Acrylic Pour Painting For Beginners – In today’s post: Learn everything you need to know to get started in this painting guide for beginners. Find step-by-step instructions for your first easy paving technique as well as information on what supplies you’ll actually need.
Pouring painting (or Acrylic Pouring) is a fun art technique that involves mixing acrylic paint with thinner and pouring it onto a canvas. The canvas is then tilted to allow the paint to flow, blend and create a fluid design. Slab painting has been popular for the past five years, but my first attempt at it was a failure. I couldn’t find a great beginner’s guide so I couldn’t tell which of the many supplies were absolutely necessary and which I could leave out. So I tried to find it on my own and the results weren’t pretty.
Acrylic Pour Painting For Beginners
But starting a new art or craft is so much easier when you have someone to show you how! My mom visited last year after spending months learning how to paint slabs and shared her best tips with us. The kids and I quickly fell in love with slab painting and the beautiful art you can create with it. So I put together this beginner’s guide to pouring paint. That way you can try without investing too much time and money before you know if you like it. Fair warning though, it’s so much fun you’ll probably be hooked on your first project!
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Every paint slab is different and you never know exactly how it will turn out – and that’s half the fun. As with any new art or craft, it may take you a few tries to get a painting you really like. Fortunately, canvas can be bought very cheaply at most craft stores so you can play and practice.
If you’ve never seen a paint job before, there’s a video further down the post that shows the entire process. Read on for everything you need to know to get started!
There are many supplies that can be used to pour paint, which can be daunting. Here is my list of absolute musts.
Acrylic paint and medium or pre-mixed pouring paint: Inexpensive acrylic craft paints can be used for pouring paint, but the paint MUST be thinned before pouring so it can move easily around the canvas. The paint can be thinned with Flood Floetrol, which you can find on Amazon, or you can buy Pouring Medium at a craft store to thin the paint with. For each coat of paint, you need 4-5 different colors that you think look good together. You have several options for purchasing paint and pouring materials:
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Canvas or other surface to pour on: You can paint pours on many surfaces, but art canvas is the easiest. Look for multi-packs of canvas at your local craft store – you can often get 5 or 6 for ten bucks or so. You can also buy a flat 8×10 canvas at the dollar store or Walmart (for about a penny each) to practice with. Flat canvas panels tend to wonder a little when they dry, so they are best just for practice.
Small disposable cups: You will need lots of small cups (2-3 oz) to mix paint and Floetrol *unless* you bought premixed paint
Pouring cup: You want a plastic cup about 8 oz in size for pouring paint. If you get the Amazon bundle linked above, it comes with a clear baking cup marked with measurements, which is very convenient but not necessary. You can use any type of disposable cup to pour from.
Something to protect your face: I use large pieces of freezer paper on the counter top under my paint slabs. You can also use cheap plastic sheets or even large plastic bags. If you’re doing this with kids and you’re worried about them getting really messy, you can grab some large aluminum foil pans for pouring.
Complete Flow Painting & Pouring Guide
Torch: Although not necessary, a torch is used after pouring to pop paint bubbles and reveal more detail. I ordered this on Amazon. Note that you will also need to buy the butt for the kitchen torch that you often find next to lighters in the grocery store. If you don’t want to buy a torch, you can try using a lighter with a long nose.
Inexpensive cooling rack or large push pins: you want the canvas to be lifted off the table while it dries. I usually place it on four small plastic cups, but you can also use a cheap cooler bag from the dollar store or a large pin poked into the back of the canvas in each corner.
Foam Paint Brush: I like to give my canvas a primer coat of white paint before pouring because I think it helps the paint move more easily, but this is optional.
Collect all your supplies and protect your workbench. Then choose 4-5 paint colors that you think look cool together.
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If your paint is not pre-mixed, you will need to mix it now with Floetrol until it is thin enough to pour. You want the paint to be like warm honey or chocolate syrup, so that when you scoop a little onto the stir bar, it goes down in a steady stream, but it’s not too thin like water.
The ratio of pigment to Floetrol depends on the type of acrylic paint you use. Cheap craft paints are usually pretty thin to begin with, so they don’t need a lot of Floetrol. The nicer acrylic paints like the ones that come in the Amazon kit are much thicker to begin with so you use a lot less paint and a little more Floetrol. Mix a small amount to start; you can always mix more, but you don’t want to waste paint and Floetrol by mixing too much. Also, if your paint is thick to begin with, you can use a little water along with Floetrol to help thin it to the right consistency.
In general, you will need at least 4 oz of thinned paint (total) for an 8×10 canvas and at least 6 oz of paint for a 12×12 canvas. You definitely don’t need to measure the amount. exactly it just gives you an estimate so you know how much paint to mix. When starting out, err on the side of doing too much paint, not too little.
When I’m pouring on a 12×12 canvas, I find it best to use 4 colors + white. I mix 2 ounces of two different colors and about 1 ounce of two other colors. I always mix in a few ounces of white as well *more on that later*.
Acrylic Pour Painting
Here’s a handy calculator to help you figure out how much paint you’ll need for different sized projects: Pouring Calculator
There are many different methods of pouring paint, but today I’m going to show you one of my favorites: the flip cup dirty pour.
Watch this video to see exactly how to make a Flip Cup paint slab. Remember that most video parts are sped up. In real time, the time from changing the cup to the end of tilting is about 7-8 minutes.
Learn the easiest way to create a beautiful piece of art by pouring paint using a dirty pourer with a rotating cup.
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There are tons of paint pouring techniques to try! Click here for 5 basic techniques and search “paint pour technique” on google and youtube for many tutorials.
No! You shouldn’t do this. If you thin the paint a bit with water, your paint will crack when it dries and ruin your beautiful project.
If you are using thick acrylic paint you can use a little water along with Floetrol if needed to get the right consistency. Add water a little at a time.
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No big deal. If there are empty spots on the brown canvas that have not been covered, you can paint them with a foam brush.
The cells are the small round areas where you can see the different colors clearly. You should get some cells, as you can see in my example, but follow the instructions in this post. But if you want more, you can add a little silicone oil to your paint and experiment with different techniques. This post can teach you more.
Your canvas may be dry within a day, but it’s a good idea to wait at least 10 days before sealing it. I prefer to use poly spray, because it is cheap and easy to use. This post walks you through a number of options for sealing your paint leak.
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Acrylic Pouring, Crashing Wave Tutorial, Ocean Pour, Metallics, Fluid Art, Acrylic Painting
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