How to begin acrylic pouring and where to get supplies.
Paint pouring is a surprisingly fun and relaxing hobby for all ages. If you are wanting to learn how to begin acrylic pouring, then you need to start off with the right supplies.
As with almost everything in this day and age, you want to ensure that you are getting the best quality for the price.
It can seem daunting, but don’t worry – its actually easy to get the right supplies for acrylic pouring!
Firstly, don’t try and guess like some of us do the first time because your paintings can crack with the wrong supplies.
It’s a real bummer when this happens and I have lost many beautiful paintings in my learning process to subpar supplies.
Which is why I have constructed this list.
The last thing you want is to waste precious time and money getting more supplies when the first have not met your standards.
Below I have constructed a simple supply list with everything you need to get started acrylic pouring!
Everything a Paint Pour Beginner Needs to Know.
- What you need to get started
- Where to find paint pouring supplies – cheap and effective
- Acrylic paint pouring mediums – what are they?
- Creating your own starter kit
- How to begin with acrylic paint pouring
- Best brands of acrylic paint for the job
1. What You Need To Get Started!
There are several important items that you will need to get started on your acrylic paint pouring journey.
Here you can find a brief list of things that you will want to buy in order to start acrylic paint pouring.
The most important acrylic pouring supplies:
- Acrylic paints in different colours (or an acrylic pouring set)
- Pouring medium at least a litre (from a craft shop or you can buy “paint conditioner” from your local hardware store)
- At least 12 plastic cups (with lids if possible) to store your paints and hold up your canvas
- Craft sticks to mix paints (wooden pop-sticks/spoons)
- Plastic drop cloth to keep the area tidy
- Cardboard Box to catch the paint while your pour
- Surface prep for canvas
- Silicone oil for the making of cells in your fluid art
- Polycrylic for finishing
- Squeeze bottles for pour control
- A professional kitchen torch to bring out the cells in your work
- Paintbrushes, for both touching up and embellishing your pours
- Painting knife set
- Personal Protective Equipment e.g. particle mask, apron
2. Where To Find Paint Pouring Supplies Cheap!
Paint pouring supplies can be purchased from many art and craft stores and discount stores in your local area and online. It is often best to buy in-store because you can ask questions from knowledgeable staff.
List of shops which stock acrylic paint pouring supplies:
- Dollar Tree
- Home Depot
- Hobby Lobby
- Jerry’s Artarama
- Red Dot
- Reject Shop
- Big W
- Riot Art and Craft (often have 50% off sales)
- Dick Blick
- Catch of the Day
- Monte Marte
Never underestimate the experience of the staff at your local art and craft store.
Dealing with these products and customers daily, they will know exactly what you need and ensure that you get good quality products.
This helped me big time when I first started this hobby, and once you understand what makes a good product you may be able to find them cheaper online.
The other surprising option is your local hardware store!
They have pouring medium called floetrol. It is slightly cheaper than pouring medium from the art and craft store.
3. Acrylic Pouring Medium – What Is That?
It is the secret ingredient of acrylic pouring.
It makes the paint run smooth and creates interesting swirly patterns and cells in your artwork.
Without pouring medium, fluid art would not be fluid!
The acrylic pouring medium is added to acrylic paints to thin it and make it much easier to move and flow around the canvas. It also gives volume to your finished piece.
There are many different acrylic pouring mediums that are on the market.
This can make it difficult to find the right one.
There Are Three Main Pouring Medium Choices for Beginners:
Liquitex is one of the best known and best-selling acrylic pouring supplies you can buy. It is the best medium to use, especially for beginners. Many artists who practice acrylic paint pouring would not choose anything else!
Floetrol is a staple at many hardware stores and is traditionally sold as a paint extender. It is often in home improvement projects.
But it has also become popular in paint pouring! It works really well.
Some people even use PVA Glue, but for beginners I recommend liquitex or floetrol, they both work great for me.
