An Acrylic Pouring Beginning

For as long as I can remember, I have been crafting.  

When I was six years old, the woman who lived next door to me introduced me to working with resin, crochet, and knitting. The woman who lived on the other side of her, introduced me to sewing. In third grade, we were blessed to have a teacher that was very crafty, and had us doing every conceivable art within the scope of third grade, even to the extent of having us use knives to carve apples!   

By middle school, I was taking every available craft, art, and photography class, all the way through high school when I even took wood shop classes. Well into adulthood, I continued to learn new handicrafts, and to teach them to others. 

One day, back in 2017, Marsha, the woman who owns www.seamofmypants.com  (you can read some of my other articles there) challenged me to learn an art/craft I had never before attempted.  

Honestly, I could not find one… until acrylic pouring.  

Supplies I Used: 

For several months now, I’ve been watching YouTube videos on acrylic pours and am fascinated and appalled all at the same time. How can someone waste paint like that?? It’s a precious commodity! 

But….nonetheless, challenge accepted!  

The one art form that I have never attempted, has begun.

No matter the topic, I tend to be an “all or nothing” person, always avoiding it completely, or giving 110% to my passions, which when it comes to crafts, usually empties my wallet! 

As an example, last winter was unusually cold in my normally sunny Southern California which left normal sewing routine on hold as it was just too cold in the house, and if I run the heater enough to be comfortable sewing, I can’t use that money to buy craft supplies! That’s a “no-brainer”! So, I decided I could crochet whilst hiding under the covers of my bed with a cozy homemade microwave rice bag wrapped around my toes!  Thus off to the craft cabinet I trod to pull out some crochet hooks and yarn. A quick internet search for patterns and four hours later I had a pretty darn good looking winter cap finished. I was hooked, let the compulsion begin! Nine trips to the craft store and a few hundred dollars later kept my fingers flying all winter. 110% remember? 

So when I decided to pour paint on canvas and run off the, canvas, gulp I promised myself I would not drain the checking account!

The decision was made, the necessary supplies would be sourced at the dollar store, supplemented by what I had on hand and what treasures I could find at the local recycling centers “free” paint supply shed, then I was ready to make art

(Just a quick word about the dollar store. It is not cheaper! It is not a good value for your money. What it does is give one a way to get a few things for a few dollars, without breaking the bank. As an illustration, the poster paint comes with four colors in four three-quarter ounce vials in one pack for $1.00 but it’s inferior paint. At the craft store, a two ounce vial of one color can cost upwards of $1.00. So, you only get one color for $1, but it is better paint. To get four colors of better quality paint, it would cost ~$4.00. If this is something that will go beyond one day of playing, please opt for the quality and spend the bit extra.)  

The craft budget I allowed for was only $20, so my best option was the dollar store. This was just a test of the waters to see if I enjoyed this mess making operation, or if the waste was beyond my frugal sensibility.

Trays to catch the paint, bottles for the mixed paint, Mod Podge, clear cups for pouring, Small Canvas, Stir sticks and of course paint. 

From the recycle store, I was able to obtain a bottle with a small portion of Floetrol, and a sample of gray paint. These were actually free, it is just required that you give all personal information so they know you aren’t going to use it to create graffiti!

The old house paint supply cabinet was both disappointing and fruitful.

Several of the cans were just beyond saving, but one can of red paint, one can of white paint and one tube of purple tint were salvageable! 

Also, around the house I found gloves, a flame thrower (don’t know a better name for it, it belongs to hubby and it throws quite a flame for a tiny hand held butane powered lighter!) and a bottle of “Rain-x” which I decided to use for the water displacement to make cells. Yeah, I’m kind of a nerd, and I really like to find out the “how does that work”  and it turns out that the cells are a reaction between the water in the acrylic paint and the chemical that displaces water. Y’all remember from science class “water and oil don’t mix”?

The supplies were ready, the ideas were flowing, all I needed was time!

