Fluid Art: How to Start Acrylic Pouring


What is this Acrylic Pouring, and can I do it? In this article, you will learn all the basics about the trendy topic of acrylic casting!

What is Acrylic Pouring?

Acrylic Pouring is perfect for beginners. If you want to start acrylic pouring, you don’t have to know anything about painting techniques or have any drawing skills.

Thus, anyone interested can start acrylic pouring right away. For Fluid Paintings, it does not matter if there is previous knowledge. You can start immediately with Fluid Art at any age.

Acrylic Pouring does not require a huge amount of material.

If you want to start acrylic pouring, you only need a few accessories and off you go with the new hobby of Acrylic Pouring. Thus, entry into Acrylic Pouring is inexpensive, and it can be tried in peace.

Finally, Acrylic Pouring offers many techniques. Fluid Art is an excellent hobby for people with little time. With a conventional painting, many hours, maybe even days go by quickly until a vivid result is available. With Acrylic Pouring, a great painting is ready in a short time. A vivid picture can be created in the afternoon.

That makes the new hobby of Fluid Paintings also fun.

The most important thing about Acrylic Pouring is it’s fun. Mixing acrylic paints and seeing if what you have in mind comes out is the excitement of Acrylic Pouring.

It brings a good mood, just to see how without complicated techniques, without previous knowledge, and without much effort and time with the Acrylic Pouring an individual image is created.

Related post: Acrylic paints tips for beginners

Acrylic Pouring: Fun and messy!

Acrylic Pouring is also called Acrylic Fluid Painting, Acrylic Pouring, Fluid Paintings, or Fluid Art, but what does Acrylic Pouring actually do? In Acrylic Pouring, you take liquid acrylic paint and pour it onto a suitable surface, such as a canvas. Then you move the base back and forth, thus influencing the direction of flow and the distribution of the acrylic paint, the highlight of Acrylic Pouring. For this process, you will learn over time different techniques and learn the hobby of Acrylic Pouring better.

There, many creative people, hobby painters, and professionals exchange ideas on the topic of fluid art or show their works. Every hobby has advantages and disadvantages, including Acrylic Pouring. Here are the advantages and disadvantages to Acrylic Pouring, to make the decision for or against the new hobby of Acrylic Pouring.

Advantages and disadvantages of acrylic casting

Advantages to Acrylic Pouring

No previous experience, craftsmanship, or drawing talent is needed for Acrylic Pouring. Beginners will quickly find out how acrylic pouring creates a great abstract image. Acrylic Pouring is all about how to best mix the different materials. It is a hobby where a quick fix can lead to a perfect result. Beginners, in particular, can often enjoy positive surprises in Acrylic Pouring while experimenting with the new materials in Fluid Painting. An unplanned burst of color can lift spirits tremendously, and beginners in Fluid Art in particular experience many of these.

The disadvantages to acrylic pouring

There are different materials that work differently for everyone when doing Fluid Art. Often the materials that excite fluid painting are costly materials. Since the paint is supposed to flow over the surface, the amount of material used is not small. Some paint then misses, as it simply flows off the chosen substrate again in the course of pouring.

This brings us to the last negative point. It’s a lot of fun, but also a lot of mess. Each color involved in the painting needs its own cup. Gloves are worn, which are then dirty. Some paint runs off and must be collected. Clothing should be protected or discarded. Acrylic Pouring can be a big mess. So when fluid painting, you have to allow enough time for cleanup. After the fun of acrylic pouring comes the washing up. The easiest way to do this is to have a dedicated space for acrylic pouring.

What do I need for Acrylic Pouring?

The following materials and supplies should be ready before you start pouring:

  • Acrylic paints.
  • Acrylic pouring medium.
  • Painting surface (e.g. a stretcher frame).
  • Foil to cover the working area.
  • Plastic cups or other containers for mixing the colors.
  • Wooden spatula for stirring.
  • Disposable gloves.
  • Water.
  • For certain effects, silicone oil or silicone spray (for optimal cell formation) or spatulas (for the swiping technique or to set accents) can also be used.

