If you're interested in acrylic pour painting, but feel like you don't have the necessary skills or experience to start painting right away, you're not alone. The process of pouring paint onto a canvas is more complicated than it may appear at first, and there are a lot of different tools involved.
However, if you're willing to put in the time and effort to learn the art, you can create stunning works of art that you can display in your home, gift to your friends and family, or even sell. To help you get started, I've put together this comprehensive guide of the basics of acrylic pour painting for beginners.
At the end of this post I will show you an easier way to learn a acrylic pouring step-by-step with Acrylic Pouring 101.
First, I'm going to start by explaining What Acrylic Pour Painting is all about, and the materials and tools that you'll need to get started. Then I'll provide step-by-step instructions that you can follow to create your first work of art using the Dirty Pour Technique.
Finally, I will also share some other popular methods to help you improve your technique and share a few videos so you can become a pro even faster.
Explore our guide and go beyond your imagination to achieve a captivating and fascinating world of colors!
What is Acrylic Pour Painting?
Pour Painting is a technique in which you pour fluid paint onto a surface (like a canvas) to create abstract art. Tilting, spinning, blowing, and swiping are some of the techniques used to spread the fluid paint onto the canvas to create unique shapes and patterns.
Acrylic pouring is basically a process in which an artist paints a surface with liquid paints that have the consistency of warm honey or heavy whipping cream. In addition to using pourable acrylic paints to create the painting, the artist also uses a variety of tools to create interesting designs in the paint.
Artists use this technique to create abstract works of art that show the various layers of color that make up an image. It also provides artists with the opportunity to create incredibly unique and colorful works of art without using a paint brush.
Terms and Definitions
In order to better understand how to do acrylic pouring, it is essential that you get familiar with all the terms and definitions of this type of art. However, since there are just way too many terms and definitions for me to list down below, I've compiled a comprehensive list for you here.
What do you need for Acrylic Pour Painting?
Here is a very simple beginner's list of acrylic pouring materials that you will need to get started. I've only listed the most essential things you need to help you save some money as you start your journey.
However, as you learn more, feel free to explore with other tools and materials such as metallic or shimmering paints, embellishments, other pouring mediums, and fun pouring tools which will take your acrylic pours to a new level!
For now, here's your simple list to get you started. The materials are listed down below or you can also download your beginner's supplies list by grabbing your FREE Acrylic Pouring Cheat Sheet.
Soft Body or High Flow Acrylic Paints
Acrylic pour painting can be done with soft body acrylic paints and also with paints that are high flow (have a more fluid consistency). These high flow acrylic paints tend to have a consistency similar to milk while the soft body acrylics have a consistency similar to heavy cream.
Due to the low viscosity of these two types of paints, the paint blends much more easily with pouring medium and only requires a small amount of pouring medium to reach the perfect pouring consistency.
Heavy Body Acrylic Paints
Instead of using soft body or high flow acrylic paints, you can use heavy body acrylic paints. Despite having a much thicker consistency, heavy body acrylics are probably one of the most used paints in acrylic pouring. However, you will find that you will require adding more pouring medium in order to achieve the honey-like viscosity needed for pouring.
Take a look at this video that shows the difference between a Heavy Body Acrylic Paint and a Soft Body Acrylic Paint.
Acrylic Pouring Medium
Acrylic pouring medium is the substance that you will need to thin down your acrylic paints. Even though a lot of artists just use plain water to thin down their paints, using a pouring medium is recommended for beginners. Cheaper brands of paints do better when thinned down with pouring medium than they do with water. Adding excessive amounts of water can cause the pigments bonds to break leading to failed pours.
So if you are a beginner, just grab a pouring medium. This can either be an artistic grade pouring medium like this one from Liquitex, a homemade mix consisting of glue and water, or a paint flow extender like Floetrol.
The Liquitex Acrylic Pouring Medium has a special formula that gives seamless results when used with pouring techniques. By using an artistic acrylic pouring medium instead of a cheaper alternative, you reduce the risk of getting unwanted results during pouring.
However, Floetrol is widely used as a pouring medium by many artists, even though it is technically not considered a true pouring medium. If you are a beginner, I definitely recommend starting with Floetrol. It is cheaper and still produces great results.
Pouring Mediums will not only will make your paints more fluid but will also allow your paintings to dry with a smooth, even finish because they are self-levelling.
Canvas or Wooden Panels Boards
This is one of the most important supplies that you will need for your project. There are many different sizes and shapes of canvases that you can purchase that will work perfectly for this type of project. The size of the canvas or wooden panel boards will depend on how big you want your painting to be.
If you are using wooden boards, it is a good idea to add a coat of sealer on the surface before pouring your liquid paints on it to avoid the paint from being absorbed into the wood. You can also brush on a coat of acrylic paint as a sealer and letting it dry prior to pouring your liquid paints.
Acrylic Pouring Accessories
There are a number of accessories you may find useful to have on hand when you are pouring. Here are the basic items you will need.
It is also important to have a protective cover on your workspace, as this can become very messy. It is ideal to use plastic sheeting or an extra large non-stick baking sheet (my preferred method because it can be reused over and over minimizing waste).
You will also need painter's pyramids to lift the canvas off from the working surface when you pour. By elevating your canvas or boards above your workspace, you will prevent the paint drips from sticking to the bottom of the canvas and gluing your canvas to your work surface.
If you don't have painter's pyramids, you can also use some cups flipped upside down.
These are not necessary but they are absolutely fun to use. Split cups will help you separate your fluid paints into compartments and as you pour the paints onto the canvas, they will start mixing and creating amazing patterns.
These split cups typically come with different amount of wells for holding the different colors.
