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(There is also 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.
Related: Sell Your Art
You are going to need:
- 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.
MORE INFO ABOUT THE TOOLS YOU WILL NEED:
(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.
- 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 10×10, 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.
Try crazy color combos.
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 heat…you will notice the cell & bubbles popping up immediately.
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:)
THIS EXACT ACRYLIC POUR PAINTING METHOD HAS GOTTEN ME THE RESULTS I WANT EVERY SINGLE TIME.
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:)
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