To avoid unwanted flowing movements, a spirit level is helpful to ensure a straight working surface. Spacers (e.g. thumbtacks or wooden blocks) ensure that the painting surface does not stick if paint overflows. It is advisable to wear insensitive work clothing when using the acrylic flow technique.

US Art Supply Acrylic Pouring Paint Set

US Art Supply Acrylic Pouring Paint Set

Which acrylic paints are best suited for the flow technique?

Basically, you can use any acrylic paint for Acrylic Pouring. When purchasing and planning, one should keep in mind that the flow technique, unlike other painting techniques, involves increased paint consumption.

The paint is mixed with the pouring medium to increase its flowability.

A set of 4 to 6 shades of your choice is a good start. Special effects can be achieved by using effect colors (glitter colors, metallic shades, etc.).

How to mix acrylic paint and pouring medium?

Acrylic paint and pouring medium are poured into a (plastic) cup and stirred well with a spatula until they have a roughly syrupy consistency. Depending on the viscosity of the paint used, the mixing ratio is about 3:1 – three parts of pouring medium to one part of acrylic paint.

In the case of highly pasty paints, it is advisable to mix first at a ratio of 1:1 and then add further pouring medium. In this way, clumping can be avoided.

How does the acrylic flow technique work?

In Acrylic Pouring, the colors are poured onto the painting surface. There are different methods for the specific technique.

One method is to layer the acrylic colors mixed with pouring medium in a separate cup (do not stir!). Then the painting base (e.g. stretcher) is placed on the cup and both are turned over together. Wait a moment for the paint to settle, and then lift off the cup. Now the colors flow into each other by themselves in different directions and form abstract, surprising shapes and structures.

Alternatively, the individual colors can be poured directly from their cups onto the painting surface. The positioning of the colors can be controlled a bit more precisely this way.

To enhance the flowing effect, either the painting base can be moved or further pouring medium (mixed with white paint) can be added to the edge of the color form.

Flow technique paintings should always dry horizontally. They are not really finished until they are dry, because even during the drying phase (8 to 24 hours) the color flows often still change their structure. Fully dried images can be coated with gloss varnish or another layer of pouring medium to achieve a high-gloss effect.

Shuttle Art Acrylic Pouring Paint Set

Shuttle Art Acrylic Pouring Paint Set

Acrylic casting: The different techniques

You can now try out different techniques, some of which we would like to introduce to you here.

  • The Flip Cup

The Flip Cup is especially popular for Acrylic Pouring: the individual colors you have chosen are poured into a common cup and carefully stirred around a bit. Then the cup is put on the canvas and slowly lifted. The easiest way to handle this is to first place the canvas on the cup and then simply rotate the construct 180 degrees.

The white is either added directly to the cup or spread generously on the canvas around the inverted cup.

The colors spread out on the canvas after the cup is lifted. Just tilt the canvas back and forth a little so that the color runs everywhere.

Acrylic casting

  • The Dirty Pour

The Dirty Pour works similarly to the Flip Cup. The colors are poured into a common cup and gently stirred. Then, however, the cup is not put on the canvas, as with the Flip Cup, but the colors are poured out. Again, you then move the canvas back and forth until the paint is evenly distributed on the painting surface.

  • The Puddle Pour

Here, the individual colors are not first poured into a common cup but are poured directly from the individual cups onto the canvas. The second color is poured directly into the first color, the third color into the second, and so on. Then, again, the canvas is moved back and forth slightly to distribute the colors.

You can also pour the colors onto several areas of the canvas instead of just staying in one area. This creates particularly exciting effects.

  • The Swipe Technique

With the swipe technique, you work with a palette knife or painting knife. The paint or several mixed colors are poured onto the canvas. Then the white acrylic paint is poured generously over one side of the canvas. This is then drawn with the spatula or paint knife like a net over the applied layer of paint. The colors below make their way through the white and produce exciting effects. Here, the silicone is crucial, which should absolutely be included in the colors (except for white!) with this technique.

