Acrylic pour painting is a simple and enjoyable process, allowing you to produce stunning art pieces in a fraction of the time regular art takes.
People will be amazed at the big, bright artworks you make yourself, but don’t tell them it took you less than half an hour!
Many different techniques can be used to create these paintings, but the Dutch Pour method is one of the simplest and most effective for beginners.
You might be wondering though, What is Dutch Pouring and how can I do it at home? We answer all these questions and more below.
This guide will let you know everything about dutch pour painting, from the supplies you need, recommended recipes, and blowing tools, to some top tips to help you create beautiful pieces of art.
By the end of this guide, you will be equipped with all the knowledge you need to start your own dutch pour painting journey. So, let’s get started!
Dutch Pouring For Beginners
- What is a Dutch Pour?
- Why Do People Dutch Pour?
- Supplies You Need for Dutch Pouring?
- What Is The Secret Recipe/Ratio Of The Paint Mix?
- Creating The Negative Space Space In Dutch Pouring
- Which colours to choose for the lines of colour
- Dutch Pour Technique Variations
- What Tool Will You Use To Blow The Paint
- How to direct the airflow to get the best patterns?
1) What is a Dutch Pour?
A dutch pour is a pouring technique that uses airflow to create beautiful and mesmerizing effects in your paintings. It is similar to a standard pour, but after pouring the paint, you blow it with a hair dryer or straw to manipulate it and create amazing effects!
An important part of this process is to leave some negative space.
So, instead of covering the whole canvas, it’s important to leave some bare sections (negative space). See below for an example.
An air source, such as a straw, hair dryer or air compressor, is used to create movement in the paint, which then flows into the negative space. This results in beautiful ribbon patterns, swirls, and cells are formed.
2) Why Do People Dutch Pour?
It is fast, thrilling, exciting and has excellent results. Because you are blowing the paint, you have a small amount of control over the end effect. But this is the fun of it.
Aside from the beautiful effects that are created, people also dutch pour because it is a relatively simple acrylic pouring technique that anyone can do.
It is also less messy than other pouring techniques and doesn’t require any fancy equipment.
Another reason people love dutch pouring is that it is a forgiving technique. If you make a mistake, you can simply start again. There is no need to worry about ruining your painting, as you can always try again.
You can simply repour on top of the error section, and blow again!
Now that you know what dutch pour painting is and why people love it let’s take a look at what you will need to get started.
3) Supplies Needed for a Dutch Pour Painting
There are only a few supplies you will need for dutch pour painting. The list below outlines everything you will need to create your stunning pieces of art.
Here’s a quick list of essential supplies:
- 5 different acrylic paint colours – white essential
- 500ml Floetrol or Pouring Medium
- 8 or so reusable cups (clean them out once done with a rag into the general waste bin)
- A stirring stick
- Protective equipment for you (gloves, apron, mask)
- A canvas
- Some water to add if your mix is too thick
- Something to blow air with (blow dryer, straw)
- Cleaning equipment (Kitchen paper towel)
Supplies in more detail:
1) Acrylic Paints
You can use any acrylic paint for dutch pouring, we use student acrylics. Don’t use oil paints! They are the wrong base and might separate.
Student Acrylic Paints work well as they have a runnier consistency. You can use any colour of paint you like, but we recommend using bright colours with plenty of white paint, as they will show off the swirl and patterns better.
Try to experiment with different colours to create exciting effects. For example, you could use two colours that complement each other or three colours that make a gradient effect.
We recommend using white or black paint for the negative space colour. This will create a stark contrast with the other colours and make the designs pop.
2) Pouring Medium
A pouring medium is a liquid that helps to thin the paint and make it flow more easily. It also helps to increase the durability of the paint and prevent it from cracking. We recommend using Floetrol as it is specifically designed for painting and works well with most types of paint.
You can find pouring mediums at most art supply stores or purchase them online. Mixing chemical medium with water can also help increase the paint’s flow, but this is not always necessary.
