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Acrylic Pour

Acrylic Pour Badge
Note: this badge will require one meeting for 1½ hours for painting (all levels), one meeting 3-4 weeks later for embellishment and sealing (BJCSA), and one meeting for reuse (JCSA).
Acrylic Pouring is a style of painting done with acrylic paints that have a pouring medium added to them to make them very fluid and able to flow. One characteristic of Acrylic Pours is cells, or layers of colors coming up through each other. Cells are produced by heating the air over the paint to allow the oil added to the paint to erupt through the layers.
YouTube has many videos on how to do Acrylic Pours. Each artist has their own style and own way of mixing paint and pouring mediums. There really isn’t a right or wrong way. Have fun and create some beautiful, original artwork no matter your age.
1. Choose which pouring medium you will use.
Pouring medium is added to acrylic paints to make them flow. There are many kinds of pouring mediums available: a. Water can be used as a pouring medium in small amounts. No more than 30% of the total amount of paint should be water. More than 30% can break down binders in the paint.
b. PVA Glue - white glue, regular or school glue, can be mixed 70% glue/30% water. This can then be added to acrylic paints as the pouring medium. This can be an inexpensive way to start learning how to do acrylic painting, but over time the glue can turn yellow and become brittle. c. Flotrol - Flotrol is a paint conditioner used by fluid artists as a pouring medium. It will allow the paint to flow, but will not change the color of the paint. Flotrol also stimulates the formation of cells, which are usually desired in flow paintings. Flotrol is available at hardware stores in the paint department. ​This is the most commonly used pouring medium. d. Professional level pouring mediums - much more expensive option. Available at art stores.
2. Choose type of acrylic paint Craft paints are thinner than tubes of paint and require less pouring medium. Start with equal amounts of paint and pouring medium. Tubes of beginner, or student level acrylic paints are thicker than craft paints. A good starting point is 2 parts pouring medium to 1 part paint. Professional acrylic paints, or heavy body paints are much thicker. They can require 3 to 10 parts pouring medium to one part paint. There are now paints that are made specifically for pouring. These work great, but are a much more expensive option. Available at craft stores. Latex house paint is also an acrylic paint. Depending on the brand (any brand is fine) and style_(flat, statin, semi gloss, gloss - all are fine) of paint, you may use one part paint, one or two parts pouring medium.
Whatever kind of acrylic paint you use, when the paint and pouring medium are stirred together, they should pour off the stirring stick like warm honey.
3. Choose a cell additive
Cells are circular shaped areas of paint that rise through the layers of acrylic paints showing the colors underneath. Cells are produced by adding different products to the paint/pouring medium mixture. a. No additive. b. Silicone oil. 100% silicone oil (Hardware stores) - most commonly used c. Coconut hair oil. d. Rain X - original water repellent - (automotive stores) - add after, not into the paint Add one drop of additive per ounce of paint+pouring medium mixture. Stir in gently.
4. Gather your supplies a. Paint b. Pouring medium c. Additive, if desired d. 3-5 oz paper or plastic cups, one for each color of paint e. Larger paper or plastic cup, 1 or more for each painting - size depends on canvas size f. Stirring sticks, one for each color of paint (popcycle sticks or plastic knives) g. Something to hold the paint poured off of the painting. Plastic tray, Butcher or parchment paper h. Plastic push pins. One for each corner of the canvas. i. Level - to level the table or drying area. The drying area must be level or the paint will slide off the canvas. j. Butane or propane torch. (optional) used to produce more cells. k. Table cover (plastic, tarp) l. Rags or paper towels m. Options for pours - collinder, sink strainer, bottle bottom n. Water for cleanup
5. Choose what you will paint on.
Acrylic pours can be done on just about anything: canvas, wood, metal, glass, tiles, vases, pots, Christmas ornaments, Easter eggs, photo paper, cardboard, 3D letters, cabochons, records, CD’s. Stretched canvas works better than canvas boards. Acrylic paints have a lot of liquid and take quite a bit of time to dry. Canvas boards tend to warp as they are drying.
6. *Required: Mix at least 3 colors of paint/pouring medium/additive (all levels)
A pour can be done with any number of paints from 1 to 100 (or more). A good way to pick paint when starting is a light and a dark of one color (example - blues), a light and a dark of a second color (example - greens), and a metallic or contrasting color - 5 colors total.
To determine the total amount of paint needed: [Length of canvas in inches] x [width of canvas in inches] / 28 = ounces of paint + pouring medium needed.
So, an 8” x 12” canvas would need: 8 x 12 = 96 96 / 28 = 3.4 ounces of paint + pouring medium mixture. If you are using 5 colors, you need 3.4 / 5 = .68 ounces of each color. So, a little more than half an ounce of each color.
Craft paints would then need .34 ounces of paint and .34 ounces of pouring medium. Most tube paints would need .23 ounces of paint and .46 ounces of pouring medium.
A kitchen scale can be used if available. Medicine cups come with small measurements on them. Guesstimating (guess an estimation) work well for pours. It does not have to be exact. At the end, as long as the paint flows like warm honey, it will work.
