Paint pouring is one of the hottest trends, and lately we’ve made lots of fun projects in the shop that we want to share with you! This fun technique is an easy way to create unique works of art by literally pouring paint onto your surface (be it canvas, glass, wood, ceramic – anything you choose!). The way in which you pour, and how you create layers with your paint determines the overall look and feel of your finished piece. It’s a little difficult to predict what will happen at the beginning but we have some tips and tricks that will make it easier for you to get a great paint pour every time!
First, to do a paint pour you need the following supplies:
- Pouring Medium - we like Deco Art or Liquitex
- Acrylic Paints - Liquitex offers a line of Basics, but any acrylic will work
- Disposable cups or bowls for mixing paints
- Pallet knife or popsicle sticks
- Funnel (make sure that you mark it for non-food use)
- Squeeze bottle
- A surface to pour onto - think canvas, glass, wood, ceramic, etc.!
- Optional - pitchers, tubes or other applicators
You will also want to ensure that you have an area where you can work. We recommend either a table covered in newsprint or some other protective cloth, or somewhere outdoors. A well ventilated area is another plus.
So let’s get down to the nitty gritty on how to paint pour:
Step 1: Mix 1 tablespoon or more of acrylic paint to one cup of pouring medium in a large bucket or bowl. It helps to mix custom colors before adding to the medium, to ensure a uniformity of color in the pour.
Step 2: Mix the color and the pouring medium by hand with a pallet knife. In order to prevent bubbles, blend gently and allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes following agitation.
Step 3: Using a funnel, pour the mixture into a squeeze bottle or applicator of choice. Alternatively, you can just use your mixing cups to pour. Additional applicators such as pitchers or tubes can be used for a variety of effects. The paint is now ready to be poured.
Step 4: Mixture can be poured directly on your surface of choice. A good place to work with poured media is on a level work table. If the surface is not level, you may produce uneven results with very thin pieces that may tear.
Step 5: Pour evenly over the surface and allow at least 24 hours of dry time. If the paint film is thicker, allow up to two days of dry time.
Here are some tips from Liquitex that we find helpful when we do our paint pours:
- Multicolored compositions can be created in one sitting if several colors are prepared at a time. Apply the next color directly after the first pour for spots or crisp, concentric circles.
- Marbled surfaces can be created using multiple colors applied side by side and then blended using a palette knife or by dragging a fork or pointed tool through the surface.
- Turn the support on its side to create thin drips. Allow the paint to run down the support surface at a variety of speeds.
- Pours and pools can be layered. Apply another coat after the first has dried for layers of color.
- For sculptural applications, directly pour medium and paint mixture onto a glass surface to create a moveable, flexible paint slick. To make removable pours, treat the glass surface with a mold release or quick release spray for easy removal of the paint after it dries. When dry, the poured paint can be sewn, glued, rolled, or even die-cut for different sculptural effects.
- In order to ensure the continued strength of the paint film, do not mix water with the pouring medium.
- Dust can get caught in the paint film if left open to the air. Cover the painted canvas, glass, or board with a larger cardboard box to ensure a clean pour while it dries.
What kind of projects can you create using paint pouring? Here are some of our favorites:
For Derby Days, we made a paint poured memo board. First we removed the glass from a 10”x10” picture frame and did a dirty pour on the glass (a dirty pour is when you combine all of the colors you’re using in a single cup to create a marbled effect). Once the glass finished drying, we cut a 10”x10” piece of clear acetate to put in front of the glass when we reassembled the frame. We put the acetate over the top so that the vinyl we applied would go on nicely (vinyls don’t adhere too well to the paint poured surface, so acetate makes that process easier). The vinyl we used came as one piece from Decorating Your Life, and we cut it apart to place the bicycle and the words where we wanted on our board. Then we printed a few cute photos and attached them to the board using StikkiClips from StikkiWorks Company.
Stretched canvases are a wonderful surface for paint pouring, as they require very little preparation. Practice your layering techniques or try adding glitter to your pours for an easy-to-frame work of art!
Virtually any surface can be used for paint pouring: we’ve tried wood and ceramic coasters, and even a unicorn shaped MDF board - the sky’s the limit!