Floetrol can be used alone as a standalone pouring medium, or you can also use it with other mediums (like silicone) to promote the formation of the cells.
The Difference Between Using Pouring Medium and Floetrol.
If you are looking to compare the two mediums, there are some distinct differences.
Floetrol makes a larger number of smaller cells in comparison to Liquitex which makes bigger, softer cells.
In reality, for beginners, it does not matter which you choose, as long as you get your hands on one so that you can begin and get a feel for pour painting!
There are several other mediums that are fun to experiment with once you have gotten into pouring paint. You can experiment with these other mediums to see exactly how they go on your canvas.
Using Silicone in Paint Pouring
From my investigation, I found that if you add silicone to your medium you end up with the best cells in your acrylic pour. Adding a few drops of 100% silicone oil to your paint mix will do just the trick and yield amazing results.
As you only need a few drops every time you use it, one bottle of the silicone oil will last a very long time. If you are just starting out then you will be shocked by the results from your pouring painting when using silicone oil. In a good way!
Different Brands of Silicones for Fluid Art
Although you can get a decent amount of cells using a regular pouring medium, silicone is the way to master the art very quickly. Treadmill belt lubricant is the easiest to use of all the silicone oils on the market.
Other types include those which can be easily purchased at the hardware store, such as WD-40, dimethicone, and even if you wanted to go elsewhere personal lubricant.
An alternative to silicone oil is Coconut Milk Anti Breakage Serum. It contains dimethicone which is skin-friendly silicone oil. It smells good and even makes great paintings with many cells.
I have tested a lot of additives and have found that silicone oil always gives the best results for my own personal vision.
There are many different oils and additives that you can try and the best thing to find what suits you is to do some experimenting of your own!
Maybe you will find something that I haven’t even thought of yet!
4. Acrylic Pouring Starter Kits
There are a few essential items that you will need in order to get started with your acrylic paint pouring. These can come in great starter kits but when you are investigating this option you will need to know what must be included to get started.
These sets can come with fluid paints pre-mixed with a medium for your convenience or they may come separately in which case you can mix it yourself. This is entirely dependant on you.
The pros and cons of pre-mixed fluid paint kits
Con: If you choose a pre-mixed paint then you will have one less thing to worry about, but it does not give you that much-needed experience with mixing the paint yourself. This is an essential skill in paint pouring and something that you really need to practice to get absolutely right.
Con: Sometimes the kits can be more expensive for what you are actually getting. The quantities can be quite small and paint pouring uses a lot of paint mix so you may run out fast.
Con: I have found some of the kits to be too runny, and they just slide off the canvas losing a lot of paint. But this again just takes practice to control.
Pro: In a good, comprehensive paint pouring kit you will have everything you need such as silicone oil, canvas boards, dropper or squeeze bottles, wooden stirring sticks, plastic glasses for mixing paints, painting knives and gloves. So it is very convenient.
A good pre-mixed paint pouring kit
One set which has everything you need is the Pebeo Pouring Experience kit, which has the paints already pre-mixed with the pouring medium.
This is entirely a personal decision in the long run, and for beginners, it may seem like the better option. But keep in mind the added knowledge you will gain from mixing your own medium.
Plus it adds a whole new element of accomplishment when you get those measurements just right!
5. How to Prepare Acrylic Paint for Pouring Art
The mixture for paint pouring is almost as important as the quality of the acrylic paint pouring supplies.
It can make or break a piece and effects how the paint is poured onto your canvas.
The best consistency for mixing paint ready to pour is:
The best consistency can be created by mixing 50% paint and 50% pouring medium with a dash of water.
But this ratio does change depending how thick your paint is to start.
From here you need to mix well.
Add a little bit of water, to soften the mix. You want the mix to be a pouring cream consistency, but not too thick! And not too runny.
You definitely don’t want any lumps in your mix so keep stirring until they disappear.