Push pins were added to the wood frame of the canvas to raise it off the tray, and I added a bit of water to the surface to check for level. If the water ran off, the push pins could be adjusted to make it level, but I lucked out and it was level on the first try.

The gray paint, didn’t make a good base for the purple, so I choose not to use it at all this time. And the decision was made to use the Mod Podge instead of the Floetrol

Using the white paint as a base for the purple tint, and the on hand red paint, I did a little test to see how the colors would blend, and I really didn’t like the tones. 

So, I used the green poster paint, mixed with the white house paint. And after a test, really liked the tonality of the green with the purple. 

first pour tray setup with paint mixed in cups

Absolutely nothing was measured, but it was suggested several times on YouTube, 1/3 water to 2/3 Mod Podge and then 1/3 Mod Podge/water mix to 2/3 paint, so I tried to follow that example.  

White paint, with alternating layers of purple and green. Several people suggested the light paint should go on the bottom of the cup, as the pigment in the darker colors tends to have a higher specific gravity and therefore sinks to the bottom. Sounds good to me!

Purple green and white paint mixed in a single cup for acrylic pouring

Wait! I forgot the Rain-X, yikes!

Okay, a few drops added to the top of the cup, I hope that’s gonna work! 

Canvas on top of mixed paint cup to prep for flip cup

Tiny amount of paint in the bottom of the cup for a tiny canvas! 

This is where it would be awesome to have a video!  Ready, Set….

acrylic pour cup flipped onto canvas

flip!

Tilting purple green and white paint on acrylic pour canvas

Tilt…

Tilting purple green and white paint on acrylic pour canvas

Tilt the other way…

paint flowing over canvas acrylic pouring

More tilting… Ugh, don’t let the paint run off! I know, I know, let it go! Be free!

Paint covering canvas tilting acrylic pouring

There is something very satisfying about watching the colors meld and move and create something beyond even my extremely creative boundaries! 

Using torch to bring out cells of acrylic pour

Adding some heat to get those cells to pop!

Final painting with supplies acrylic pouring

Uh-oh! It looks like there wasn’t quite enough water displacement chemical!  So, sad, very few cells.

Final first acrylic pour

Overall, I’m very happy with the finished product. Looks like a rocket ship flying through a nebula

Next, I’m gonna use that gray paint, with the black poster paint, and the white house paint. Just need to find a contrast color. Any Suggestions? 

Thanks for joining me on my journey to explore the “never before attempted” art/craft project!

God Bless!

Comments

  1. Use the red paint with the gray, white and black colors! Here in Ohio those are OSU Buckeye colors. Thanks for the tutorial! I too have been watching and learning from afar. I haven’t tried it yet- I hate the thought of wasting them as they pour off. I had a thought though when you spoke of putting water in the tray. If you keep the water in the tray, I wonder if the paint will float on top of the water and perhaps you could dip an additional canvas? I might just have to try it!

    1. If you let the run off go on to freezer paper. It will pull off easy. You can then use it to cover thing and does not make it a waste. The run off is very close to your pour.
      I have a wall were I am sticking it for future use/for some thing or another.

    2. Ohhhhh Denise,
      Those are great ideas!
      Not only do I have family that love those Buckeyes, and
      that would make an awesome gift, but you also just gave
      me a great idea for another article!
      Thank you!

    3. Libby,
      Your idea for the freezer paper is Fantastic!
      Watch for it in future articles!
      Sticking it on the wall sounds like wallpaper,
      er um well paint, but you know what I mean! LOL

    4. The run off can be on any type of plastic. Let dry and pull off. These are “skins”. Sorry, Rochell, more $$, but you can make jewelry rom the skins. I do pendants and earrings, which are for sale. You can order the bezels and cabochons online.

      Here’s one “how to” on you tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFkP57Vwr60

      Welcome to your new addiction :~)

  2. Hi Rochelle!

    Wonderful living through that experience with you. I have never done arts and crafts – I was more into music – and at age 74+ am giving pour painting some serious thought.

