Paint pouring is an incredibly fun and addicting hobby. But for beginners, paint pouring can be a little confusing, specially with all of the options for materials available on the internet or at craft stores.
Choosing the right paint pouring supplies can be a little daunting if you are a beginner and don't really know what you should be looking for. '
But it doesn't have to be this way!
That is why I made this comprehensive but simple supply list...
JUST. FOR. YOU!
It is important to start with quality supplies to avoid some common acrylic pour problems such as paint crazing, muddy colors, and more. So let's get you started with the right supplies!
1. Pouring Surface
You can't do a painting if you don't have a pouring surface so let's get started with that first.
What is the best surface for an acrylic pour painting? Technically, you can pour on anything that is free of oils and is flat.
Some people even ask "Can you do acrylic pouring on wood?". Yes, as long as your surface is clean, sanded, and primed. To learn how to prime your painting surface, I recommend this awesome video from Olga Soby.
You can even do pour painting on curved surfaces like vases, plates, etc, but I would recommend to leave that alone until you have a little bit of practice under your belt.
A little bit of texture on the pouring surface is also a great thing to have as it will help your acrylic paint to stick better to the surface. So for example, a glass-like surface, metal surface, or a smooth tile will work BUT the paint might peel off more easily.
That is why I recommend that if you are a beginner, you stick with a stretched canvas or a wooden panel.
For easy painting, use a stretched canvas (NOT canvas panels as they will warp) since they are usually already primed. Here are the two canvas brands that I recommend for beginners and more advanced users.
And if you want a more in depth review about canvases, here is my post about the 7 best canvas for acrylic pouring.
Best Value for Beginners
Best Professional Canvas
Winsor & Newton
2. Acrylic Paints
The next most important thing you need is acrylic paints.
Some people disregard the importance of a good quality paint when acrylic pouring. They think that they can get awesome results using cheap brands.
The truth is that you can get OK results if you use cheap paints, but you will never get vibrant colors. Some issues like muddy looking colors can even be prevented if you just use a high quality paint.
Yes, these paints might be more expensive, however, in the long run, you will save $$$ because you will not be throwing away your messed up paintings.
Now, having said that, it is perfectly okay to start testing acrylic pouring with a few cheap acrylic paints while you get more comfortable with your pouring techniques. Here's a video I made where I show you a few paintings done with Dollar Tree paints. They are not terrible, but they could be better!
Just keep in mind that you might not see the vibrant results you are expecting until you start using better quality paints.
So what are my favorite brands of paint? Artist's Loft paints are medium quality paints at an affordable price, perfect for beginners. Amsterdam Standard Series and Liquitex Basics paints are higher quality paints at a not so outrageous price. Winsor & Newton Galeria are also great paints but can sometimes be a little bit more expensive.
2nd Best Value for Beginners
Best Professional Paint
Amsterdam Standard Series
3. Pouring Medium
You can't pour your paints onto your canvas unless you make them fluid enough. And to make them fluid, you usually need either water or a pouring medium.
Some first time users often have the following questions, so let's get those answered.
- "Can I use water for acrylic pouring?" or "Can I use water as a paint medium?" Yes, but it depends on what technique you are doing and what type of paint you are using. Water is most frequently used as a pouring medium for the Dutch pour technique. But other than that, it is better to use a pouring medium. Also, the higher the quality of the paint you are using, the more water you can add to your paint.
- Can you do acrylic pour without medium? No. In paint pouring you have to make your paint fluid enough to flow on the surface of your canvas. For this you will need a pouring medium.
Now that you know that you need a pouring medium for pour painting, let's address the question "What can I use for acrylic pouring medium?"
There are many options you can choose from. The one you choose will depend on what is available in your area, how much you can afford to spend, and the results you want to achieve.
But in general, the pouring medium options can be divided into 2 categories- artistic grade pouring mediums (like Liquitex or GAC 800) and pouring medium alternatives (like Floetrol or a mixture of Glue and water).
Here are some of the most common pouring mediums used in paint pouring.
Best Artistic Grade Pouring Medium
If you want to learn what is the best pouring medium recipe, then check out this article.
Here is another article for 2 DIY or homemade pouring medium recipes.
