I fancied revisiting a the dutch pour technique (or air blowing technique) I had used some time back, when I blew through a straw to create ‘flames’ in red-orange and yellow against a black background. In this guide I’ll cover more detail on what a dutch pour is, how to do a dutch pour, and a few tips for making stunning dutch pours.
What is a Dutch Pour?
A dutch pour is an acrylic pouring technique that uses air to manipulate the paints on a canvas. You can use a hair dryer, straw and lungs, or anything that blows air to make a dutch pour. Dutch pours are known for the ribbon like edges and cell lacing that can be achieved using the technique.
How to Mix Paint for A Dutch Pour
Dutch pours are one of the harder techniques to mix paints for because your mix will depend a lot on the final look you’re going for.
For this tutorial I didn’t change my typical ratio of 1 part paint (using craft brands like Sargeant art, Blick Student, Apple Barrel), 1/2 part Floetrol, and a little water until the consistency is like warm honey. Then I’d add 3-4 drops of silicone oil in about half the colors.
For more ribbon like dutch pours you’ll want to make your paints a little thinner. Add a little more water to your mix than you would normally and experiment to find the exact look your trying to get.
How to Do A Dutch Pour
There’s a lot of different ways you can do a dutch pour to get different looks and styles. I’ve tried to give you a few options in the steps below so you can decide what way you’d prefer to make your dutch pour so always keep in mind the end result you’re looking for.
- Mix your paint colors as described above
- Pour your negative space color (usually white or black) onto the surface and cover in a thin layer
- Pop any air bubbles in the negative space (you can use a torch for this)
- Pour paint colors onto your canvas or other surface. This can be a simple circle in the center, or a line that’s straight or curves. Remember that the paint will be spreading out from the air, so make sure it’s far enough from the edge to create the full effect. Usually you pour each color on top of the other.
- Depending on the look you want you can either start blowing the colors out now, or you can blow your negative space color in first. Many will use a blow dryer or some compressed air for this.
- Fine tune the pour using a straw or compressed air can. This is to add the exact detail with more control over the air flow.
What To Use for Air in A Dutch Pour: Straw, Blow Dryer, Compressed Air
Straws and Breath in Dutch Pours
You can simply blow on a dutch pour to spread the paint with just your mouth. However, I like to use a straw for precision although this will likely result in a little bit of saliva ending up on your painting. Oh well!
Using an Air Compressor
Air compressors are great because you can air pressure. They never run out of air like a can of air, and won’t exhaust your lungs like blowing will. They also have a large range of pressure that a blow dryer wouldn’t have, and can be much more focused streams of air than a blow dryer. They are a more expensive option, but there are some under $50 that are small and portable that would be perfect.
Blow Dryer for Dutch Pours
This readily available tool is great because it is cost efficient and isn’t super noisy. You’ll want to make sure you have the “flat head” attachments for your blow dryer for dutch pours (see link below). The only downfall of a blowdryer is that sometimes, dust can travel through the dryer into your painting. Make sure that your dryer’s filter is clean and free of hair and debris before you use it on a painting!
You can also use canned or propelled air to manipulate your paint. Most cans have a super focused nozzle, so you can create some really intriguing patterns and flows this way. Canned air can be really powerful and since it’s so focused it can clear your paint right off the canvas. Try holding the can at least six inches away from your paint to keep it under control.
Dutch Pour Recipe
Supplies I used:
- 1 part paint (sargeant art, apple barrel)
- 1/2 part Floetrol
- Water as needed
- 3-4 drops silicone oil (in about half the colors)
- 1 6×6″ tile
For this dutch pour I’ve outlined the specific steps I took to make this painting.
- Mixed paints, each color separately
- Poured colored paints in the center, one on top of the other
- Poured negative space color (white) around the center colors. Made sure the white ended up touching the center colors
- Blew using a straw from the center outward. Since this is a small tile I didn’t want to over-blow with something like a hair dryer.
I felt the end result was really striking. I thought it would be a nice way to create some movement and flow in the paints, while also preserving some negative space in white around the edges. You just can’t easily get this sort of look with a dirty pour or a flip cup or any of the other acrylic pouring techniques.
