Best Floetrol Substitutes: Pouring Mediums That Work

Floetrol is a paint conditioner and extender that is used with latex-based house paints. It is mainly used to prevent roller and brush marks.

However, many artists have recently started to use Floetrol as a pouring medium in paint pouring as it greatly improves the flow and leveling of acrylic paints. It is a hardware-store alternative to more expensive brands like Liquitex, Golden, etc. 

Do you need Floetrol for acrylic pouring?

Well... you DO NEED a pouring medium, however, it doesn't necessarily have to be Floetrol. 

However, Floetrol is one of the cheapest options when it comes to pouring mediums.

Even though Floetrol works great with acrylic paints, keep in mind that it has not been tested for art archivability over time. 

Although we don't know the long term effects of Floetrol on acrylic paint, there is no denying that the affordability of this product makes it very attractive to many artists.

This "pouring medium" is just a great option for acrylic pouring beginners who are barely starting out and experimenting with their techniques.

What Can You Use Instead of Floetrol for Acrylic Pouring?

So what are some Floetrol alternatives for those that either can't find this product locally or just want to use a different or more professional pouring medium? 

Let's take a look at some of the best pouring mediums I have found and some of its pros and cons for each so you can find the best Floetrol alternative for you.

Elmers Glue 

Elmer's Glue is probably going to be your cheapest Floetrol substitute option, other than water. If you dilute your glue with a little bit of water, you will get a similar pouring consistency as Floetrol.

Your painting will dry to a matte finish when using Elmer's Glue-all (very similarly to Floetrol). 

The Good Stuff:

  • It is relatively inexpensive and easy to find.

  • Can be used by itself (thinned out with a little bit of water) or mixed with other pouring mediums to make your own signature pouring medium mix.
  • Works pretty well as a pouring medium and gives good cells when used together with some silicone oil.

The Bad Stuff:

  • Dries to a matte finish so it can leave your colors looking a little dull unless you put a varnish coat to bring back the shine.
  • Due to it's acidic nature, some yellowing can occur in your paintings so it may not be suitable to use in paintings with a lot of white.
  • The Elmer's School Glue has been said to yellow easier than the Elmer's Glue-All or Clear Glue.

Watch the following video to see the results after using Elmer's Clear Glue as a pouring medium. Elmer's Glue-all is also a great option!

Mod Podge

Your other next cheapest Floetrol substitute option is Plaid's Mod Podge Gloss Finish. It works very similarly as Elmer's glue all but instead of your painting drying matte, it will dry with a nice glossy finish.

The Good Stuff:

  • It is a little bit more expensive than Floetrol and Elmer's Glue-all but not as expensive as other high end pouring medium brands.  
  • It is relatively easy to find at almost any craft store. 
  • Can be used by itself (if thinned out with a little bit of water) or mixed with other pouring mediums to make a custom pouring medium mix.
  • Your paintings will dry with a nice glossy finish.

The Bad Stuff:

  • It is non archivable, meaning that it can yellow over time. However, Mod Podge offers an acid free version called Mod Podge Paper in Gloss which will resist yellowing over time. The downside to this option is that it is only available in an 8 oz bottle instead of a gallon, so it ends up being REALLY pricey compared to other pouring mediums, including the artist quality pouring mediums.

Watch the following video to see the results after using Mod Podge Gloss as a pouring medium.

Lineco Neutral pH Adhesive

If you are looking for a pouring medium silimar to Elmer's glue but with archivable qualities (non-yellowing), then Lineco Neutral pH Adhesive is for you. It is an acid-free adhesive glue at a moderately reasonable price.

The Good Stuff:

  • It is an acid-free adhesive, meaning that your paintings will not brittle or yellow over time. Great to use with paintings that have white or light colors.
  • You can use it in a very similar way as Elmer's glue... either diluted with some water to give it a pouring consistency or mixed in with other pouring mediums. 
  • Works pretty well as a pouring medium and will give you nice cells if you use silicone! 

The Bad Stuff:

  • It is a little bit more pricey than other adhesives like Elmer's glue or Mod Podge and even a little pricier than Liquitex which is a good artist quality pouring medium.
  • Dries matte so your paintings might look a little dull unless you bring back the shine with a top coat varnish.


The Liquitex pouring medium is another one of my favorite pouring mediums that never fails!

It gives a very nice shine to my paintings when dry so I don't even need to add a coat of varnish (as long as I use the Liquitex gloss medium).

The Good Stuff:

  • Available in gloss, iridescent, and matte finishes.

  • Will give your paintings a very nice glossy finish look (if using the gloss medium) eliminating the need to use a coat of varnish.

  • Specifically made for artists and to be used with acrylic paints.
  • Your paintings will be archivable.

The Bad Stuff:

  • A little bit more pricey than Elmer's glue or Mod Podge, but still a lot less expensive than GAC 800. So this could be a bad or good thing depending on what other pouring medium you are comparing it to.

Watch the following video to see the results after using Liquitex as a pouring medium. This is a video doing a comparison of several pouring mediums, including Liquitex.

GAC 800

Gac 800 is probably my favorite pouring medium but it is also very expensive. It gives beautiful shinny end results to your paintings! 

Your paintings will not craze which is another big plus.

The Good Stuff:

  • Great pouring medium if you want to avoid paint cracking or crazing.

  • Dries with a good amount of gloss and flexibility.

  • Keep colors vibrant.
  • Specially made for artists and to be used with acrylic paints, so no need to worry about your painting's archivability. 

The Bad Stuff:

  • It is one of the most expensive pouring mediums on the market.

Watch the following video to see the results after using GAC 800 as a pouring medium. This is a video doing a comparison of several pouring mediums, including GAC 800.

Other Alternatives for Pouring Mediums

Even though you have some great options for Floetrol substitutes listed above, you might just want to forgo the use of pouring medium altogether.

Maybe you don't feel confident enough to start mixing paints and pouring mediums.

Maybe you just want to stop wasting so much time doing the prep work. You'd rather be painting!

Whatever the case is, I have two great options for you!

Using Pre-mixed Pouring Paints

This first option is a great alternative for those who just want to get right to painting without the hassle of mixing pouring mediums and paints, & without worrying about getting the right paint consistency.

The Ready-Mixed Pouring Paint by Artist's Loft is one of my favorites!

Plus you can get some awesome cells if you add a few drops of their awesome silicone oil in the mix.

Here's a video that show what types of results you can achieve with these Ready-Mixed Pouring Paints. You can get INCREDIBLE results!!!

Pouring with just water

The second and last option is mixing acrylic paint with water for pouring. If you are new to acrylic pouring, maybe you've wondered "Can you acrylic pour with just water?"

The answer is "Yes" as long as you use the right paint and not use too much water. 

The thing with water is that if you use too much, it can break the binders in your acrylic paints. This will cause issues like paint cracking or the paint not sticking to the canvas properly. Lower quality acrylic paints are more prone to be affected by the addition of too much water. 

So if you are planning on using water instead of a pouring medium, then just make sure that you don't add too much (some brands suggest to not use more than 30-45% water) and that you use high quality paints like Amsterdam Standard Series or Winsor & Newton Galeria


Any of the options above are great Floetrol substitutes. The best one for you will just depend on your budget and the desired finish.

Let me know which one you liked the best or which one you will try next. 

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