How to Mix Acrylic Paint for Pouring

mix acrylic paint for pouring

Acrylic paint pouring has recently emerged as a new, unique trend that provides painting artists with spectacular impressions when creating their works of art. The most frequently asked question about creating this type of art is about how to mix acrylic paint for pouring, thus we're going to cover all the information you need to know in this article, no matter what level you're at.

There are a number of distinct elements that determine the "correct" consistency, such as:

  • What kind of paint you will be using
  • What pouring technique you will do
  • What brand of pouring medium you choose for your paint mix
  • And what kind of results do you want to get in your finished work

Since all these factors play a role on what the consistency of your paint should look like, as well as the fact that we don't know what materials you're using, we'll go over some common consistency issues, provide ways of mixing acrylic paint for pouring, and show you what you should look for in your mixture.

What Exactly is the Acrylic Mixing Pour Consistency?

Acrylic Paint Consistency

Your paint mix consistency refers to the flow and viscosity of your paint, medium, and additive mixture.

When it comes to acrylic pouring, the mixture must obviously be easy to pour! You can compare your consistency to a few common household items—this can sometimes help you visualize what your paint should look like.

Warm honey and heavy cream are two examples of liquids that have a good pouring consistency. 

Basically, you want your mixture to be free-flowing but not drippy. It should not fall off your stirring stick in clumps or run off quickly as if you had dipped your stirring stick in water. When you dip your stirring stick and then lift it out from the paint mix, the paint should easily and evenly flow off the stick.

This is the basic guideline that you should follow when you start acrylic pouring. However, you as you gain more experience and try new techniques, you will quickly learn that you will need to slightly vary your paint consistency for different techniques and to achieve certain effects.

>>Here's an awesome resource to learn how to create the perfect consistency for your pours.

What materials do you need for mixing acrylic paint for pouring?

Acrylic paints

They are the primary components required for pouring acrylic paint. You are completely free to choose the hue, but bear in mind the "body" of the paint you use.

Acrylic paints come in heavy body, soft body, fluid acrylic, and high flow acrylic viscosities/consistencies. The consistency of your acrylic paint will dictate how much pouring medium you will need to use to make your paint mix flow well.

Here is an excellent article by Jackson Art that explains in detail the four consistencies of acrylic paint.

mix acrylic paint for pouring

Paints To Use:

Tube Paint

Tube Paint is commonly very thick and is referred to as a heavy body acrylic paint. It kind of looks like toothpaste. You cannot just pour the paint straight from the tube because of its thickness. Usually you'll have to use about 1 part paint to 3-4 parts pouring medium, plus a little bit of water to get it to the consistency for fluid art.

Craft Paint

Craft Paint is really good to use when you just start doing acrylic pour painting since it is more affordable. However, craft paint is not as highly pigmented as artist grade brands like Amsterdam, Liquitex, Pebeo, or Winsor & Newton. Once you get better at acrylic pouring, I recommend you invest in higher quality paints that will retain their color vibrancy a lot better.

This type of paint is more fluid and runny, however, it still needs a little bit of pouring medium to get it to the right pouring consistency. Most craft paints need about 1 part paint to 1-2 parts of pouring medium. These paints are often considered soft body paints.

Flow Acrylic Paint

Flow acrylic paint is more fluid than craft paint. It is available in bottles and has a consistency similar to heavy cream. This type of paint can actually be used without pouring medium or with just a tiny amount of pouring medium to get it to the desired consistency for acrylic pour painting.

High Flow Acrylic Paint

High Flow Acrylic Paints are the most fluid but are also the most pigmented. Their consistency is similar to acrylic inks (having an aqueous consistency). Because of their high pigmentation, you should only add a few drops into your pouring medium. Add as many drops as you need to get the color and opacity that you are trying to achieve. If your pouring medium is too thick, you will need to add a few drops of water until you get your mix to the right pouring consistency.

Pouring Medium

A pouring medium is a substance that is mixed with acrylic paints to improve their consistency and let them flow more easily. You can use plain water, artistic pouring mediums such as those from Liquitex, paint extenders such as Floetrol, or even make your own pouring medium mix consisting of glue and water.

