< Back to blog

How to Use Pouring Medium When Painting with Acrylics

Acrylic pour painting, sometimes called fluid or flow art, is a style that captivates many artists and art lovers alike. The unique, smooth swirls and bright colours associated with this form of fluid art appeal to many different types of artists.

Using a variety of techniques in your art allows you to create some spectacular pieces. Discover more here.

But to create this style, you will need to alter the state of your acrylic paints by using an acrylic pouring medium. Straight out of the tube or bottle, acrylic paints won’t naturally be able to create the effects found in fluid art. Without the proper preparation, your acrylic paints will crack and fade, perhaps even separate. None of this is conducive to trying to create fluid art. So, to get your paints to the correct consistency so that you can create stunning acrylic pour paintings, you’ll need to use an acrylic pouring medium and we’re here to tell you just how to do this.

What Is A Pouring Medium?

An acrylic paint pouring medium is a substance which is used to help improve the consistency of acrylic paints by allowing them to pour more fluidly. Essentially, mixing acrylic paint pouring medium with your acrylic paints transforms them so that you can create amazing acrylic pour art.

Many leading art brands manufacture acrylic paint pouring mediums, and while they differ slightly they create very similar results when correctly mixed with acrylic paint. You might also find this substance referred to as fluid painting pouring medium, as fluid painting is another popular term that expresses this art form, along with paint pouring art.

What Does A Pouring Medium Do To Acrylic Paintings?

By adding a pouring medium to your acrylic paints, you’re effectively transforming the makeup of your paints so that they can be manipulated for fluid art or acrylic pour painting. Many people mix water with their acrylics to thin them and allow the paint to flow more easily when poured, however this has some undesirable side effects. For instance, water tends to wash out your paints, meaning the finished product will not be as vibrant as if left unaltered or mixed with a pouring medium.

Pouring mediums work differently.  They allow your paints to take on the smooth, fluid form but preserve the vibrant colours you’ll want to capture. This is especially important with the abstract look of fluid art, as bright and vibrant colours are a staple of this.

How To Use Pouring Mediums

The most traditional method for using a pouring medium to create acrylic pour art requires whichever colours you wish to use, your pouring medium, and plenty of plastic cups. You can also utilise items like plastic straws and palette knives, but more on that later.

1. To begin, select your paint colours and a plastic cup for each of them. Add a small amount of paint to the cup, typically just enough to cover the bottom. Then, add in your pouring medium. The amounts of medium you should add will depend on a number of things, including the size of your canvas or board, as well as how many colours you are using. A typical rule of thumb for medium body acrylics is 1 part paint to 3 parts pouring medium, meaning you’re using more pouring medium than you are actual acrylic paint.

2. Once you know how much to use, go ahead and add the pouring medium to all of your different colours and mix them well using a stirrer or popsicle stick. The next step is to combine your colours. Using another, clean cup, begin adding your various colours and layering them on top of one another in the cup. You can repeat colours and use more of the colours you wish to be more prominent in your painting.

3. Once you’ve layered all your paints in the same cup, next comes the fun part! This is the step where you apply your paint to your canvas or board to create an amazing masterpiece. Begin by placing your canvas, facedown, on top of your cup. Place your hand on the back of the canvas for support and hold onto the cup, flipping them quickly so that your cup is resting upside down on the canvas. Wait a few moments for the paint to flow towards the canvas.

4. While you wait, you can apply a base colour to the rest of the canvas. This will typically either be black or white paint already mixed with the pouring medium. Pour it across the canvas and spread it around the edges of your cup and across the canvas with a palette knife.

5. Next, you can either spread the cup across the canvas to begin moving the paint, or lift the cup directly up, allowing the paint to spread and flow across the surface. Tilt the canvas to allow the paint to flow fully across the canvas, covering the edges and corners. You can blow through a straw to move the paint around and lift up the various colours you want to expose and create all kinds of different looks.

Another popular technique is to use a dropper to apply many narrow pours on a vertical canvas. There are many different ways to experiment with acrylic pouring to create wonderful art.

Pouring mediums also work really well with acrylic inks, creating particularly interesting finishes due to the degrees of transparency in some inks.

To begin experimenting with pouring mediums, you can shop our range of Liquitex products here. Acrylic pouring with Liquitex is the perfect way to create some of the amazing fluid artwork that may have caught your eye and got you keen to give it a try!

We stock a variety of acrylic paints and mediums to suit your every need. Take a look at some of our top picks.

Liquitex Soft Body: The Original Acrylic, Redesigned

Winsor & Newton Galeria: Professional Quality At An Affordable Price

Give Your Artwork A Boost With Acrylic Mediums

< Back to blog

You may also like....

What is a Medium in Art?

July 11, 2022

Some things you simply can’t know until you look them up. But there’s no need to worry, we’re here to help. When it comes to the fine art world, countless terms can be confusing or misleading when you first start out. A great example of this would be the term “medium”, a word we all […]

read more

How Do Paint Markers Work?

June 08, 2022

Markers are becoming a more and more popular artist medium. With all the benefits of acrylic or oil-based paint without the associated preparation or mess, paint markers are a great way to get into painting if you’re an avid drawer or sketch artist. And with so many surfaces to choose from, from glass to ceramics, […]

read more

Painting on Leather with Acrylic Paints

April 06, 2022

Leather is a popular substrate for many artists looking to create something a little different. From shoes or belts to jackets, the projects are extensive. When thinking about how to customise your design, you may ask the question “can I use acrylic paint on leather?” and the answer is yes! Here are some things to […]

read more

How To Paint On Wood With Acrylics

April 17, 2020

Wondering how to paint with acrylics on wood? It’s easier than you think to transform a piece of old wood into something beautiful using just a little paint. For this, acrylics on wood are your best choice. While it’s possible to paint on wood right away, there are a few steps that we recommend to […]

read more

Amazing Acrylic Painting Techniques

August 22, 2019

Are you looking for some new acrylic painting ideas? There are some amazing acrylic painting techniques that you may want to try to give your creations a new style. The techniques used for acrylic painting are varied and are specifically tied to its properties, so it’s helpful to have some background knowledge of these acrylic […]

read more

Mix & Match Acrylics The Easy Way With Liquitex

March 12, 2018

Layer, smudge, blend and mix in your own individual style – intermixability allows you to combine any Liquitex Heavy Body & Soft Body Acrylics, Inks, Sprays, Markers and Mediums, any way you like. All Liquitex products are made with compatible binders for maximum versatility and archival quality. This means you can go your own way […]

read more