The straw allows you a certain degree of precision when it comes to moving the paint. I started with a puddle pour in the center and layered up paints in cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, white, a metallic teal and a bright green I mixed myself from emerald green and chrome yellow. A circle of white around the outside gave me the negative space to blow into. See how I did it in the video above.
I think really I had too much color because I ended up with less white negative space than I had intended, but wow, I still love it! So much so that I made a bigger one along with a step by step video: Pouring and Blowing My Largest Painting So Far
FAQ about Dutch Pour Painting Technique
1) What paint is best for Dutch pours?
The best paint for Dutch pours is typically fluid acrylic paint, which has a thinner consistency and is easier to manipulate for this technique. Some popular brands include Liquitex, Golden, and DecoArt. It’s also important to use a pouring medium to help the paint flow smoothly and evenly.
2) Can you do a Dutch pour with just paint and water?
Yes, you can do a Dutch pour with just paint and water. The technique involves mixing your paint with water to create a more fluid consistency, which allows the colors to blend and flow together in a unique pattern. However, some artists also use additional mediums like silicone oil or pouring medium to enhance the effects of the pour.
3) Why is it called Dutch pour?
The term “Dutch pour” comes from the technique’s origins in the Netherlands, where it was first used in the 1960s. The Dutch pour involves pouring multiple colors of paint onto a canvas and then tilting the canvas to create a unique and abstract design.
As usual, check out the slideshow below for lots more pictures, both wet and dry, and close-ups of the details.
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.
41 thoughts on “Dutch Pour Painting Technique: Recipe and How To Guide”
I really enjoyed watching this video. You make it seem so easy to create something that is beautiful and unique. Thank you.
Love your site! Just wondering if you (or anyone) has tried this with Daler-Rowney liquid acrylics. Their colors are so beautiful.
I have used Daler Rowney, and they’re fabulous. So many gorgeous colors.
I truly enjoy the colors you used. The painting is striking. It has inspired me to try this technique.
I really loved this video; it’s inspired me to try your blowing technique. Blues and greens it is for my first shot!
I’m so enjoying your wonderfully messy blogs° you are an inspiration! Thank you.
Love the Blowing the Blues technique! Definitely going to try this…thanks for sharing.
I can’t wait to try some pours. You are a great instructor!
Thanks so much Susan, I am glad you are feeling inspired
Is the floetrol in all the colors including the white?
Yes I used Floetrol in all the paints, white included.
What did you use for your varnish over the painted tile?
I use Polycrylic. It’s my favorite – I wrote an article about it here.
I didn’t see info on what you used on ceramic tiles to make them waterproof I clicked on the site but didn’t see it. LOVE your site
Thanks Debby. Do you mean after the paint has been dried? I use the Polycrylic varnish – I wrote about it here. It will make them water resistant but still only in a decorative way, not for use as functional coasters or use in the dishwasher etc.
I am soooo.. hooked on acrylic pouring. Flip cup, dirty pour, swipping, dipping, blowing, double flips, wrist flips you name it I’ve tried it. And I’ve only been doing this for two weeks!!! I work at Michael’s so I get a great deal on all my supplies. Even sale items get my discount! Whoo, whoo… My husband thinks I am some sort of mad scientist mixing, adding, pouring and stirring then oohing and ahhing. I have never been so energized by watching your videos and reading your comments and suggestions. Who wants to clean the house, cook or do errands when you can play with paint and create the most incredible surprises!!! Thanks so much for introducing me to this wonderful art form.
Your husband is a keeper – even more discount = fabulous! Glad to hear you are feeling to inspired and full of energy.
Hello, I love this technique, is there an alternative to floetrol? Having trouble tracking that down in the uk
Thank Lizzy. There are lots of alternatives people use for their pouring medium and I’m sure some will be there in the Uk for you. Check out this article here – http://acrylicpouring.com/what-is-a-pouring-medium/
You can also get Floetrol in the UK on Amazon here – https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=floetrol&linkCode=sl2&linkId=57182581ee5cb4a4d10bf036fcf5a454&tag=soseea-21&ref=as_li_ss_tl
Thank you! Never thought of Amazon!! I will take a look at the article,I am determined to have a bash this weekend!!!!
In the video you mention adding an oil and something else (besides water) to the paint. I couldn’t quite hear/understand that part.
What oil and what else did you mix into the paint?
