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Learn acrylic pour painting techniques for your prettiest DIY wall art ever!

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If you are not familiar with acrylic pour painting techniques and recipes but were always dreaming about creating good-looking DIY wall art, then here is your lucky chance! Easy enough for anyone with a pair of hands and a few bottles of fluid acrylic paint, this paint pouring art hobby may really make an acrylic pour addict out of you.

All you need to start creating your own wall art masterpieces is just one trip to your local craft supplies store, like Michaels or Hobby Lobby, and a few minutes of watching “how to pour acrylic paint” youtube videos. No taking long art classes, no buying expensive courses or step-by-step books – just start discovering your inner Jackson Pollock in your home studio without any delay!

Sounds like a dream, right? No, it’s not. Acrylic pouring is, indeed, surprisingly easy. There are only a few things that you have to learn before spending a fortune on experimenting with expensive art supplies.
(See this article about the most economical pour painting art supplies sets)

The main acrylic pour painting technical terms

  • Cells – irregular organic pattern created by either heavier pigment weight of top paint layers sinking through lighter layers of fluid acrylic paint or by oil added to this water-based paint which creates random “puddles” on the top layer of the painting showing underlying color.
  • Floetrol – is the main part of most of the acrylic pouring recipes that help water-based paints perform more like oil-based paints which ultimately helps with reducing brush marks in your paint finish. It can be purchased at Lowes or Home Depot.
  • Pouring medium – see Floetrol and Liquitex Pouring Medium
  • Dimethicone – a “skin-safe” form of silicone oil, commonly added to fluid acrylic paint to promote the creation of pour painting cells.
  • Silicone oil – a liquid polymerized siloxane with organic side chains widely used as lubricating agents.  Silicone oil often is mixed with acrylic colors to facilitate the creation of cells during acrylic pouring. See also Dimethicone.

Important note

The use of Silicone oil and Dimethicone is considered to be almost “the classic” component in many acrylics pouring recipes. There is a problem with this oil. It was formulated as a non-evaporating lubricant designed to stay liquid without polymerizing or hardening.

Michael Towsend (Materials Specialist at Golden Artist Colors, Inc.) writes:

At this point in time, we do not endorse the use of silicone oil in painting mixtures that are expected to last. There are many reasons for this stance. Most silicone oils do not evaporate out of the paint, therefore they stay within the matrix of the paint and could potentially cause film formation issues. At the very least, the silicone oil will impede the intercoat adhesion between the surface of the pour and subsequent product layers, such as mediums and varnish. As an artist, you are free to do what you want to to make your artwork, but until we gather enough evidence that there aren’t any long-term issues, we won’t suggest artists add silicone into the paint.

Don’t cry in desperation – there is a perfect, time-tested, and far better alternative to your precious silicone oil. Linseed oil has been used by generations of artists from the Renaissance until modern days. It also smells much more “artistic” than silicone spray.

Another silicone oil substitute to consider would be Isopropyl Alcohol.

Alcohol with acrylics pouring

Source: where Michael Towsend explains why and how it works with the acrylic pouring technique (more details here).

Pours of GAC 800, GOLDEN High Flow Acrylic & Isopropyl Alcohol create cellular patterns as the alcohol tries to escape the paint during drying.

Acrylic Pouring medium techniques: How Much Silicone & Floetrol to Use?

3 experiments by Odeta Dixon for beginners. Very informative and to-the-point pour painting tutorial. It contains some basic acrylic pouring recipes.

Dirty pour demo of fluid acrylic painting with Cells

Acrylic pour painting done in a dirty pour technique on 10×20 stretched canvas by Emily Meder!

Why is this particular acrylic pouring recipe and demonstration worth your attention?

Because it shows that you don’t have to dump every color you possess onto canvas each time acrylic pouring inspiration hits you.
This time-lapse video is short and will just show you the process without extra comments.

Acrylic Dirty Pour – Golden Oldies

Bakerboo Paints show you how acrylic pouring is done in “Golden Colors.”  Beautifully balanced earth colors and well-pronounced cells make these canvasses stand out among the sea of other rainbow-colored acrylic pours.  One more example confirming that simply mastering pouring or any other technique will not make artwork an instant masterpiece – there are other things that you have to master as well…

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