Acrylic Pouring With Floetrol

So, What Exactly Is Floetrol?

Floetrol is a medium. For those who aren’t familiar with paints and additives, a medium is something you add to your acrylic paints to make them easier to work with and to make them behave the way you want them to in your applications. Usually, the medium makes paint behave as if it’s been thinned, without you thinning it.

What does that mean, you ask? When you thin with water, you make paints runnier and easier to work with. However, by adding the water, you sacrifice the integrity of the paint so that the color is lessened and the acrylics lose their hold on your canvas.

That’s why we don’t recommend using more than a little water in your mixes (if any). A high-quality medium will give you the movement and longer drying time of thinned paint, but without losing any depth of color or hold.

Floetrol is generally used in house painting (that’s why it’s so cheap!). It’s often used for spraying paint since it makes paint smoother, more consistent, and less viscous. It’s also something that is frequently used when colors are mixed since it helps paint to keep a perfect consistency throughout.

All those characteristics make it ideal for acrylic pouring!

By improving both flow and leveling, Floetrol makes paint easier to work with. You can get those large cells more easily, even without an additional additive like silicone. And by improving flow, it makes pouring that much more interesting.

Flow improvement also helps the paint adhere to canvas more readily. That increases the staining properties of your materials, and it also slows down drying. The longer your paints take to dry, the more you can tweak and finesse your pours!

Perhaps most important, keeping the consistency of the paint even gives your pieces much longer lives. You won’t have to worry about colors separating or the finished piece drying to look different than the fresh, wet pour.

We’ve found in our experiments that Floetrol is also great for working with silicone since it helps to self-level any craters that might form on the surface. Of course, it won’t be able to help you if you use too much paint in the first place! Simply put, it plays nicely with other products, making it very versatile.

Do You Have to Use Floetrol, or Can You Use Another Brand’s Medium?

We actually recommend a few different mediums to new pourers. Some folks also have a preference for another brand, and so they don’t end up using Floetrol at all. Still, we think Floetrol is the best all-around medium on the market.

Why work with Floetrol in particular? For one thing, because it’s manufactured for large-scale use, it tends to be much less expensive than additives that are specifically formulated for crafters and artists. And functionally, it’s just as good to work with.

While it can seem important to stick with the arts and crafts brands when you’re starting out, most of us experienced pourers will search around to find the best balance of performance and price. Hence using Floetrol over some of the “art” brands!

If you eventually try some other mediums and find that one works better for you than Floetrol, that’s perfectly fine. As you’ll see if you check out various acrylic pouring blogs and YouTube channels, everyone has their tools of choice.

For every artist who swears by Floetrol, another is a diehard Liquitex fan! The key thing is to know how to use a medium to improve your results and to find one that works well in your own creative process.

Should I Use Another Medium in Addition?

When we recommend supplies for beginners, we usually recommend Floetrol and a Liquitex medium for the best results. That’s because most of us will use two or three different mediums and additives in each pour.

If you’re on a budget, though, or can’t be bothered, Floetrol covers all the basics by itself. As an expert pourer, you can certainly appreciate the combination of Liquitex and Floetrol. But when you’re starting out, the Floetrol by itself is functionally the same. As you become more experienced and start to tweak your formulas, you may find that you want to add something else to the mix.

If you’re comparing a few different products, it’s worth knowing that mediums come in a few different varieties:

Oil-based
All-purpose
Latex-based (what you want for acrylic pouring)

We like Floetrol because it does everything well! It binds to the paint for the perfect consistency. It doesn’t change the color or finish characteristics. It only tweaks how the paint flows and moves, so it won’t affect aging. In fact, its excellent aging integrity is a big difference between Floetrol and some other additives.

How to Use Floetrol

Floetrol is generally mixed with paints at a ratio somewhere between 20 and 50 percent. That’s quite a range, but we provide it as a general guideline since your ratios will vary slightly with each pour and each paint mixture.

When you start using Floetrol, you can try a few variations and see what feels best to you. Even among advanced pourers and experienced artists, folks use it quite differently.