  • Strainer or Colander Pour

One of the more popular advanced pours is the strainer or colander pour. This technique is created by doing a dirty pour but instead of pouring directly onto the canvas, you pour into a colander or strainer that is sitting on the canvas. The paint flows out of the strainer from all the different holes and creates a kaleidoscope effect.

Acrylic Pouring: How do the beautiful cells get into the picture?

Silicone oil is the secret behind the cell structure in acrylic pouring. However, the addition alone is not always enough – every picture is an experiment with an open outcome. The composition of the colors, the correct technique, and the ratio of the colors to each other are also important.

Each color has a specific density. A very dense color like white will sink through less dense colors, causing them to rise to the surface. The silicone keeps individual colors separate from each other and the colors pop up, so to speak, and show themselves in the form of cells.

Here it often helps to simply try, experiment, be curious.

Small help for the cell formation can be warmth: Many artists take a kitchen burner to hand, in order to flambé the surface of the picture carefully. The heat causes the paint that’s on top to fizzle out. A hot air dryer can also do a good job.

Drying and sealing your pouring work

Since Acrylic Pouring uses a lot of paint, your painting will take an appropriate amount of time to dry completely. Expect a drying time of around 24 to 48 hours. Be sure to let the painting dry on a flat surface (preferably on a pedestal made of cups or similar, as described above). This way you make sure that nothing distorts or moves in the color play.

Once your painting is completely dry, you can seal it to protect the colors and from outside influences. A classic acrylic varnish does a good job here – or epoxy resin, also known as “resin” or “art resin”. With this, you can provide your picture with a transparent, high-gloss, and extremely stable protective layer, which gives it a very unique character and a noble look.

TOP 10 Awesome Acrylic Pouring Techniques – Video

Additional Questions

How to do fluid art step by step?

First, gather all the necessary materials. You’ll need acrylic paint, pouring medium, a canvas, and stirring sticks. Then, prepare your work area and mix your paints with the pouring medium in separate containers. You should aim for a consistency that is flowable but not too thin or thick. Once you are satisfied with the consistency, next is the creative part, pour your paints onto the canvas. You can do this in any style you prefer either pouring directly onto the canvas or layering them in a single container and pouring it all at once. After pouring, tilt and turn your canvas to spread the paint and create unique patterns. Once done, leave your artwork to dry. Remember, patience is the key here. Drying might take up to 3 days depending on the amount and type of paint used.

What do I need to start fluid art?

You will need few basic supplies to start with fluid art. These are acrylic paints of various colors, a pouring medium (to mix with your paints), a stir stick or a palette knife, a stretched canvas or a wood panel, disposable cups to mix your paint + medium, and gloves to protect your hands. This is just a starter list, as you progress in fluid art, you might also want to experiment using silicone oil to create cells, a torch to remove air bubbles, and different types of tools to create different effects.

What do you put on canvas before pouring acrylic?

Before you pour acrylic onto a canvas, it’s a good practice to prep it first. First, make sure the canvas is clean and free from any dust or debris. Then prime the canvas with a layer of gesso. Gesso is a white paint mixture that provides a nice, smooth surface and ensures that the acrylic paint will stick well to the canvas. Let the gesso dry completely before you start pouring. Some artists also apply a base coat, usually a solid color (often white), on top of the gesso to help the paints flow better on the canvas.

What do you mix for acrylic pouring?

For acrylic pouring, you primarily mix acrylic paint and a pouring medium. The ratio of paint to pouring medium will depend largely on the consistency of the paint and the effects you want to achieve. You may also opt to add water to thin the mixture even further, but be aware that adding too much water can weaken the structure of the paint. Optional additives are silicone oil or hair oil, these can help to create cells or bubbles in the artwork. Once your mixture is ready, stir it thoroughly until there are no lumps and it flows smoothly off the stirring stick.

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