This is Why You Need A Base Paint for Acrylic Pouring

As an acrylic pouring artist, I know the importance of a good base coat. Even though not all artists use a base coat for their paintings, I feel like it is almost always a necessary part of any acrylic pouring project. It is the foundation of your painting and can make all the difference in the final result. It provides a smooth surface for the poured paint to move across and can help prevent your design from being lost because you won't have to tilt your pour so much to just try to cover the edges of your pouring surface with paint. 

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a base coat is the color. White is the most commonly used color for a base coat, as it provides a neutral background that allows the colors of the poured paint to shine. However, you can also experiment with other colors to create different effects. For example, using a black base coat can create a dramatic and moody painting.

Another important factor to consider is the consistency of the base coat. The consistency of the base coat you use will depend on the technique you are using and the consistency of the other paints you will be pouring on top. 

So in this article, you will learn about the different base paints and when to use them in acrylic pouring.  

What is Base Paint/Coat for Acrylic Pouring?

Acrylic Pour

As an avid acrylic pouring artist, I know that the base coat is an essential component of any acrylic pouring project. The base coat is a layer of fluid acrylic paint, typically white, that is placed on the canvas before your actual pour to literally coat your canvas. There are four reasons to do this.

  • To provide a wet smooth surface for the paints poured on top so they can glide smoothly across the painting surface. This will help the paint spread more easily and create a more cohesive design.
  • To provide a protective layer between the bare canvas and any paint mixes that you pour on top that have some added silicone oil. 
  • To prevent from having to tilt your pour too much to cover the edges of your painting surface with paint. This will help prevent loosing too much of your poured design.
  • To prevent the paint on the edges of your pour from rolling under the rest of the paint when you tilt the canvas, and therefore losing some colors because they get hidden under the paint.

Without a base coat, you may find that your poured paint doesn't move as easily across the canvas or that it doesn't adhere as well to the canvas.

Additionally, a base coat can help you achieve a more uniform and cohesive design, as it helps the paint spread more easily and evenly across the canvas. And since the edges of your pouring surface are already covered with your base coat paint, you can avoid wrecking or losing your design because you will not have to tilt your pouring surface too much to cover the edges with paint.

When it comes to selecting a base coat, you have a few options. Some artists prefer to use plain white acrylic paint mixed with water while others prefer to mix white paint with a pouring medium, such as Floetrol, GAC 800, or Liquitex Pouring Medium. 

However, the Bloom Pour Technique requires a very specific type of base paint (called "pillow") with a very specific type of paint consistency. This type of base/pillow paint is usually just a white house paint.

Ultimately, the choice of base coat will depend on your personal preferences and the specific project you're working on. However, regardless of which base coat you choose, be sure to apply it evenly on top of your pouring surface before adding your other colors on top.

When to Use a Base Coat?

Even though not all artists use a base coat before they pour their paints, I find that using a base coat is almost always a good idea. So if you are not using a base coat, just give it a try and see if it makes paint pouring easier for you.

Another thing to keep in mind is that certain pours like the Dutch pour technique, the Bloom Technique, and the String Pull technique, always require using some sort of base coat. So if you are trying any of these techniques, you will definitely need a base coat.

What is a Dutch Pour?

Dutch Pour is an acrylic pour technique where you flood your canvas with white paint or whatever color you want to use as your base coat. Then you make a little puddle of different colors in the center of the canvas, surround the puddle of colors with some of your white base paint, and blow the base paint over the puddle of colors to cover them. Then uncover the colors underneath the white paint by blowing your colors over on to the white paint in different directions to create a beautiful flower-looking shape.

Acrylic Pour

What is the Bloom Technique?

The Bloom Pour technique is where you pour a white base coat (also called a "pillow" and usually is just house paint) onto the center of your canvas or pouring surface and then add a puddle of different colors on the center of it. Then you add a cell activator (usually made out of Australian Floetrol and white Amsterdam paint) over the puddle of colors. Next, you blow the cell activator across the surface of your colors to create some lacing. Finally, you spin your canvas to help the pillow paint and the other colors on top to spread evenly across your canvas.

This creates a beautiful flower pattern with lacing and colorful cells.

Acrylic Pour

Types of Base Paint for Acrylic Pouring

When it comes to choosing the right base paint for acrylic pouring, there are several options to consider. Each type of base paint has its own unique properties that can affect the outcome of your acrylic pour. In this section, I will discuss two common types of base paint for acrylic pouring: Acrylic Paint and House Paint.

1. Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is the most common type of paint used as a base paint for acrylic pouring. It is a versatile paint that comes in a wide range of colors and can be thinned with water or pouring medium to create a fluid consistency. For this base coat, you will typically use whatever pouring medium you are using for your other color mixes.

When using acrylic paint as a base, it is best to choose a light color, such as white or cream, to avoid altering the colors of your poured paints. But you can also use dark colors to create more dramatic backgrounds.

3. House Paint

House paint is typically only used for the Bloom Pour technique. However, some artists also use a mix of acrylic paint with a pouring medium for this technique.

The brand of house paint used for the Bloom Technique varies widely from artist to artist. But usually, this paint is just a white satin or eggshell finish house paint that is used straight from the can. This base paint is usually not thinned down with water or any other types of pouring mediums. 

Overall, the type of base paint you choose for your acrylic pour will depend on what other paints you are using for your pour and the technique you will be doing. If you are using acrylic paints, then stick with an acrylic base coat. If you are using house paints for your pour painting, then use a house paint as your base coat. And remember that most artists use house paint as a base coat for the Bloom Technique but you could also experiment with acrylic paint mixed with water or pouring medium.