    Yes it would have been nice to have a video but you did a great job setting things up as you did. The important part is that you gave it a try, it turned out remarkably well and that we all have a chance to share that wee part of your journey.

    I hope that you feel called to continue this kind of art – and thanks for giving me a
    nudge towards trying it myself!

    All the best,

    Claudette
    Ottawa, Canada

    1. There are many videos on YouTube that show you how to do different types of pours, how to mix paints, and generally what fun it is. Good luck, and I hope you come to love it!

    2. Claudette! Ça vaut la peine d’essayer! Je viens juste de commencer a faire du pouring et j’aime bien ça! Je ne suis pas artiste mais j’aime bien tenter ma chance! Je suis contentes de mes réalisations à date! Bon chance dans cette nouvelle aventure!

    3. Hi Claudette!
      Your comments truly warm my heart!
      Thank you so much! What a blessing!

      Here’s a bigger nudge!
      Give it a go! You can do it!

      Kind Regards,
      Rochelle

  3. Rochelle, try the grey, black and whit without another colour…I ‘ve sen it done and it looks good.

    Regardless have fun.

  4. Check out Walmart for paints. Lots of colors in 2 ounce bottles for $.50. Also went to Hobby Lobby for canvases that were on sale. I am just starting in the pouring hobby life and try to keep the costs down as much as possible. Thanks for the fun lesson.

    1. Katherine,
      Going to Walmart, and Hobby Lobby, that’s a great idea!
      Ut oh, I feel the checkbook draining already, and I
      Haven’t left the house! LOL
      You are very welcome for the fun lesson, I’m so
      glad you enjoyed it!

  5. My life story is similar to the ones above so we will skip that part. I got a little carried away w buying supplies. I look at it as entertainment expense. Most of it costs less than dinner out. At the Dollar Store, a shower curtain liner to cover the table and box of cheap plastic picnic knives for stirrers. Form aluminum foil into what ever size tray you want. Keep a wet rag handy and laugh at your mistakes. First booboo was mistaking white paint for the Elmer’s glue when adding the medium and couldn’t understand why the color was getting lighter as they are the same size bottle. I keep the mixed paints in squeeze bottles and if there is any left, they keep well for another day of playing.

    1. Harlyn,
      You are correct! It’s so easy to get carried away!!!!

      Now that you mention it, there IS an entertainment line in my budget…
      just wondering if hubby will fall for it? LOL 😉

      The wet rag and laughing are already quite experienced
      here, as I did a pour yesterday, and was tilting it, when POW
      it fell out of my hand and landed on my arm!! Too bad I couldn’t
      keep the image from my arm, it was actually quite lovely! LOL

      Thanks for your support!

  6. Great painting and welcome to the very addictive world of pour painting! I have been pouring for about a year and a half and already have at least 100 paintings made. So much fun and each one is different even though I can use the same colors and technique. You never know what is going to turn up when you tilt.

    As far as the worry about wasting paint I don’t know if you’ve heard of acrylic skins but you can let the excess dry on a peel off surface (I use a palette that is specifically for releasing the paint) and then make mini pour painting pendants. I pour my original painting on a plastic lid (like the ones from a storage container) and then after I pour I use a palette knife to scoop the excess and put on the palette. You can get creative with this as well depending on what colors you have left. You let it dry for a few days and then it’s ready to be used for pendents. There are many tutorials on You Tube that show you how to do this. The supplies are reasonable on Amazon you can get lots of sizes with the metal back and glass cabochon and you just need to use glue to hold it together.

    And if you use the cheaper paint it’s really not a lot of cost even if you don’t use the extra. Buying in larger sizes will work once you decide you like it. Hobby Lobby often has their house brands on sale for half off so you can get 8 or 16 oz paints pretty inexpensively.

    Finally enjoy your new found craft and welcome to the clan!

