seal your Acrylic Pour Painting?
You can use any kind of sealant, like varnish spray or lacquer to your liking. It would be wise to choose a varnish with UV protection, so the colors will stay as brilliant as they are for years to come.
💡 Do you need silicone oil for acrylic pouring?
You don’t have to use silicone for your pourings. But if you want to get a lot of cells, you should definitely use silicone oil to help them form.