5. *Required: Do an acrylic pour (all levels)
There are many styles of acrylic pours. Each produces a unique painting. Flip cup. Pour all paint into one cup. Paint can be added in one or multiple layers of each color. Flip the cup upside down and set it on the canvas for about a minute so the paint can flow down the cup. Lift the cup and set it aside. Run the torch above the paint to heat the air above it to allow cells to form. Gently tilt the painting until the paint runs to, and over the edge of the canvas. Flip and drag. Just like a flip cup except in how you remove the cup. Rather than lifting the cup, quickly turn it sideways and run it the length or width of the painting. Dirty pour. Add paint just like in a flip cup. Rather than setting the cup down on the canvas, hold it up a few inches and pour the paint onto the canvas.
Layered pour. Rather than pour the paint in the middle of the cup, tilt the cup and pour the paint in along the side of the cup. As you add each color, the colors will remain separate. You can then do a flip cup, a flip and drag, a dirty pour, or a ring pour. Ring pour. Mix the paint/pouring medium slightly thicker. Add the paint like a flip cup or a layered cup. Hold the cup over the painting like a dirty pour, but pour it out slowly, moving your hand in a small circle. Traveling Ring Pour. Just like a ring pour, but slowly move your hand across the canvas while pouring the paint. Ribbon Pour. Add the paint like a dirty pour or layered. Pour out the paint in lines or in a swirled pattern. Swipe. Need a few damp paper towels. Pour individual colors on the canvas. This can be done in a pattern or randomly. The colors can cross or can be seperate. Gently tilt until the colors fill the entire canvas. Save one color out to be the swipe color. Add a bit of water to make this paint thinner than the other colors. Pour in a line at the edge of the canvas, or across the middle, either straight or diagonally. Let one side of the damp paper towel gently rest into the swipe color. Drag the swipe color across the paint on top of the other colors. If one paper towel is not big enough for your painting, continue to swipe with a clean paper towel each time.
There are many other types of acrylic pours. YouTube has many other options for those interested.
No matter what style of pour you choose, put a plastic tray, butcher paper, or parchment paper under your canvas or pour object. Put push pins in the corners of the bottom on your stretched canvas. Other objects need to be lifted off the tray or paper. This can be done by putting it on cups or bottle caps, or anything that will hold it up. This is necessary because you will be pouring extra paint off the canvas or object onto the tray/paper. ​Save the paint that has been poured off by allowing it to dry on the tray/paper.
6. *Required - Clean the pour (BJCSA) The cell additives need to be cleaned off when the painting is dry and cured. While the painting will be dry to touch in 2 or 3 days,​ it takes 3-4 weeks for paint to cure​, or be dry all the way through and no longer giving of moisture. The paint must be cured before cleaning.
The 3 most common ways to clean off the additive are: a. Baby wipe - wipe down the surface with a baby wipe
b. Dish soap - put a small amount of dish soap on a damp cleaning rag or paper towel. Wipe down the surface, then use a clean rag to wipe off the dish soap. c. Corn starch. Sprinkle on the surface. Let it sit for a bit to absorb the additive. Shake it off. Dust off with rag. If necessary, clean off corn starch with baby wipe or dish soap.
7. Embellish - if desired (BJCSA) Embellish means to add to your painting. You may not want to embellish your painting. But you may want to add a favorite quote, or a favorite animal or character, maybe some glitter, or jewels. Embellishments can be painted on, glued on, or stuck on. Many of the embellishments will be added before the painting is sealed. Some, like jewels, will be added after the painting is sealed, or if sealing with resin, while the resin is wet.
8. *Required - Seal the painting (BJCSA) Acrylics are a water based paint. If they get wet, the paint will come off, even after it is dried and cured. Because of this, pours are sealed. Sealing can be done by: a. spraying a clear coat of paint (hardware stores) b. brushing on clear varnish (hardware stores) c. using professional art sealers (craft/art stores) d. using resin (hardware, craft, art stores) Each method will require 2-3 coats, follow the directions on the labels. ​ (Because of different times required for additional coats leaders may need to add the second and third coat after the meeting.)
9. *Required - Reuse (JCSA) The paint that was poured off the canvas can be used when it is dry. It can be peeled off plastic, butcher paper, or parchment paper in sheets. This is called an acrylic skin. The skins can be used in many ways: a. Decorate an ornament or box using an acrylic skin and Mod Podge b. Make a collage using acrylic skins from many paintings.
c. Use acrylic skins to make jewelry. 1. Rolled beads - cut in long triangles, about ½” - ¾” wide, 4” long. Put plastic wrap around a skewer. Roll the triangle around the skewer, starting with the fat side and adding glue to hold it to the rolled skin. When the glue is dry, seal the beads with clear spray paint or varnish. Remove from skewer.
2. Cabochaun with tray - a cabochaun is a clear piece of glass that is flat on one side and rounded on the other, and comes in many shapes. They can be purchased on Amazon or Ebay. They can be purchased with trays or without trays. (Purchasing them together ensures they fit.) Place the flat side of the glass on the acrylic skin, finding an area that looks attractive. Use a marker to trace around the cabochaun, then cut carefully on the inside of the line. You do not want the marker line showing. Using E-6000 or Diamond Glaze glue, glue the skin to the glass. ​Make sure the entire surface is covered with glue.​ Then glue the tray and place the cabochaun in the tray. Use a clothespin to hold it together until the glue dries. When dry the piece can be used to make necklaces, keychains, SWAPS, etc.