Choosing the Right Base Paint for Acrylic Pouring

When it comes to acrylic pouring, choosing the right base paint is crucial. It can affect the consistency, color, and final result of your piece. In this section, I will discuss the key factors to consider when choosing a base paint for acrylic pouring.

1. Consistency

The consistency of your base paint is important because it determines how your other paints will flow and interact with each other. You want your base paint to be the same consistency as the other paint mixes that will be poured on top of it.

It's important to note that the consistency of the base paint can vary depending on the technique and style of acrylic pouring. Some artists prefer a thicker consistency, while others prefer a thinner consistency. It's essential to experiment with different consistencies to find the one that works best for you.

A good rule of thumb is to mix your base paint with pouring medium until it reaches the consistency of heavy cream, motor oil, or chocolate syrup since this is the consistency that most of the common pours need. You can also add a small amount of water if necessary to reach the desired consistency.

If you are doing the Bloom Technique, then this does not apply. For the Bloom Technique, just use the house paint straight from the can or maybe slightly thin it down with a few drops of water if the paint has been sitting for a little too long and has thickened up a bit.

2. Color

The color of your base paint can affect the final color of your poured paints. It's best to use a white base paint, as other colors are likely to change the color of your poured paints. For example, a dark brown base will likely darken or tint all other colors with brown. If you want to use a colored base paint, make sure it complements the colors you plan to use in your pour.

It's also important to note that some brands of paint may have a slightly different color when dry, so it's always a good idea to do a test pour before starting your actual piece.

3. Chemical Composition

The chemical composition of your base paint can affect the drying time of your piece and how your other paints interact with each other. If your base paint dries too quickly compared to your other paints, then you might get some paint cracks. If your base paint is made with different ingredients than your other paints, then you might get some undesired effects on your painting. So it's best to use a base paint that has a similar chemical composition as your other paints so you can avoid weird chemical reactions and so that all your paints dry at about the same rate. 

Overall, choosing the right base paint for acrylic pouring is crucial for creating a successful piece. By considering the consistency, color, and chemical composition of your base paint, you can ensure that your other paints will flow and interact with each other in the desired way.

How to Prepare Base Paint for Acrylic Pouring

Preparing the base paint correctly is crucial to achieve the desired results. Here's how I prepare my base paint for acrylic pouring:

First, I gather all the necessary materials, including acrylic paint, pouring medium, water, and a mixing cup. 

Next, I mix the paint and pouring medium (in a 1:1 ratio) thoroughly to ensure that they are well combined. I use a stir stick or a palette knife to mix the paint and pouring medium until they are completely blended.

After that, I add water to the mixture, a few drops at a time, until I reach the desired consistency. I usually test the consistency by lifting the stir stick out of the mixture and observing how the paint drips off. I prefer to use my Free Paint Consistency Indicator to ensure that my base paint is the same consistency as all of my other paint mixes. 

Once the base paint is ready, I pour it onto the canvas in a circular motion, starting from the center and working my way outwards. I tilt my canvas so that the whole surface and sides are evenly covered with paint. 

Finally, I pour my other colors on top of my base coat and manipulate my canvas according to the technique that I will be using to get the desired pattern.

Tips for Using Base Paint for Acrylic Pouring

Here are some tips for getting a perfect base paint:

1. Use Thin Layers

When applying base paint, it is important to use thin layers. Thick layers of base paint can cause your top layers of paint to crack.

2. Mix the Paint Well

It is important to mix the base paint really well before applying it to your surface. This will ensure that the paint doesn't have any lumps and dries evenly. Add a small amount of pouring medium to your paint and mix until everything is well integrated. Slowly continue adding more pouring medium and mixing well between each addition. Use a stir stick or palette knife to mix the paint thoroughly.

3. Tilt Your Canvas Instead of Spreading With a Palette Knife

If you are a beginner, I recommend that you tilt your canvas to spread your base coat evenly across your surface instead of spreading it with a palette knife. This will ensure that the paint on your canvas is spread across evenly rather than having thick and thin areas of paint where your other paints might get stuck when trying to glide over your painting surface. 

4. Use a Torch or Heat Gun

After applying your base paint, use a torch or heat gun to remove any air bubbles. This will ensure that your top layers of paint will flow smoothly and evenly. Plus, if you don't pop the air bubbles, there is a good chance that they are going to pop during the curing process and you are going to have little pin holes in your dried artwork. 

When using a heat gun or torch, be sure to do quick swift movements and avoid keeping the heat gun or torch in one same area for too long so that you don't cook your paint.

Here are informative videos that would help you learn how some artists use base paint in Acryling Pouring

Recommended Products for You!

Product #1

Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paints and Sets

Liquitex Basics Acrylic Colors were developed for students and artists who require dependable quality of paints. Each color is uniquely formulated to bring out the maximum brilliance and clarity of the individual pigment.

Product #2

FLOOD/PPG FLD6-04 Floetrol Additive (1 Gallon)

Makes latex paints and primers flow more smoothly. Eliminates brush and roller marks. Improves the coverage and will not change the color or sheen of most paints. Extends dry time.


After experimenting with various base paints for acrylic pouring, I have found that a base coat is essential for achieving the best results. The base coat provides a smooth surface for the paint to move across and also protects the canvas from the silicone-enhanced paint.

When it comes to mixing the base coat, I have found that a mixture of 1 part acrylic paint and 1 part pouring medium works well. Adding a small amount of water can also help to thin the mixture if needed. 

It is important to note that the quality of the paint used for the base coat can affect the final outcome of the painting. Using a high-quality acrylic paint can result in a more vibrant and long-lasting painting.

Overall, the base coat is a crucial element in acrylic pouring and should not be overlooked. Taking the time to properly mix and apply the base coat can greatly improve the outcome of the painting. Happy pouring!

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