Updated: Jun 2, 2020
Acrylic pouring (also known as fluid art, liquid art, and paint pouring) is one of the most accessible art forms around. For the acrylic flow technique you don’t need any previous drawing or painting skills. Everyone can indulge in this hobby. The result is an individual work of art that can hardly be reproduced again. There are unbelievable many possibilities, starting from the color combinations, different acrylic colors from different manufacturers, as well as various additives and of course the techniques. I’ve created this tips guide to help paint pouring beginners avoid common mistakes.
Tips for Before You Start Paint Pouring
1) Watch YouTube/ instagram Videos
These are great places to visual instruction. Many artists also talk you through their process while providing lots of tips and techniques. Take notes on how to mix your paints, types of mediums, canvas prep, types of pours, and anything you are not quite sure of. I’ve learned how to pour this way myself!
2) Plan Ahead
I know it seems fun to just put paint in a cup and let it fly. But you’ll never develop your skills this way, and never be able to learn from your mistakes.
While you can’t plan the outcome of your pour, you can think through color, cell or no cells, type of pour, type of canvas, etc.
3) Focus on One Painting at a Time
Keep it simple and pour on just one painting at a time. Work on learning the process for one type of pour at a time, get it down, only then move on to the next. This will give you confidence in the basic techniques and pouring process before you try your next type of pour.
4) Get all of the Paint Pouring Supplies Ready
Acrylic pouring is fast process! You’ll need everything right when you start.
Pull your desired paint colors; medium; water; silicone (if you want to use it); disposable gloves; mixing cups and stir sticks; pour cup; canvas; and anything else you might normally use like paper towels; a torch, blow dryer, or heat gun; or plastic garbage bags for covering your surface/floor/wall.
Tips on Supplies
- Choosing a Medium
Floetrol Flood seems to be the go to medium as it is fairly inexpensive and goes a long way. You can also purchase pre-mixed fluid acrylics that contain pouring medium. This will save you time mixing. I use Floetrol mixed with regular paints as I don’t want to spend extra money purchasing separate acrylics just for pouring.
- Using Silicone and Cells in Fluid Art
You don’t have to use silicone to create cells. You can create cells by layering heavier paints with lighter paints, such as using titanium white with your red and blue. The titanium white will sink through the other paints and create cells. I haven’t used silicone for my pours and had no problem getting cells, they are just not as dramatic. But if you want to get a lot of cells, you should definitely use silicone oil to help them forming. Here’s the link to Acrylic Pouring Oil you can purchase: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0792C6NWS/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A18UZ8OJII3VEM&psc=1
- Choose Grounds
There are a variety of surfaces you can use for pour. Foe example: regular canvas, wood canvas (or any wood surface), gessoboard. Start with simpler shapes and later you can move on to more difficult ones.
- Which 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 use with less pouring medium. The higher the pigmentation of your painting is, the more brilliant is your finished pour painting.
I’d recommend Artist’s Loft and Basics. These brands work really well for fluid art.
Paint Pouring Beginners Paint Tips
1) 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.
2) Choose Paint Colors
There is no set amount of colors you need to use per pour. You can do a poured painting with two colors, or however many you wish. Just remember that each color you add will provide another layer of color, and mix with colors in the pour.
I would recommend to chose three to four colors you know go well together. Primary colors are always a good place to start. Remember primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. You can add white between the layers to keep the edges of each color cleaner and sharper. You can also add a small amount of black, maybe drizzle it between a few layers for a different look.
Now you are ready to mix the colors 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.
3) Apply Basecoat
The basecoat is a layer of fluid acrylic paint, typically white, that is placed on the canvas before your actual pour to literally coat your canvas. It’ll provide a wet smooth surface for the poured paint to move across.
4) Go ahead and pour!!!!
Thank you for taking your time to read my blog. I hope you find it helpful. Please comment below if you have any questions.
Photo credits Kristina Davini