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Getting Started With Acrylic Pouring by Sarah Kuhlmann

Getting Started With Acrylic Pouring by
Article Posted: 08/05/2018
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Getting Started With Acrylic Pouring

Art and Culture,Hobbies,Crafts
(There is a free printout at the bottom of this post that includes supplies and instructions)

Getting Started With Acrylic Pouring

Acrylic pouring is a more recent method of painting that is incredibly simple, as long as you know a couple tricks and have all the right tools. There are items that will make your paintings even better, so I will let you know the absolute necessities while also letting you in on items that will make your life A LOT EASIER.

You are going to need:

stretched canvases

Acrylic paints

Floetrol- this can be found at any Lowe's, Home Depot, or any home improvement store like that.

Silicone Treadmill Lubricant- this is the ingredient that makes the cells come to life.

Craft sticks are a must.

Plastic cups- Do not waste your money on hard plastic cups (they crack when squeezed) or paper dixie cups (the bottom will fall out)  From experience, can you tell:)

Culinary Torch- some type of butane fueled torch, most of them are around $20. There are other ways you can create the cells, but this one is the most effective in my experience and the most fun.

This method of liquid pouring will make you question ever using a paint brush again. Kidding, not kidding. Totally up to you how much energy you want to put into it, and how meticulous you are in general with your creations.

Below is one of my favorites, just to give you an idea of what the final product can look like:

The painting damn near paints itself, but don't fear messing with it a little bit to make the final product look the way YOU want.


***Optional items*** (to make your life easier)

Clay tools:     These are meant for clay, but I LOVE it for touching up acrylic pours. You can create some really beautiful wisps and delicate swirls.

So, if your painting turns out a bit unbalanced, add in extra paint where you want it. This tool will make your interaction look natural. When you use it, make sure to BARELY touch the paint with the end that has the metal ball on it and drag it where you want it.

Acrylic topcoat- this helps protect your work, strengthening the canvas, while also enhancing the quality of color. The only struggle I have ever had with using a topcoat is making sure you apply evenly, and you will only get better with practice.

Thick plastic sheeting to protect your working space. This painters plastic roll is great especially because once it dries you can just peel it right off and you will have clean plastic for the next. Or you can save those peeled off "acrylic skins" for other projects. You can get this online or any local store that sells home paint (like Lowe's or Home Depot). Just wanted to include a picture so you know what I am talking about.

A pack of rags or old towels- unless you wear gloves you are going to get paint all over you and your hands. I went to Goodwill and grabbed a huge pack of like 20 hand towels for $5, and they come in handy all the time.

Smock or apron- protect your clothes or just wear clothes you don't care that get ruined. I have friends that take old big t-shirts, cut it down the middle in the front, and where it backwards to act as an apron.

***NEEDed items***

 Painting medium: There are a billion different kinds of mediums you can use with acrylic pouring, but today Floetrol is the one I used in my painting, and is super cost efficient. Floetrol makes your paints "flo" and play nice with each other.

Plus, the ratio is of Floetrol to paint is 1:1 so you will save a ton of actual paint this way.

Silicone drops or spray (you can find a ton on Amazon or my favorite is at the Dollar Store in the automotive department. It will be named some type of spray lubricant. These are needed to create the beautiful cells that are so loved with acrylic pouring.

Acrylic Paints- I almost always buy the Apple Barrell Brand because I love the shades and prices of their paints.  Again, it is really fun to sneak in some metallic and neon colors.

Stretched canvases- You will definitely want the stretched ones because of the finished look of your colors dripping over the sides. Super cool effect. My absolute favorite size is 10x10, I think it can look modern OR retro and it is the perfect size for my control of how the paints look in the end.

LARGE craft sticks- the little ones don't mix as well and they are much easier to drop in your cup while or after your mixing and then become completely drenched in paint so you have to immerse your hand in paint to get it out. The larger the better for sure. And you can totally reuse your craft sticks by simply rinsing them after your painting sessions.

10-20 oz size plastic cups- the ones that are super flexible so that when you squeeze the cup it won't crack...especially if there is paint in it. 

Culinary Torch- This is your key to creating BEAUTIFUL cells. Make sure it is butane fueled.

Butane Fuel (for your torch of course:)

The Acrylic Pour Painting Method:

Once you have all your paints, silicone, and Floetrol...time to start setting up your workspace... Lay out your plastic sheeting, have your towels within reach, a cup filled with water. Grab your paints, silicone, Floetrol, and torch. Put on your apron and you should be ready to go.

If this is your first pour ever, I would suggest using 3-4 colors tops until you get used to how the paints and additives flow together.

The results truly will be subjective to the brand of paint you use and the type of silicone. Seriously take some time to find videos on YouTube because there are so many different ways to do your acrylic pouring, so it is nice to have multiple methods to try until you develop your own groove.

Step by step:

Set out your 4 plastic cups for color, and one plastic cup for the final "dirty pour" mixture.

Squeeze a nice 1/4 cup(ish) size of dollops of paint (of each color separately) into your plastic cups.

Add a few drops (or two sprays of the Dollar Store brand) of silicone to each cup, and an equal dollop of Floetrol, and a tiny splash of water can add more cell effects.

***WARNING: Sometimes the Floetrol will have gross goobers in the bottle. You can catch it before it lands in your cup- otherwise you will have a huge glob on your painting. No bueno. Just keep your eye on the bottle as you pour to make sure it comes out smooth.

    Now, stir each cup of color WELL with your craft sticks.

Take your one cup that you reserved for the final mixing of all the colors, and add a tiny bit of Floetrol first, a couple silicone drops (or two sprays) then take each cup of your singular colors and add a splash/dribble of each  color one at a time (layering and mixing them in your final cup).