    1. Thank you Marcia for the warm welcome!

      What are your plans for the 100 paintings?
      That was one of the concerns that held me
      back from even trying! Living in a small
      home with more doors than walls, doesn’t
      exactly make for an art gallery LOL

      OHHHHH lead me not into temptation of
      yet another craft! The Pendants sound
      awesome, but gaaaaaaa
      can’t…
      escape…
      craft…
      addiction!
      LOL

      Cordially,
      your craft sister. 🙂

  7. Dee Anderson: I enjoyed being on your journey with paints and gathering of supplies, Your creation was great. I am 74 and started this incredible journey for an emotional outlet and it has been one of the greatest journey’s I have ever experienced. Ever changing and exciting as one wait’s and anticipates what is going to turn up on the canvas. I truly am addicted to this style of art. Now I have to figure out how to sell it, which is the part that I am very weak in. I truly need help, mentoring in this realm. Continue being creative!

    1. Hi Darlene,
      Glad you are here with me!
      Thank you for the kind words.

      Hadn’t ever thought of crafts/arts
      as an emotional outlet, but truly
      it is! It is wonderful that you have
      found this journey and are enjoying
      it so much!

      As I mentioned in another reply
      maybe I can write an article about
      how to figure out pricing!

      Sincerely,
      Rochelle

  8. Now I know why you haven’t been around in the sewing groups. You’ve been stepping out on us.
    Well, consider this fair warning. If I start buying acrylic pouring supplies, it’s coming out of your frugal budget, Missy!

    I’m so surprised you remember that challenge. But then again, you do have the memory of an elephant to match the horseshoe at the other end.

    1. Hi Marsha!
      Guilty as charged! I’ve found a new love!

      I double dog dare you to start acrylic pouring,
      not just buying supplies, LOL

      But… please don’t allow the kitties
      to lie on your projects!!
      That could get a whole lot messier than
      than allowing them to lie on your fabric!!!

      Cheers!

    1. Hi Cynthia,
      From the website:
      Mod Podge ® is an all in one decoupage glue, sealer and finish.

      Mod Podge ® is quick-drying for multiple coat build up and dries clear. Can be sanded to a smooth finish. Cleans up easily while wet with soap and water. Certified AP non-toxic; waterbase.

      From what I’ve picked up watching the YouTube videos, it’s a PVA glue:
      (Polyvinyl acetate)
      Description: Polyvinyl acetate is an aliphatic rubbery synthetic polymer with the formula ₙ. It belongs to the polyvinyl esters family, with the general formula -[RCOOCHCH₂]-. It is a type of thermoplastic. Source: Wikipedia

      From what some of the other artists were saying any PVA glue will work, including Emers “Glue All” but not school glue.

      Hope that answers your question!

  9. What sort of price could I ask for, for a 8″ x 10′ art pouring canvas Please? I live in Scotland

    1. Hi Patricia,
      That is an excellent question!
      If I could sell the artwork, I could
      buy more supplies!
      Maybe I can write an article about how to
      figure out pricing!
      Thanks for the idea!

  10. I too have been studying it on U-Tube. Loving what I saw. I found a class and took it. As I flipped my first “Dirty Cup” not even realizing I was in a class (I’m in my own world when ever I’m doing art. I’m a potter, lousy painter,LOVE Alcohol ink and I’m nuts about encaustics) I got so excited I just yelled I LOVE THIS!!!!!!just as loud as I would yell seeing my son running towards a goal line in pee wee football. Then I sheepishly looked around the class. I was hooked!!!!! No turning back That’s it I’m waiting to get some money together to buy some stuff to continue. Thanks for letting me give my in put to this fun way to escape life’s wear and tear on your mind and body.

  11. Do you find ModPodge better than Floetrol? I have been using a Floetrol/water/GlueAll mis, but would like to step out and try something else.

    1. Hi Laura,
      As of today, I have only tried the Mod Podge.
      But I’ll be more than happy to write about
      the differences once I do try them.
      Thanks for asking!

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