Tutorial: How to create Fractal Dendrites
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I will present you the Fractal Dendrites Technique. I will show you step by step how to use this filigree technique and what you should pay attention to. To make the whole thing a little more vivid, I have also created a video tutorial.
Table of Contents
What is the Fractal Dendrites Technique?
Fractal dendrites/fractal flowers are structures that look like flowers. Smaller drops of colour/alcohol mixture are applied again and again to create these unique fractal paintings.
The alcohol is drawn out over the colour film and forms small outgrowths, which you also know from a snowflake. Depending on the size of the stylus and the amount of colour/alcohol mixture, you can influence the size of the flowers very well. With this blog post I show you how you can have a lot of fun and experience the wonder of physics and chemistry.
This Supplies you need for Fractal Dendrites
- Acrylic Paint Titanium White
- Liquitex Ink! (also suitable: Jacquard Pinata Ink, Winsor and Newton Drawing Ink, Dr. Ph. Martins´s Bombay India Inks)
- Embossing Pens / Stylus Clay Tools
- Stretched Canvas (tile, Yupo paper, Wood panel, etc. are also possible)
- Isopropyl Alcohol 91%
- Comb / Artist Silicone Brush
- Paint Tray Palettes
- Pipette for larger Dendrites (optional)
Prep for Dendrite Fractals Technique
Prepare your workplace and then mix the white Acrylic Paint with the Floetrol in a ratio of 1 to 2 parts paint to 4 parts Floetrol. Depending on which brand you use, you may need to add some more water. However, please make sure that it is not over 50% water to make it work. It is better to do without the water completely, because it makes the fractals more “blurred”. Depending on which brand you have your acrylic paint from, you should first carry out a small test to be able to judge the flow and drying behavior.
Step-by-Step-Tutorial to create Fractal Dendrites
- I put 1 drop of Liquitex Ink! and 2 to 3 drops of Isopropyl Alcohol into the Paint Tray. I mix these well with the Embossing Pen.
- I put the white mixed paint on my surface and then use the Comb to spread it very evenly on the surface. With a spatula or a spatula you would still have thick and thin spots. It is very important that everything is very flat so that the dendrites are beautiful, otherwise you will see that later and the dendrites would not spread round and even. The comb acts like a squeegee and spreads the background colour perfectly without wasting much colour.
- Of course you can also use it as pouring material or other auxiliary materials according to your wish to spread the paint.
- It is recommended to work in parts on larger surfaces, otherwise the white paint will start to dry.
Attention: Fire hazard!
Only torch if there are NO dendrites in your picture. Since you are working with high percentage alcohol, you can only use the gas burner before painting, otherwise there is a risk of fire! The hot-air dryer is also only suitable at the beginning. The dendrites are extremely fragile and would break if they came into contact with the hot air stream.
- Now you always take a little color mixture on your embossing pen and tap on the surface. Depending on the size of the pen you can create large and small dendrites. Always try to tap in the middle, the alcohol will automatically pull out.
- Stay with one dendrite until it is ready or work quickly on several dendrites. Experience has shown that you can’t change much about the dendrite once it hasn’t got a drop for a while. You can also mix the colours to achieve great effects.
- Since the rest of the unprocessed part dries up naturally over time, it is important that you always work on the next part with the comb or the embossing pen and thus break up this surface film. This is important because the drying process creates a thin layer that inhibits the formation of fractals, i.e. the alcohol cannot “flow” and the effect remains.
Here I first worked with red until the flower was nice and big, then 2 to 3 drops of yellow and finally 1 to 2 drops of red. The fascinating effect that the yellow pulls all the way to the outside is simply fabulous and makes every artist’s heart beat faster.
- It is also very interesting if you put several drops in a row with one swing. So I created the purple lavender from fractal flowers/dendrites. You only take up color once and then type out the complete line. You can do the whole thing 2 to 6 times depending on how big you want to have the “lavender”.
After drying, you can then draw the flower stems with ink and, depending on your taste, further decorate them.
Video Tutorial Fractal Dendrites / Flowers
In the following YouTube Video you can see how the fractal dendrites are created and how differently they develop.
With this technique you definitely always have unique paintings and so much fun! Each time it is fascinating to see how different the flowers/dendrites are. With the different colours you can also achieve really great effects. Get inspired with this tutorial and try it out for yourself. Since you can work in a small space, you don’t need much space to work or dry. A meditatively calming activity that always amazes and is well suited for children, teenagers and adults.
Idea: you can create the dendrites on a smooth tile and then carefully peel them off when they are dry. You can then continue working with this “skin”. When cut out, the fractal dendrites can be applied to other surfaces, for example with the napkin technique. Again, there are no limits to your imagination a d you can continue working here with Julia Knoll’s blog post “Acrylic Skin Stickers Tutorial“. Have fun with this great technique!
Would you like to try another acrylic pouring technique? Then you should check out the article “Acrylic Pouring Techniques – Learn how to Fluid Paint“.
Karin Zimmer lives with her husband and four children in the Waiblingen area of Baden-Württemberg. Since her childhood she has been active in handicrafts, art and nature and still today she likes to test different painting and creative techniques. For almost 20 years Karin Zimmer worked for a bank in IT as an administrator and coach. Since November 2018, she has devoted herself entirely to studying wild herb pedagogy and painting. She is inspired by the forest and meditation. At the end of 2016 she discovered Acrylic Pouring on YouTube with Caren Goodrich and Nicki James Burch and was immediately enthusiastic. Since then she has been a passionate artist (not only in acrylic pouring) and lets each of her paintings flow intuitively and with feeling. She sees her task in triggering her pure joy in colours and structures in the viewer and to take him on a spiritual journey of imagination and deep inner well-being. She likes to share her knowledge in private coaching sessions and recently on YouTube in order to give as many people as possible access to this art form.
Behind acrylgiessen.com are Martina (39) and Thomas (38) Faessler, a creative couple from Zurich in Switzerland. Artistically active are both already quite a while: Martina discovered her creative streak as a child and has always been passionate about painting and illustrating. Today she works as a graphic designer and art still plays a big role in her free time. Before painting, Thomas was active for years as a sculptor/art turner and created noble sculptures and hollow vessels from burl wood using a lathe.
The two of them came to Fluid Art by chance when it came to finishing one of Thomas’ sculptures with liquid acrylic paint. Once they tried Acrylic Pouring, both of them couldn’t get away from it and through countless Pourings they gradually acquired a gossamer know-how about the Acrylic Pouring technique.
In addition to the original fluid painting techniques, other topics such as color theory and the creation of drawing tutorials were added as an extension.
More about acrylgiessen can be found on our page “about us“.