Household Materials for Pouring in a Pinch

Let’s face it, this hobby can get expensive in a hurry. All of these fancy additives for a silky finish and the silicones that boast the best cells in all the land—you want them, but sometimes it’s just not in the budget or all that easy to find without some online shopping. Maybe you’ve run out of floetrol and it’s 10pm but you just need to pour. Well, have no fear, there are a few things you can use as substitutes for those additives that can be found in your own home!



WD-40 is something nearly any household has, it’s a product that most people seem to buy once and the can lasts them for a good long while. It’s cheap and available at just about any store that has a hardware department, no matter how small. Just make sure you read the label first to make sure it does have silicone in it, otherwise it won’t achieve its intended purpose as an additive for cell promotion.

Elmer’s glue


If you ever find yourself low on or out of floetrol give Elmer’s glue a try. Obviously, you need to add water to thin your paint for a pour, that’s the name of the game, but you’ve got to make sure you have something in there that keeps the paint sticky. I don’t necessarily mean consistency wise, I mean when it comes to sticking to your canvas. Elmber’s glue helps the paint bond to the canvas while keeping the colors of your paint rich.



You might be a little less likely to have this product in your house, but it’s worth a shot. Rainx is a spray people use on their cars to keep rain from leaving those annoying water drop stains after a storm—it also promotes cells in pours.

Rubbing alcohol


Believe it or not rubbing alcohol can be used to get some cells in your pour. Alcohol can kind of be seen as a two-in-one, it helps thin things out while also creating cell potential. Keep in mind, it’s a little hit or miss with rubbing alcohol, I’ve found that it depends on your ratios in the mixing cup as well as the colors you’re using and torching.

Hair products


This one is probably more likely to be in the bathroom of any long haired lady (or man with good grooming habits). Some people swear by using a few drops of some hair oil in their paints to get cells to explode on their canvas rather than a treadmill lubricant or some other silicone product. Make sure the product you’re using has dimethicone as an active ingredient, that’s the key to cells.

Please share any success stories you’ve had with these products, we’d love to see them. And let us know if you’ve tried any household objects that knocked your socks off as a quick fix or replacement for the real deal!

12 thoughts on “Household Materials for Pouring in a Pinch”

  1. All of this is random. Too many of us want exact directions, ratios, methods and a pattern to follow. I’d say more than half of the creative process is in selecting your mediums. Take pleasure in the process of execution and the product could end up being something you want to look at more than once.

    1. Hi Kristen, I hope I can help you as I didn’t see that anyone else replied back to you. I am still learning but what works for me is this formula: use a food scale that has grams, put your cup on it then zero it out (the scale) you want 2 parts of Floetrol which equals 40 grams, then you get the paint you want to use and zero out your scale again now you want 1 part of paint which equals 20 grams, zero out your scale again you want 1 part of water which equals to 20 grams of water. But the water part is tricky you might not need all that so before adding the water I always stir my first 2 very well and with your stirring stick if your liquid flows off your stick easy just add a couple of drops..* Also on the floetrol you need to strain it first as it has clumps of junk in it. Good luck

    2. Exactly right! Take pleasure in the process of execution, this pouring mediums info was not passed down from ancient Sumerian nobles, No it was regular people trying new things and were able to find what works great for them…And that is what art is all about TRiAL and perfection in the eyes of the beholder. Following exact, specific directions is not the path that Picasso took to find his own style. He experimented with things until he was happy with the end result… Take these “Random” suggestions, and run with it. Use a little, then use a lot, but keep track of the exact amounts of whatever medium you use. So you can repeat the same measurements to get that same result. But with any art you do, come up with your own paths to travel down, The product might end up being something that you want to look at more than once… Good luck! And happy pouring!

  2. Good to know about and I have 4 out of 5 of these products at home too! 😁 I’ll let you know if I get desperate enough to use any of them. Thank you for sharing PS Koz.

  3. Gee, I’d be leery about using a torch on rubbing alcohol! You’d better have a fire extinguisher handy.

    1. Jennifer Williams

      I was wondering the same thing, about the torching with alcohol and I have been nervous to try it with WD40 too. I have been spraying the canvas with wd40 after I poured the paint, am I supposed to spray it in the paint beforehand?

  4. Margarete E brandenburg

    Make sure that you realize a pump of the hair serum = about 10 drops of silicone oil. Sometimes helps to put a couple or more pumps into a small dropper bottle first and then measure it out.

  5. Shushana Caplan

    I’m not such a precise person. I try for a consistency of sour cream not Greek yogurt. I’ve used Elmer’s glue and Floetrol, both successfully. But I like the latter better and that’s the bottom line. Try it and see if you like it. Measure if that makes you more comfortable. This whole process is not so exacting and demanding as some make it out to be, in my opinion.

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