Here’s a sample recipe to try, courtesy of Danny Clark’s awesome YouTube channel:

Floetrol (2 parts)
Distilled water (1 part; hard water and tap water with mineral content will act differently and change the way paint floats, so stick with distilled!)
Silicone (a few drops)
Acrylic paint (1 part)

You can find a walk-through demonstration of this recipe in the video below. It also has some additional tips you may find helpful.

After being told in high school that she was so bad at art that she should switch to another subject, Deby didn’t paint again for 35 years. Then a stroke released a new wave of creativity and she began exploring with dot painting, abstract and eventually acrylic pouring, and at last the joy of working with color returned.

You don’t need ‘talent’ to be an acrylic pouring artist – just enthusiasm, some basic instruction, and a willingness to try, fail and try again. Paint along with her and learn from her many mistakes, and you’ll soon make great art together.

Comments

  1. I’ve just started doing pours, and because I didn’t have the proper supplies my work didn’t get the large cells I wanted! I’m really excited to produce better pours now that I’ve gotten better educated by watching this video!!

  2. Hello,
    Which type of Floetrol and which type of Elmer’s glue do you use in your pours? There are multiple versions of each, and I can’t figure out which ones to buy.
    BTW: I love your videos and your pour results. Thanks for the recipes, too!
    -Jan

    1. Hi Deby,
      Thank you very much for this information! I’ve been using a different variety of Floetrol, and wonder if that’s the reason why my ‘pours’ haven’t been working very well.
      I’m ordering this right now, along with the Elmer’s Glue-All, so I will at least have the same products.
      Thanks again,
      -Jan

  3. can I use the silicon seal that is used for stone tiles? How much would i use?
    added this twice, forgot to add notify me on the bottom and submitted it.

    1. Hi Barb, no that is not the same thing at all. That is more like a silicone rubber but you need a silicone oil. The treadmill belt lubricant is a firm favorite with most painters, but you can use any of the oil based products we have in the store here.

  4. Confused about which flood floetrol to get they all have same numbers and added different at the end. So I called Flood Co. and was told all flood floetrol is the same.

    1. Yes they are all the same. Don’t worry about the different packaging, different colored bottles etc. They have changed up their packaging recently but the product inside is the same.

    1. There is nothing that is absolutely safe for everyone to use. People have so many unusual sensitivities these days. Even paint can cause irritation, skin problems and breathing problems for some people. I suggest contacting the manufacturer for details of ingredients and potential hazards, and get all participants in any craft activity to sign a liability waiver.

  5. hi! would WD-40 silicone lubricant work? and when do i add the silicone to a pour?

    do i add it to each color or the final cup prior to pouring?

    thank you!

    1. It can work in a pinch, but its slightly yellowing and does have other chemical ingredients. I suggest investing in treadmill lubricant instead. You can get it in the UK here. Best to add a drop or two to each color as you mix them, and before pouring.

  6. Thank you for sharing this info, very informative. I have a question about other flow mediums such as
    Liquitex Professional Pouring Effects, Golden Acrylic Polymer GAC-800 and some people use RainX. Do these help in the creating different effects on cells? Are they used in combination with Flood floetrol?

    Thank you.

    1. Floetrol, pouring medium and GAC800 would all be used to thin the paints without weakening them by adding too much water. Those don’t make cells by themselves. Rainx would be one of the additives you might want to use to try to create cells. I have a couple of useful tables for you. This first one is possible pouring mediums, and this second one is for additives to make cells.

  7. Have you ever had problems with the paint not sticking to the sides of the canvas? I did my first acrylic pour with floetrol on a cheap Walmart canvas that I had started a scenery painting that I didn’t like. So it already has several coats of paint. It turned out great. Bought some new canvas that are triple primed. Little better quality. I assumed since it was triple primed no need to coat it. Did my pour and the paint basically slid off the sides and did not stick at all. It almost look like I poured extremely watered down paint on the sides. So I did another one but this time put a coat of paint on before hand and let it dry. Still had the same issue. Do you think it is an issue with the canvas or do I need to put multiple coats on before I do the pour? Again I did not have this issue with the very first one I did.

    1. I totally agree. I just did a painting on an economy canvas. Two of the sides were perfect, on the other two sides, the paint just would NOT stick. The paint was the same so the only difference was there must have been some sort of oil or coating on those two sides than stopped the paint from sticking. I had to baby sit it for an hour, picking up the spill and repainting those two sides until it would stick. Very disappointing and I’m not entirely sure what caused it.