Silicone oil is also a pouring medium that can be used to create cells in your paintings. You only need a small amount of silicone oil, and it can be added to any colour of paint. This is not always necessary for dutch pour painting but if you want to add a bubbly or cell-like effect to your painting, then you can add a few drops of silicone oil.
3) Air source
As we mentioned earlier, you will need an air source to create patterns and designs in your painting. A hair dryer, airbrush, your mouth, compressed air can, or straw will work well.
You can use any canvas for dutch pour painting, but we recommend using a thicker one so the paint doesn’t seep through. A thicker canvas will also prevent the paint from cracking as it dries.
We also recommend using a canvas at least 16” x 20” so you have enough space to experiment. Though if you prefer a smaller canvas, then that’s perfectly fine too.
5) Other Useful Supplies
In addition to the supplies listed above, you will also need some other items to help with the pour-painting process. These include:
- Cup or container to hold the paint
- Palette knife, wooden spoon or spatula to mix the paint
- Paper towels to clean up any spills
- Spray bottle filled with alcohol (optional)
- Silicone oil (optional)
- Level work surface
Now that you know what supplies you need, let’s look at the good mix ratio for dutch pour painting.
4) What is a good recipe/ratio in the mix for dutch pour painting?
The perfect mix ratio for dutch pour painting will depend on the type of paint you are using and the consistency you want to achieve. You can usually get a perfect mix based on the consistency of the paint mix in your cup. You want a creamy “easy flowing” consistency.
The best recipe is 45% floetrol to 45% acrylic paint and a dash of around 10% water.
Base Layer Recipe
For the base layer or negative space, we recommend using:
- At least 50% Floetrol
- A dash of water
- Mixed with 50% acrylic paint
This will create a thin base layer that will be easy to work with.
To get the right ratio, if you are using half a cup of titanium white paint then half a cup of floetrol and the water added should bring the consistency to a smooth “pourable” consistency. But do not add too much water or you will lose too much colour pigment.
Once the mix is easy to stir but not watery, you are ready to go. If it has gone watery, add more paint/floetrol.
Color Layer Recipe
For the colour layer or the pour painting itself, always starts a small amount of water mix and then increase it until you get the desired consistency. A good rule of thumb is to start with 10% of the amount of paint you are using.
So, if you are using 5 ounces of paint, then start adding 0.5 ounces of floetrol or water and mix it until you get the consistency you want.
You can always add more pouring mediums as needed, but usually the right amount is the same amount of paint.
For example, if you are using 5 ounces of paint, then you usually need at least 5 ounces of your chosen pouring medium.
5) Creating the Negative Space In Dutch Pouring
Now that you know the supplies and ratio you need, let’s take a look at how to create the negative space and base layer.
The first step is to add your chosen paint colour to the canvas. You can use a brush, pour directly from the container, or use a funnel.
I usually find pouring lines across the canvas is the best way. If you are using a brush, start from the centre of the canvas and work your way out.
Once you have added the paint to the canvas, you have the option to tilt the canvas a little bit, in different directions so that the paint moves along to create shapes. But leave a LOT of room because you will soon blow it to take up much more room on the canvas!
Once you have poured some paint lines the next step is blowing it.
6) Which colours to choose for the lines of colour?
There are no wrong answers here, but we recommend using complementary colours if you are starting out. This will create a cohesive and visually appealing painting perfect for beginners.
Contrasting colours are also interesting to look at and can create a more abstract feel. If you are looking for something different, then choose colours that have high contrast with each other.
An example of a good choice of colours is a white, light teal, dark teal, dark purple, light purple. Or pink, peachy orange, gold and white. There’s enough variation to create interest in these patterns, but not too much to make it messy!
Vibrant colours are always a good choice since they will stand out against the white background. So feel free to experiment and see what you like best. Always remember to choose a line of colours that will reflect the type of painting you want to create. EG: Space theme, add black, ocean theme, have a mix of blues.