This is also a suggested item which is not required to start. In fact, I highly suggest that you don't use silicone oil until you've done a few pours without it.
Using a few drops of silicone oil in your paints will create cells (circular shapes) in your paintings, however, if you are a beginner, I recommend you leave this ingredient out of your first pours as it can create some problems if you add too much.
As you gain more experience, you can start playing by adding 1-2 drops of silicone oil into your paints.
How do you Paint Pour Using the Dirty Pour Technique?
What is a Dirty Pour?
Basically pouring all your paints into one cup and pouring those paints on top of your canvas.
- Prepare all the materials needed.
- Choose the paint colors you are going to use.
- Cover your working surface with plastic or a baking sheet to catch the paint.
- You will need a cup for mixing your pouring medium (glue) with water. Mix 60% glue and 40% water.
- Mix each of your paints and pouring medium in separate cups. Mix 1 part paint with roughly 2-3 parts of pouring medium in individual cups.
Note: Pouring medium is important because it will make your paint more fluid and fluidity will make your pain move around in your canvas.
Let's start with the painting:
First, Get an empty cup. Start pouring your paint mixes into this cup one by one, layering them one on top of the other. I started pouring some white paint first before pouring the other paint color mixes in, but you can choose to layer them in whatever order you want.
Next, place your canvas on top of the cup with paint, then flip the canvas and cup over. Then pull the cup to release the paint.
Lastly, tilt the canvas to cover the whole surface area until you achieve the desired look of your painting. Once done, set the canvas on painter's pyramids or plastic cups that have been flipped over to let it dry. You’re done.
Here is a list of a few popular Acrylic Pouring Techniques
Paint is prepared separately in cups and then poured and layered into one cup. Which is then turned upside down on the canvas and lifted to reveal abstract, exciting results.
The paints are mixed in separate cups in a range of colours, along with one for the background. Mix them as usual with pouring medium, then prepare your canvas with a thin layer of background paint. Then pour the other paint colors onto a canvas in lines. Colored paint is best layered on a plain background such as white or black. Blowing these lines of paint, will create amazing effects by mixing the paint colors.
Tree ring pour
Make separate cups of paint and layer each color into one cup. Pouring the paint slowly onto your canvas while you move your hand in small circular motions. By pouring slowly and carefully, you get a rolling effect, which is surprisingly easy to master, as long as you pour slowly in the same spot.
To create instant effects, simply pour the paint in lines directly onto baking paper or a box lining. Then dip the canvas into the paint to reveal it.
Fluid paint in different colors are added onto a canvas. From one end of the canvas, a card or piece of hard plastic is dragged lightly across the surface of the paint on the canvas to drag colors on top of each other. As paints interact with each other, colorful cells are revealed.
Waves can be created by swiping paint in ocean hues across a base layer of white paint on the canvas.
Helps keep your paint free from clumps that can form inside the jug. Eliminates the need for nylons and rubber bands.
Unglazed Ceramic Tile specifically designed to be used for arts and crafts, are perfect for creating your own coasters with alcohol inks or acrylic pouring
Simply paint with Alcohol Inks, Enamel Paint or use for fluid art coasters. Can be used for lots of practice.
Ergonomically designed, sturdy and lightweight with prominent orifices for easier and more precise pouring.
Each slot can be filled with different colors and when poured can make all sorts of amazing patterns
Mix the various colors of dye together, pour into the strainer for getting beautiful visual effects, as image showed.
Create intricate paintings with just a few drops of this premium liquid silicone oil.
High quality paint that stays vibrant when used in acrylic pouring.
Suitable for a range of surfaces including canvas, card and wood
Plastic jello shot cups with lids to mix your paints and pouring mediums. Airtight lids with no leaks.
Makes latex paints and primers flow more smoothly.
Eco-friendly and reusable mixing sticks.
They are ideal to use under all sizes of canvases other craft and project items.
Your stretched canvas for painting can be used with a wide variety of artist media, from oil paints and watercolors to acrylic, tempera, and gouache.
Medical grade disposable specimen collection cups which are fabulous for mixing and storing your paint mixes.
Great for mixing epoxy and acrylic paints with pouring medium.
These squirt bottles are amazing for storing your paint mixes and easily squirting paint onto a canvas in lines.
Krylon Top Coat
Non-yellowing, permanent coating. Dries in minutes.
Perfect for making your own diy pouring medium. Safe, non-toxic, and quick-drying formula
Here is a video that shows supplies that can be purchased at the dollar store to do an acrylic pour painting at an affordable price:
Watch the video below to find higher quality supplies that you can get from an art store:
Easy Way to Start Acrylic Pouring
Making Acrylic Pour Paintings is addictive and so fun to make with friends. This abstract form of art is also very popular for home decor since you can create so many unique paintings with all the available techniques.
If you’ve dabbled in acrylic painting at home but want to expand your knowledge and make some really impressive pieces of art for the walls of your home or to make a business out of it, then I encourage you to enroll in a course that will put on the the fast track to mastering this art.
With my Acrylic Pouring 101 course, you'll save money on supplies, avoid costly mistakes, learn step-by-step, and discover all the tips and tricks that I've discovered through my years of acrylic pouring.
Do You Want Me to Guide You Step-by-Step Into Doing Your First Pours?
And of course.... keep on practicing. Practice makes perfect!
One of the reasons why I do Fluid Art is not only to decorate my home or to sell my art, but mostly because I love it!
My creations make me feel happy. The vivid colors submerge me into a magical world that makes me feel alive! That's what I want you to feel too.
Indulge with the beauty of colors and get transported into the mystical lands of your childhood imagination!