    2. can you save some of the paints that I had mixed with the Floetrol and did not use? If so, how long can you save them?

    3. Sure you can. The ones in the small lidded pots I generally keep about a month and then use up all the little bits and pieces in a leftovers pour. The paints in the squeeze bottles last for ages. Some have been mixed up in there for months. A quick shake and they are good to use again. These are the bottles I like to use.

  8. I’m new to this acrylic pouring…..I was under the empression that I could use PVA glue and a little water to thin the paint and the a couple of sprays of WD40 to get the required cells……would this work Deb?……I don’t have a lot of money to splurge……☹️

    1. Yes that’s one of the many recipes you can use. Everyone has their favorite and paints according to their budget

  9. Thank you Deb……I love the exciting unknown aspect of pouring…..eact one is different……can’t wait to begin…..have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year…….?????

  10. How does the amount of silicone affect the cells? The above video, he used ten drops in two colors and five drops in the other two. However, I didn’t see a dramatic difference. In fact, you can barely see the gold color and the pink was all over the place as was the aqua/teal. Is the pour order more important then, than the amount of silicone?

    1. I honestly don’t think adding silicone more to one color than another is likely to affect how the colors behave. Its more about their density and how you layer them in the cup, as you mention. But it can be interesting to experiment and give it a try. What if you had 4 colors. In one test, add silicone equally to all the colors. In the other test, add add the silicone to one of the colors and not the others. That would be a pretty dramatic difference. Then flip both cups and see what happens.

  11. What kind of panels do you use?? Where do you purchase them? I like the panel better than the canvas because of the paint slipping off the sides

    1. I don’t personally recommend using the canvas panels with pouring because of the likelihood that they will warp under the dampness of the acrylic paint as it dries. Then your painting moves and any design is ruined. They are OK for practice and testing, but its very disappointing to do a nice pour and then find it goes all out of shape. If you prefer a shallow profile, perhaps a thin wooden panel would work for you – no warping.

    2. I like to paint the side black. It gives the impression of a frame. Also Ampersand sells really nice 12 x 12 frames the look nice on the 12 x 12’s

  12. Thank YOU!!!! I have tried so many other videos without success. But yours worked like a charm. I love how you weighed the floetrol and paints and water, instead of doing wet measurements. First one of mine needs a bit of tweaking because I used a really small board, but that is only a question of cutting down amounts for that size. I am just happy as can be. I am a CGI artist and the difference between it and wet mediums is so different. Thanks again!!!

  13. What about crazing and cracking? Is there a specific recipe that helps this from happening. I’ve tried numerous ones and am still getting crazing on canvas and on tiles.

  14. I love all the helpful info you provide, Thank you so much. I don’t use silicone because of air travel, but I have tried Elvive Hair Oil and so far, so good, though the cells are smallish. I am having so much fun but haven’t yet found a good sealant for tiles (I hesitate to use resin because I don’t have an outdoor space)

  15. Hi Debbie, I have found that mixing Floetrol with metallic paints makes the paint extremely thick, so am adding a lot of water just to get a honey consistency. The golds are bad, so is silver, doesn’t matter what medium I use, whether it is liquitex or floetrol. I also use water with tube paint and bottle paint, likeFolk Art, Deco Art, etc. the only color I have used that does not need water is artists loft neon green in the bottle. Just medium and paint. Works great. Also, Liquitex is a lot harder to clean off of your hands after a pour, while Floetrol is very easy. I will say that I have to open windows in my studio while working with any type of medium or I get very dizzy and lightheaded. But I do it every day 2-4 hours, may need to cut back just a little!!

    Cheers!
    Margaret

    1. Hi Margaret,

      It sounds like you’re using some heavy paints in your art studio. Would love to see some of your paintings! In any case, yes, it makes sense that the fumes are difficult to withstand. I would definitely recommend wearing a painter’s mask and tempering the time spent per day if that’s the case. Safety first!

    1. ¡Hola! ¡Ahora tenemos nuestro ebook en español! Si compra nuestro libro electrónico, le enviaré la versión en español.

  16. I found that if you use 2 coats of primer even on “preprimed” canvas it works way better and doesn’t look weird like that

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