Deborah’s Kaleidoscope Acrylic Ring Pour


Supplies I Used:

Pouring Medium:  Floetrol mixed at a ratio of 1:1 with each color of paint.  

Paint Preparation

Using seven, eight ounce plastic or paper cups, put approximately two ounces of paint in the cup for the colors and three to four ounces of dark turquoise green paint in its cup. You may want a larger cup to mix the dark turquoise as you will need more of it than any of the other colors. Add your iridescent medium to all of the colors except the dark turquoise. Add Hologram Glitter paint to each color except dark turquoise. Stir each color until blended and smooth. Add Floetrol at a ratio of 1:1 with the paint. Add water as needed to bring the mixture to a warm honey consistency. You will note in the video that I mix the phtalo blue and lake blue together as well as mixing the phtalo green and emerald green together.  This was to get hues that I liked better with my palette than any of these colors by themselves.

Preparation of Pouring Cups

Using three, eight ounce paper cups, layer paint colors in each. I don’t use dark turquoise in the layering process as it will be used for the alternating puddle pours. I like to layer the colors so that I have a different combination of colors in each cup. I combined the blue mixture, green mixture, and a little violet in one cup, the blue mixture, violet, and alizarin crimson in the second cup and alizarin crimson, cadmium orange hue, and cadmium yellow in the third cup. When layering, repeat colors several times.  Try to be “intentionally random” adding each color so that you place colors next to one another to achieve certain effects as they blend coming out of the cups. I like to see rings as well as ombre effects in each pour for richness and dimension.

Preparation of the Canvas

For the pour in the video I am using a 9×12 inch gallery wrapped canvas set on top of glass canning jars. I use them because they are standard heights as long as you use all the same brand and size. I always check for levelness on the surface of my canvas using a level. Check the level both from top to bottom as well as side to side.  If you need to make adjustments you can use craft sticks placed either under the jars or on top. If you place them on top between the jar and canvas, be aware that when the paint dries they can stick to the underside of your canvas. Once the canvas is determined to be level, apply dark turquoise paint to act as a base layer which will allow your paint to slide more easily and smoothly when you begin tilting. I like to apply it around the edges first so I can cover the wrapped sides. I prefer either a brush or my gloved hand to spread the base layer rather than pouring and tilting it. There will be a lot of paint on the finished canvas so I don’t want too much involved in the base layer.  

Pouring the First Set of Rings

You can either pour a small puddle of dark turquoise paint to start, or just start with one of your layered pour cups. As you start pouring your pour cup the colors will come out in more “defined” bands, one next to another. This will produce more distinct “rings.” As you work your way down the cup you will get more blending of colors. Both effects are nice!  However, if you prefer one to the other you can adjust your cups as you pour by either blending with a stick just a tiny bit to avoid making the distinct rings, or add fresh color to your cup as you pour to continue to create the distinct rings as you work your way down through the paint in your cup. I like a little of both! Pour three ring pours in a triangle placement on your canvas using the color cups. Next, pour a puddle of dark turquoise in the center of each pool of rings you just poured. Repeat this sequence until you have about six pools of rings and six puddles of black in each separate pour.


Now it is time to stretch those rings out! Gently tilt your canvas to start moving the ring pools around and closer to the edges. Try to get the paint to just start to run over the sides then redirect tilting in a different direction. It is okay for the rings to become distorted while tilting. This produces the base pattern that you will use to build your final design on.  Once you are happy with the results of your tilting you are ready to add other elements!

Adding Elements

Where you place your elements and just how many you add are totally up to you! A few things to remember when adding design elements: if you want them to stay round, don’t place them too close to one another. Any new paint you add will cause the paint next to it to be displaced as the elements spreads and flattens out. Consider how many layers you may want in each element and account for spread when you place them on the canvas. A little practice will help you develop an eye for this. If you want all of your element to stay on the canvas, don’t place it too close to the edge. As it spreads it will fall off!  However, elements that partially fall off are not all bad, they can become something wonderful when you enhance this technique further which I will go over next! Once you have all the elements you want with as many layers as you want you can keep what you have or take the next step to create the Kaleidoscope design!

Note:  you can go to the next step as soon as you finish pouring your elements or you can wait a while to let them spread before you proceed.

Creating the Kaleidoscope

The Kaleidoscope is created by scoring lines in your poured elements with a special tool I call the “Petrified Paintbrush.” It is not difficult to acquire one of these, in fact, you make it yourself! Simply use a perfectly good paintbrush during a project, leave it on your workspace without cleaning it and let it dry.  Proceed to abuse it in this way several more times and you will have the ideal tool for this technique! Next, look at the elements on your canvas. There will be places where two elements contact one another. These areas I like to call “escapes” or “exits.” They are logical places to score lines from inside an element to the outside. It allows you to follow the natural patterns that you have poured and tie things together.  

You can also “exit” one element and make an “entry” into another one. This helps tie the elements together in the Kaleidoscope effect. You will see this demonstrated visually on the video. Continue to identify escapes and entries throughout your design. I like to make somewhat symmetrical lobes on each element, usually making six or eight, sometimes more or less, it all depends on your artistic vision! Lastly, if  you want you can add a dot in the center of each element to give it a floral look…or to cover up a messy looking junction where you drew the lines in!

Kaleidoscope Image2

At this point, you are done!  At least you are done with the designing part… there is still the part where you try to leave it alone but keep jumping up to run check on it until it finally finishes spreading! Just remember, keeping your elements smaller to start with, spaced well apart and strategically away from the edges of the canvas will help preserve the design you intended. But if it doesn’t turn out that way, it is still a beautiful piece in its own right!  

I hope you enjoy the video!  If you do, please be sure to like and subscribe and check back with for all the wonderful videos and tutorials available!

4 thoughts on “Deborah’s Kaleidoscope Acrylic Ring Pour”

  1. Christine Rodgers

    I tried this and the design turned out nice but something went awry when it dried. It is thick with ridges and spoils the effort. Too much paint? Thank you Christine

  2. Artistinnameonly

    “Repeat this sequence until you have about six pools of rings and six puddles of black in each separate pour.” Black? What black? What did I miss?

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