7) Dutch Pour Technique Variations
There are different variations on how to achieve the Dutch pour painting. Here are the most common ones you can try:
The puddle pour is the most common and basic way to do a Dutch pour. To do this, start by adding a small pool of paint to the centre or corner part of the canvas. Once you have added the desired amount, use an air source to create the desired effect.
Strip or Line Pour
This variation is created by pouring each colour of paint on top of the other in long, straight lines. To do this, start by adding your lightest colour to the canvas and then pour each subsequent colour on top.
After the line of colours has been added, use an air source to create the desired effect. You can start blowing the middle part of the line and spread the colours outwards.
Ring or Round Pour
The ring or round pour is created by adding each colour of paint on top of each other creating a single circular form. To do this, start by adding your lightest colour to the centre of the canvas, and make sure that the middle part of the ring is empty.
Add the ring of colours in the same way as the strip or line pour, just layering one after another. After all the colours have been added, use an air source to create the desired effect.
Start from the outermost part of the ring and work your way to the middle. You also need to blow the outer part of the ring in order to spread the colours and design evenly.
8) What tool will you use to blow the paint in dutch pour painting?
There are different tools that you can use to blow the paint, and here are the most common ones:
- Hairdryer: One of the most common and readily available tools that you can use is a hairdryer. This will help create a soft and gentle effect on your painting. Though, if you are using a hair dryer, make sure it is set to the lowest setting so that you don’t blow the paint away.
- Compressed Air Can: A compressed air can is also a good tool to use since it can create a more focused and concentrated effect on your painting. This is ideal if you want to create a more detailed design.
- Straw: One of the most common tools that people use is a straw. You can use this to create different designs and effects on your painting mainly small and intricate ones. Just be careful of spit, this is where a machine can be a bit better.
Now that you know the common tools to use, let’s discuss how to use these tools to get the desired pattern.
9) How to direct the airflow to get the best patterns?
The best way to direct the airflow is to start from the centre of the painting and work your way out. Depending on the design you come up with, you might need to go back and forth to create the desired effect.
You can also use a straw to blow in a spiral motion or in a zig-zag pattern. Experiment with different techniques to see what effect you can achieve.
Another thing to keep in mind is the type of air source you are using. Be more careful when using a large air source as it can easily move the paint around and create a mess.
10) What cell additives to use in dutch pouring?
Cell additives are materials you can add to your paint to create different effects. The most common cell additive in acrylic pouring is silicone.
Adding a small amount of silicone (about 1-3 drops per cup of paint) will help to create larger cells. If you want to create smaller cells, you can add a bit more silicone to the mix.
Tips To Make Your First Dutch Painting A Success
One of the most important things to keep in mind when doing a Dutch Pour is to have patience. This will help you avoid making mistakes and ruining your painting.
Another thing to keep in mind is the ratio of paint to the pouring medium. Make sure that you mix these two ingredients well to avoid any lumps in your paint.
Lastly, have fun and experiment with different techniques and colour combinations. There is no right or wrong way to do a Dutch pour painting. So go ahead and create your own masterpiece!
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you need to do a Dutch pour?
The basic supplies you’ll need are canvas, acrylic paint, a pouring medium (floetrol, liquitex), cups, stir sticks, protective equipment and an air source (hair dryer, straw). Prepare this ahead of time so you can focus on being creative when you start painting.
What kind of paint for Dutch pour?
It’s important to use acrylic paints since this will help your painting last longer. Student acrylic paint is the most used paint by fluid art artists for it’s consistency and quality.
How long does it take for a Dutch pour to dry?
It usually takes about 24 hours for the paint to dry completely. But you can speed up the process by using a hairdryer or placing the painting in a well-ventilated area. If the layer of your paint is too thick it might also takes 48 to 72 hours to dry.