These are beautiful. 🙂
I use a product called Floetrol as the pouring medium and then silicone oil to help create the cells. Links are provided for each so you can take a look. Hope that helps.
This is a very nice and i will try this. Thank you for sharing this with us.
However I would like to know How much floetrol and silicone oil i need to mix with the paint?
I mix the paints about 1 part floetrol, 2 parts paint, plus water as needed. Then about 1 -2 drops of oil per color, depending on how much I mixed.
I have tried to find a silicone oil in Austria but the one I have bought at amazon diddn’t work. I have no credit card and so I need to find an oil that I can pay in Euro. Could you help me, please. This technique is such amazing
Can you find a hair oil or serum that has dimethicone as the primary ingredient? I got good results with one of those here – http://acrylicpouring.com/testing-dimethicone-day-3-coconut-hair-serum/
I didn’t see anything that said what you do to the tile for the paint to adhere. Also, can you use this technique on canvas?
I didn’t need to do anything to the tile other than make sure it was clean and grease free, the paint sticks on there just fine. Once its sealed with a varnish, it stays on without any problems. And yes, you can do this technique on canvas just the same.
I work at Michael’s, too and am so inspired by Deby’s post and can’t wait to try this technique!
Beautiful. Love the colors. Going to try this method. Thanks for sharing.
¡¡¡Espectacular el resultado de su obra!!!
Por favor podría decirme , si antes de verter el acrílico ha imprimido de blanco la baldosa con una capa de pintura para baldosa para que pueda fijarse bien sus pinturas o simplemente las pinturas que ha vertido se quedan adheridas y no se estropean.
Le doy las gracias por el video y su respuesta
Sólo tiene que asegurarse de que el azulejo está limpio y no grasa. Cuando esté completamente seco, selle con un barniz y la pintura permanecerá bien.
I have just started to play with this painting type. I’m really loving it, but have one question: how much paint should one use for a tile – tried to do one and when it dried, the paint cracked. I assume I used to much. Also my first 8×8 canvas also cracked. Did I pour to much paint on it.
It could be that either the paint was left on the surface too thickly or that the paint was mixed too thickly or that it dried too quickly. Or maybe that your paints didn’t like your recipe. Very hard to say, as it can be a number of things. If you can drop into the Facebook group and share some pictures we might be able to diagnose better and offer suggestions.
I am so frustrated, I destroyed 20 small tiles with resin. They were to be coasters for an art show in October. I watched the instructions how to proceed. I mixed it for three min. I started with 5 tiles poured the resin but forgot to put a cup under the tiles. All off them were on top of a foil baking tray.
All went well, so I did the rest off my tiles. Half I left outside with a box over them and the othe half inside. I only left the outside ones for about 2 hours. The temperature was below 20 c. I took them overnight inside. In the morning all of them had areas where the resin did not reach like little puddles. And off course they all stuck to the foil as well.
Do I put resin over them again? Do I have to sand them or do I just throw them out and make new ones using using the Duplo colour clear coat acrylic enemal, and can I use that also on alcohol inks on tiles.?
Sorry to hear about the missing spots where the resin did not stick. Had you used any form of oil in your paint? All of that has to be carefully cleaned off or the resin won’t stick to those areas. And yes it will stick the tile to the surface if you do not lift it up to dry and allow the excess to drip off. You should be able to pour again. Make sure to remove any oily residue first or the next coat won’t stick to those spots too. I’ve never used alcohol inks so I can’t personally vouch for using resin with those, sorry.
Is this a canvas?
Not this time. It’s a 6 inch glossy ceramic tile.
So my Dutch pour goes well and looks great and then 2 hours later everything sort of has slid off the edge or it flows back together. Is my paint too thin? The recipe you used I used Liquitex instead of the floetrol and it was super thick and wouldn’t spread at all with the blow dryer. I’m feel like I keep getting the consistency wrong and am getting discouraged.
Good morning – I would like to try this dutch pour technique on my countertop – kindly advise what paint can be used for the basecoat to apply the dutch pour to and what can be used to spread the basecoat evenly over the countertop since it is stationary. Love your work – just awesome – thanks for your help – look forward to hearing from you – enjoy your day — Lisa
When do you add the silicone oil? That’s what makes it “Veiny”?