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Acrylic Pouring for Beginners


How to Start Acrylic Pour Painting

Have you ever seen a painting and wondered, how did they do that? I have plenty of times. There are several techniques to achieve the beautiful look of cells. Here are a few tips before you begin your painting:

  • Make sure your workspace is clean. Acrylic pouring consists of several colors being used at once, which leads to a longer drying time. If there is dust around your workspace, it can settle in the paint, which will lead to a lumpy product.
  • Find a level area to lay your canvas on. If the area is not level while you pour the paint, it will run off the canvas before you can tilt the canvas. Keeping the canvas elevated helps the paint flow as it should.
  • Use plastic sheeting or a drop cloth underneath your workspace, along with a pan. The pan can be an old cookie sheet or shallow plastic container. Acrylic pouring is messy artwork. The plastic sheeting will catch any excess paint that did not make it in the pan or container. The sheeting also aides with clean up. When the painting has dried and ready to be moved, just roll up the plastic and discard.

After the Prep


Deciding Which Medium to Use

After you have the area prepped you are getting closer to being able to make your pour. Prepping your workspace for any type of painting is extremely important. The prep is almost as important as choosing the colors and picking a medium.

  • For the color selection, that is completely your preference. For your first pour, you may decide that 3 or 4 colors will suffice. For a beginner, basic craft colors will do. With more practice, you might decide on an array of colors, for example metallic. Metallic has strong pigmentation and shows through beautifully. After you've had some practice and have your consistency balanced that is when you should use a quality paint. (artist or professional quality)
  • There are several mediums that will work for acrylic painting: Floetrol and water, Glue-All, and Liquitex pouring medium. If you want to save money you can make your own pouring medium. There are a ton of recipes on YouTube.
  • Adding a few drops of silicone to your paint mixture creates the cells throughout your painting.

Supplies Needed


Supplies for Your Pour

To create a unique acrylic pour painting you do not have to spend a large amount of money. There are several ways to save on materials without hindering the end result.

  • When picking a canvas you do not have to go out and buy the best. A mid-grade canvas will work just fine.
  • You will need a pair of vinyl gloves. Vinyl gloves are available in the cleaning supply area at your local grocery store or the dollar store.
  • Plastic cups to pour your paint in. There are two sizes needed, the 16oz for the paint and 2oz to put underneath the canvas. Sealable plastic wrap to cover the 16oz cup with any leftover paint for another project. The amount of paint used can be a small amount or a large amount. This depends on the size of the area to cover. You can also pick these up at the dollar store.
  • The plastic sheeting or a large garbage bag to put under your canvas. The order before you pour: plastic sheeting or garbage bag, a container for excess paint, 2oz cups to raise the canvas.
  • Popsicle sticks to stir your paint, also available at the dollar store.
  • Plastic squeeze bottle for the pouring medium mixture.

Getting Closer to the Grand Finale


Time to Pour

The prep is done, cups are filled with paint, the squeeze bottle is full of the medium mixture. Time to begin!

  • If you decide to use Elmer's Glue-All and water, use a 50:50 ratio. Make sure the medium is well-mixed.
  • Grab the cups and pour paint, about a tablespoon if you are using an 8x10 canvas. Then add your pouring medium to the paint, using about the same amount. Mix the paint and medium, you can mix with the wooden sticks or an old spoon. The consistency should a little thicker than milk.
  • Now it is time to pour! There are several techniques for pouring. For your first time, I would suggest pouring the paint cup by cup. Take a cup of paint and pour directly on the canvas, making a swirl design. Continue this step for each cup of paint. Once all the paint has been poured, pick up the canvas and slowly tilt the canvas covering each part with paint. Excess paint will run off the corners, if you need to add more paint to a corner or part of the canvas simply add more or spread some of the paint with one of the craft sticks.

The Painting


My First Pour

This was my first pour. I believe the end result came out beautifully. I did not buy an expensive pouring medium, I used Elmer's Glue-All with water. There were a few cells in the painting without the use of a heat gun. There is not a right or wrong way to create art. With practice, anyone can achieve an incredible painting. Happy painting!

© 2018 Joni Hooks


Corali Nideur on August 15, 2019:

If i use 5 colors, should white go on top or bottom?

Barbara Starr on August 11, 2019:

Is the Elmer's Glue, the same children use in their crafts? the 50-50 ratio water to glue replaces the purchased medium? Is their a difference in the quality?

I love your first attempt!

Joni Hooks (author) from Fort Worth, Texas on September 11, 2018:

Thanks for reading! I tried to make the article easy to follow. Once you try acrylic pouring you will love it.

Joni Hooks (author) from Fort Worth, Texas on September 01, 2018:

It is a lot of fun!!! I love acrylic pouring, you never know what the end result will be. I bet the spinning disc effects would be beautiful. I've seen people use a strainer as well. I've been wanting to try that.

Liz Westwood from UK on September 01, 2018:

This looks like great fun. I have seen a device in the UK for kids where paint can be poured onto a spinning disc to create great effects.