Pouring Medium To Use:

Liquitex

Liquitex pouring medium is a professional artist-grade pouring medium. 

Flood Floetrol

Flood Floetrol is a paint conditioner that improves flow and leveling. You can get it at Lowes, Home Depot, Amazon, etc.

Water

Water can be used to replace your regular pouring medium as long as you are using high quality paints.

Glue

Elmer's Glue-All or PVA Glue is used by many artists to make their own DIY pouring medium.

Other materials needed:

Measuring Cup or Scale

A measuring cup or a weight scale can help divide your paints into little teaspoons or ounces.

Cups and sticks

Cups and stirring sticks are used to mix your paints with your pouring medium and to store your left-over paint mixes.

Steps for mixing acrylic paint for paint pouring

Here's a great video showing how to mix acrylic paint for pouring using Floetrol, water, or glue.

How to mix acrylic paint with Floetrol

Start with a ratio of 2 parts Floetrol to 1 part Paint. If the paint you are using is too thick, you might have to add more Floetrol (up to 4 parts Floetrol to 1 part paint) to get it to be fluid.

Mix the Floetrol and paint in a cup. What you do next depends on the consistency of the paint mix. If the mixture is too thick, add water (no more than 20%). If the mixture is runny and watery, add paint to thicken up the consistency. 

If your mixture is too thick, your painting will most likely crack as it dries. If it is too thin, your painting will muddy up.

Note:  What we want to achieve with this type of mixture is a consistency similar to maple syrup or warm honey.

How to mix acrylic paint with Glue

Mixed Media Girl mixes about 50% Glue and 50% paint. Once she has those two ingredients mixed up, she adds water to the mix to make it more fluid. Since glue is thicker than pouring medium, she recommends adding more water to this type of mix (about 20% water).

Other artists prefer to mix 60% glue with 40% water, and then use this mixture as their pouring medium. Then they use about 1 part paint to 1-4 parts pouring medium (depending on the thickness of the paint).

Note:  Again, what we want to achieve with this type of mixture is a consistency similar to maple syrup or warm honey. 

How to mix acrylic paint with water

If you decide to use water to thin down your paints, keep in mind that it's best to use high quality paints to prevent your paint from breaking down. Craft paints are low quality paints and should not be thinned down with water.

When ready to mix your paints, add little amounts of water to the paint while mixing between each water addition until you get the consistency you desire. Do not add more than 20%-30% water to your paints.

You want to get the same maple syrup or warm honey consistency as previously mentioned.

Recommended Products for Acrylic Pour Painting

OPTION #1

Acrylic Paint

Amsterdam Standard Series

These acrylic paints are reasonably priced and simple to use, making them an ideal choice for beginning or intermediate artists. They can be mixed with water or other mediums, and cleanup is as simple as soap and water.

OPTION #2

Acrylic paints

Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paints

Liquitex Basics Acrylic Colors were created for students and artists who need consistent quality at an affordable price. Each color is specially designed to bring out the brilliance and clarity of the individual pigment.


OPTION #1

Floetrol

Improves the flow of latex paints and primers. Affordable pouring medium substitute and great for beginner's.

OPTION #2

Elmer’s Glue-All

Great for making DIY pouring mediums on a budget. Easy to find and affordable.


Final Thoughts

In general, acrylic pour painting is a one-of-a-kind technique that demonstrates the natural and creative aspects of art. If you want to make acrylic pour paintings, you'll need to know how to mix acrylic paint for pouring. It's easy to learn, but mastering it will require a lot of practice. Once you've mastered the fundamentals, you'll be able to experiment with a variety of techniques.

If you are a beginner, my recommendation is that you stick to 1 pouring medium while you are learning how to mix your paints to the right paint consistency. Changing from one pouring medium to the next will just make it more difficult to figure out how to get the same paint consistency over and over.

Once you've mastered getting the right paint consistency with 1 pouring medium, you can start experimenting with other pouring mediums.


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