Add a couple drops or sprays of silicone in between layers.

***TIP: The higher you hold each cup you are about to pour from, the harder it will drop to the bottom and make extra cool designs without touching the paint mixture. Also, it seems easier to control the stream of paint being dropped in.     I have found that the smaller amounts of paint per layer, the more layers and intertwining of colors will make your final acrylic pour more magical and awesome.  

   Once you use all the paint in each individual cup to be combined into your final cup, you are ready to rock and roll.

Let the final cup sit for just a minute to let everything kind of mix and settle (you usually can see cells and cool swirls start to form in the cup).

Then you will want to flip the cup upside down and let it sit for a few minutes on top of the canvas in the cup, and then when you feel ready, go ahead and slowly lift your cup.     ***This is the moment when I light my torch and do one run over with it to bring out some of the cells. This lets me see if there is a big group or really cool design that I might want to be mindful about saving while I am tilting my canvas.

  From this point you can play with the colors by tilting the canvas slowly and encourage beautiful patterns and designs to emerge.

Don't be afraid to have a craft stick ready in case you want to blend an area a bit better.

***TIP:  Because your paints are layered, don't stress if you get some beautiful cells, but when tilting the canvas the cells run off the side.

   Cooler ones will emerge, and personally I think it is more important to make sure the paint runs down each side of your canvas so you won't have to touch up as much later.

Once the paint is across the entire canvas and running down each side, it is time to break out the torch again.

In a very smooth and gentle motion, bring the torch parallel to the painting so the flame will cover a great length and be the closest it can without touch the paint.

   If you have ever straightened your hair with a flat iron, you will use about the same timing to move the torch across the canvas as you would a flat iron down your hair. Don't stop along the way, move the torch along Long enough to apply heat, but not too long or else you may burn it.

Same idea.

   Once you do not see any more cells emerging, set your torch aside.

The paint is going to drip for a little bit, then once it stops you can move it to an area that is safe to leave while completely drying.

***TIP: Use the mixing cups you just used as a drying rack...flip 3 or 4 upside down and set your painting on top at the corners on the wooden base. If you set the painting canvas directly on the cups, and not the wooden framing, you are going to have visible cups shaped indents on your beautiful painting. Nobody wants that, so just be careful while setting this up, and then plan on letting the painting sit for a couple-few days.    


***TIP:This is also the time that you can use the clay tool to gently guide a stream of paint to go in a certain direction, add little whisps, or manipulate the paint however you see fit.

When I first started painting this way I was completely afraid to touch it at all with fear that I would destroy this self painting picture. But, this is very untrue, and the painting usually will need your loving touches to finalize and enhance parts that you may think feel unfinished.



I try not to guide too much in the method because it really is all about you finding the style and method that works for YOU.

  Using the colors that feel powerful to YOU.

Try crazy color combos.

I have created some beautiful paintings with 5 or so colors I would have never thought would have looked good together. Just go for it. Don't hold back. You can ALWAYS just do another pour right over the paintings you don't like!

   It seems most really awesome discoveries are by accident, so have no fear, try whatever your heart tells you to.

     So, I just wanted to share this new found way to create beautiful works of art, and to let you know that this is something damn near anyone can do once you know that basics.    

   PLEASE feel free to comment or ask questions below, and I would love it if you share come paintings you have created!  


Here are the first batch of acrylic pours that I created...

Tips through recent experience: ***Things I realized after writing this post...

If you have problems with the cells disappearing after the painting dries, try painting your blank canvas with white or Gesso paint first to get a nice thick layer down which can often help this problem.

Sometimes the way we mix the layers will bury the colors that would normally float to the top. Gesso is a really cool texture additive.

 even if you plan on doing more than one painting...stir each color in its cup (with Floetral & silicone) vigorously before each combo.

How I do it is..."silicone first thing in cup", then splash "floetrol"," color", "color", "silicone", "color", "color", "silicone"...etc  (as per layers in final mixing cup).

   THEN, once you flip the cup on the canvas, let it sit and settle for a few minutes. When you lift the cup and see all the colors start to interact, take a cooking torch and gently spray your painting with this will notice the cell & bubbles popping up immediately.

THE TORCH: In the beginning of my acrylic pour adventure, I was terrified to use the torch.

I never had before and did not want to blow myself up or set my painting into a fire frenzie. So, I was very timid and conservative with it.

But you will not see cool results until you have the torch really close to the paint, slowly wave it back and forth (about the speed as when we use a hair straightener). And I have found that going over a few times even will give you lots of extra cells. 

Even a couple drops of water, or one little splash will make noticeable cells. Add this to your single color cups...not the final mixing cup ( just because you really don't want to stir or mess with the final cup.).

Once you layer it, you just need to flip the cup face down, let the ingredients settle, and then play with the glob until you are happy:)



Also, keep in mind that besides directly selling your acrylic pours you can also scan in and sell the photo of your paintings -or even take it a step further and digitize your work- to sell via Print On Demand Sites.

Personally I love selling professional prints for my absolute favorite works of art because I can still keep the original while also selling them.

Want the supplies and quick tutorial to print out ? Click and save the index card below. The front side includes the items you will need to get started and an overview of the steps so you can have your steps by you while you are crafting. Feel free to add personal notes on the back side:)

***If you liked this post and found it helpful, PLEASE SHARE and comment below to include your input- Thanks for stopping by.

Related Articles - DIY arts and crafts, painting, creations, sell your art, acrylics, acrylic pours, acrylic pouring, work from home, make money online, Etsy ideas,

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