About the acrylic paint to use for fluid art
You want the acrylic paint you are using to be soft body paint, which is what most tube paints are.
Super high quality acrylic paints will be very thick, so student grade is usually a great choice and inexpensive.
Tip, you can use house paint (tester pots) from your local hardware store, but their wall style colours may be a bit dull for what you want to create!
Most of the time no extra water is needed at this point, and if you do feel that the paint mixture is still a bit thick then you can add water a little bit at a time.
You do not want to add too much and make it too runny. Mix after you add a few drops and recheck the consistency.
Check the consistency by lifting your stirring pop stick or spoon and letting the mix fall down off back into the cup. Watch to see how it pours. You are aiming for an even consistent pour. Not a lumpy, runny or thick pour.
Keep mixing until you reach the desired effect.
6. Best Acrylic Paint Brands for Pouring?
Finding the best brand of pouring paint is a very personal task. Each person wants something different when it comes to their paints and different brands can give very different results believe it or not.
Monte Marte is a great brand for beginners. They have a range of budget art supplies including everything you need for pouring.
Sargent Art 8-Ounce Acrylic Paint comes in a 12 piece set. It has all the basic colors you will need in order to get started and each color comes in a large 8-ounce bottle.
If you are starting on a budget then this is by far one of the best options for you. It is also a great starter kit with its range of colors so quite convenient as well, I am all about convenience!
Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint Set in the 18 piece, 2-ounce bottles are next on the list. It has a great selection of popular colors and the brand is known for its excellent value!
The bottles are smaller than the Sargent Art option but they do have a little more color variety in the pack.
Sax True Flow Acrylic Paint comes in a set of 12 bottles. They are much more expensive and give a lot more paint so you do not have to buy more for quite a while!
The 16-ounce bottles come in all the basic colors and you will be able to pour for a long time to come without worrying about running out of paint.
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint Tube 48-Piece Set is another of my favorites. It only comes in very small tubes, 22mL, however, the paint is of a much higher quality and it has a vast array of colors to choose from.
If you have a vision with many tremendous colors then you should look no further than this starter kit!
Once you have decided on a set of colored paints, then you will need to choose the perfect blacks and whites. It may not be at the forefront of your mind, but you actually use black and white paints quite a lot in pouring.
Sargent Art 16-Ounce Acrylic Paint White is one of my favorites when finding a good quality white paint. You want to buy a very big bottle of white as you will be using it a lot. At the beginning especially.
It acts to lighten colors you have already applied to the canvas and add an element of contrast as well. This is similar to the effect of the black too.
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint Tube, Black is another of the better neutral paints that you can buy for pouring. It does not have that flaky, chalky finish you find with most other brands on the market.
In comparison, it is one of the higher quality black paints out there and comes in a 4-ounce tube.
If you are looking for something a little more advanced then you can always try some of the following paint sets which are great for those a little more experienced.
Martha Stewart Acrylic Craft Paint Set Metallic and Pearl are one of the amazing sets that you can buy for a little more glitz and glam for your work.
They come in 2-ounce tubes and the pearl and metallic paints will give a whole new depth to your acrylic pouring. It is also very reasonably priced as well, so it won’t break the bank.
Sargent Art Metallic Acrylic Paint Set in the 6 pack is another set that offers these metallic colors. You can buy them in bigger bottles which will save you money in the long run.
The 6 pack will keep you painting for a while, and they are very reasonably priced, especially if you go for the bigger bottles.
Finally, FOLKART Color Shift 8PC Set, 2 oz are some of the best paints for pouring. They can be a great addition alone but are also perfect for the flip cup method or a negative space pour.
They are a bit more expensive than most of the other options mentioned here, so they are better purchased by intermediate or advanced pourers than for beginners.
When you are first starting out you don’t want to extend over your budget and you just won’t get as much out of them. They are not a great option to practice on because of the price.
Enjoy your paint pouring journey, you will not regret trying out this awesome hobby.