4. Mixing Utensils
You will also need some sturdy plastic cups rather than the disposable ones so you can peel the dry paint off and reuse them over and over instead of tossing them. I recommend you choose some cups with lids so you can also use them to store any leftover paint.
Having some squeeze bottles is also a good idea since you can make big batches of paint mix to store or to easily squirt your paint onto your canvas.
And don't forget your stirring sticks. I prefer the reusable silicone sticks because it allows me to just peel off the dry paint and reduce waste.
It can be a little expensive to purchase your paint pouring supplies all at once, so be creative! Clean and reuse items like spaguetti sauce glass jars, plastic soda bottles, sour cream and yogurt containers, baby food containers, lotion or shampoo containers with a pump for your pouring medium, etc.
5. Protective Equipment
Protecting your hands, your clothes, and your working surface is also an important step in acrylic pouring.
- Use gloves if you want to keep your hands and nails clean.
- Protect your clothes by using an apron.
- Get a drip container to prevent your paint drips from messing up your working surface. I use an extra large cooking sheet with a metal rack to catch the paint drips, but you can also use a medium hardware store mixing tub or a large tub like this one and make your own DIY paint pour container for under $10 by following the instructions in this awesome video from Left Brained Artist.
An alternative to a drip container is using a plastic table cover and some pyramid canvas risers. I prefer to use the cookie sheet because it is reusable and therefore environmentally friendly. Plus, the dry paint peels off really easily from the cookie sheet and I can use it to create jewelry.
A torch is essential for removing air bubbles from your paint and therefore reducing the chance of getting pinholes on your dried painting, and for creating cells.
If you want to go more in depth about why a torch is necessary and about the best torches for acrylic pouring, look at my Ultimate Guide for the 5 Best Torches for Acrylic Pouring.
7. Silicone Oil
Even though a torch can help create cells, using 100% silicone oil like as an additive in your paint mix is the easiest way to create cells. If you want to learn more about cell creation, then take a look at my How to Get Big Cells in Acrylic Pour Paintings post.
A great alternative to silicone oil is 100% dimethicone oil, which is a cosmetic-grade type of silicone that is more skin friendly.
8. Protective Finish
The last step of paint pouring is protecting your painting with a varnish or a resin layer. Not only does it protect the paint but it also brings back the vibrancy of the colors and adds some shine.
Best Liquid Varnish
9. Other Pouring Tools
Once you get comfortable with the beginner acrylic pouring techniques, you might want to try out a few more advanced pouring techniques that require some extra tools. Here are some of the most commonly used tools.
- Hairdryer: Use a hair dryer for the Dutch Pour technique.
- Colander: Get awesome designs when using a colander.
- Straw: Blow your paint around with a straw to make great effects. Reusable metal straws reduce waste.
- Dessert plates: Use them to make flower designs. These mini parfait dessert cups work great.
- Spatula and Cake Spinner: The spatula can be used for spreading your paint around and the cake spinner can be used for the Bloom's Technique.
- Funnel: A funnel can be used for swirling paint onto your canvas.
- Paper Towels or Shelf Liner: Use paper towels or a shelf liner for the Swipe technique. I personally prefer the shelf liner as it doesn't absorb the paint and it swipes better.
To learn about the different acrylic pouring techniques, check out this page.
10. Extra Fancy Supplies and Organization Tools
As you start building your skills and maybe even selling your art, you might want to experiment with some fancier supplies like pigment powders, crystals, and more. You might even need to get some organization tools and workspace items to keep all your paints, tools, and paintings organized.
Since this is a post for beginners, I won't list all of the fancy supplies and organizations tools that I love, but you can click on the button below to see my Best Acrylic Pouring Supplies Ultimate Guide.
Final Thoughts and Tips
Paint pouring is super fun and incredibly addicting so make sure that you get enough paint, canvases, and pouring medium.
Don't be afraid of experimenting. Just relax and have fun!
And if you want to accelerate your paint pouring learning curve, don't forget to check out my Acrylic Pouring Course to start creating Stunning Pours Easily and Without Overwhelm!
I hope this guide was helpful! Until next time, Keep Living Life One Pour at a Time!