At last, I got my hands on the gold standard pouring medium for acrylic pouring and swiping – the Liquitex Pouring Medium. Since our style of painting has become really popular this has been sold out or very low in stock in a lot of places. I can’t buy it here on the island so I ordered some via the Acrylic Pouring Store and had it shipped in. Now let’s test how good this is!
I decided on a three-part test. As follows:
- My usual ‘recipe’ with paint, Floetrol, water and silicone
- Replace the Floetrol with an equal part of the Liquitex instead
- A mix of half and half Floetrol and Liquitex
I used the same paints in the same colors and mixed up three batches with the recipes above. It was basically 1 tablespoon of paint, to a half tablespoon of either the Floetrol or the Liquitex (or the 50/50 mix of each), plus about a teaspoon of water, as needed. Each pot of paint had 4-5 drops of the Treadmill lubricant silicone oil. Then I made up 3 generous flip cups and gave it a trial. Here are my results of the side by side test of the pouring mediums in the video below.
So OK my colors choices were bad. I was looking for something bright and cheerful and it was a bit of an eyesore in the end, but still, the experiment was useful.
- No immediate difference seen or felt during paint mixing. The paints all mixed the same, and made the same volume to get the same consistency so no one method stood out as needing more or less water than the others.
- The pour – all poured the same, and tilted the same on the tile. No difference seen.
- Cells – the 100% Floetrol seemed to give better cells. There were fewer cells in the 100% Liquitex and the 50/50 mix did have cells, but they seemed to break up and go feathery where the paints seemed to mix.
- Drying – they all took the same amount of time to dry.
- Dry appearance – well, ugly, but apart from that, there was slightly more gloss to the Liquitex, however both tests with the liquitex pouring medium had holes and cracks in the paint, something I had never had before when only using Floetrol.
Overall thoughts – this was only a single test so it’s hard to draw a solid conclusion. The Liquitex didn’t stand out as creating better cells either wet or dry, or in the 50/50 mix. But the cracks and holes in the paint were new to me, and at this point I can only assume they were as a result of using the Liquitex. More testing to come on that – swipes next!
Read Floetrol vs Liquitex Test – Part 2
For more free tips and guides on acrylic pouring check out our guides below:
Complete Acrylic Pouring Technique Guide
How To: Your First Acrylic Pour
Top Acrylic Pouring Beginners Tips
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.
43 thoughts on “Floetrol vs Liquitex Pouring Medium: Side-by-Side Comparison Test (Part 1)”
Something is wrong with the cracks using the Liquidtex. It is advertised as not causing cracks and I haven’t had any. So far I have used 2 gallons and one 8 oz jar of the stuff. I don’t really measure measure but I use much more Liquidtex than I do paint. I used enough paint to get the depth of color I want.
I think it just didn’t like my paint or my recipe perhaps. I know lots of other have success. I just need to tweak and experiment until I find the right mix that will work to give me the best results for my paints. Never easy when you change up something to a different product.
I rather LOVED the colors!!!! And all three of the effects!!
Liquitex/Floetrol do not add depth of color, or any color for that matter to ones paint. Ask they do is help with the flow of the paint. They are an additive for the behavior of the paint, and do not effect its color
does liquidtex form cells when you don’t want cells?
The cracking in the liquitex is caused by adding water to your paints.. Pouring medium is supposed to be used with high flow acrylics that are designed as a thin flowing acrylic. High flow is different to using acrylics thinned with water. the only problem with using water to get the fluidity of the paints means you’re breaking down the binders. This could lead to cracking or flaking. It doesn’t mean it definitely will happen, but the medium stops that.
The cracks are probably from the water added to the liquitex pm or maybe the silicone. I have never had any cracking with it but I also don’t get cells either. I also use golden high flow acrylics and only need to add a few drops of color to the pm. I haven’t needed to water it down at all.
I had the same experience. I got cracks with the liqitex but not with the floetrol. Much less expensive too.
I also had major cracking/splitting – thought it might be my hairdryer was too close and hot…(couldn’t afford a heat gun/burner or whatever ‘just for a try’) it might be all well and good to keep experimenting but its expensive. Dont think this medium is for me I brought a pack of pouring paints and a bottle pouring medium (which I thought at the time was the same as Floetrol) and a bottle of liquid silicone, all up about $100 AU, to create a canvas for my grand daughters BD, it’s nearly all gone and so far not one cell in site nor any work worth keeping. On a pension this is hard. Think I will stick to painting. Enjoy everyone else’s work so keep having fun!!
Most of the videos I have seen of this process do a few other thigs consistently that you did not do and because of that, I have a few questions:
Why did you not mix (even just a few stirs) the dirty cup once
you had all the colors in it?
Why did you use “tile” instead of canvas?
Why did you not “torch” the paint after you poured?
Happy to answer your questions. I find the colors can get muddy if I mix the dirty pour cup so I prefer not to do it, especially if I am doing a flip. I think that already mixes the paint sufficiently. I prefer a little color separation personally. I use a tile when I am practicing or experimenting because they are easy to wipe off and reuse. They are also smaller so use less paint when testing things. I did torch all of them at the 10:15 mark in the video. Hope that helps.
That can make it “muddy”
I’ve tried both too, didn’t really see much difference, but as floetrol is cheaper and I seem to need loads of the stuff…..its floetrol for me. Addictive painting method. I go in studio/shed to varnish or something and while I’m there an idea springs out and I have to try it right then! I’ve used so much paint and mediums in the six weeks or so I’ve been doing this!
I’ve been using Liquitex Pouring Medium and used to get crazing when I didn’t use enough. I do 1 part paint, to at least 1 part LPM now and I haven’t had any problems. Oh, and a very small dash of water. Looking forward to trying Floetrol. It would save the bank!
Thank you for this. I will try Floetrol as Liquitex is extreamly expensive here in Australia. On line it is $54 for 946 mls and in the art supply shop it is $70! Floetrol is $17.84 for 1litre at the hardware shop! Great controlled test. What about its archival qualities will it stand up well in UV light. I am an artist and sell my work so this is important to me to know.
The Floetrol is inert once dry so won’t affect the UV reistance or light fastness of your paints so long as I am aware. If they were good before adding it, they should be good after.
I am hooked! Getting set up to start this pouring adventure.
I have HUGE assortment of tubes of Daniel Smith Hard Acrylics from my days of thinking it would be fun to paint acrylics…but I never liked it as well as watercolor…so gave up. I was told the Pouring Medium could dilute the hard acrylics into Flow Acrylics….and more dilution would make them pour-able. Do you agree?
Would Floetrol work just as well to dilute the Hard Acrylics to pour-able consistency?
Excited to start!
I’m not really familiar with the paints you mention but saying they are hard acrylics does give me some concern that they might just be too thick. Yes you can thin them, but when you are starting out, getting the right paint consistency is the most difficult thing. If you are starting with very thick paints, then it only makes it harder to tell when they are ‘right’ and you have to add a lot of the additives or water. I’d suggest starting out with something easier and turn back to these thick paints once you are a bit more experienced in mixing.
They are completely fine. Hopefully you have already found that out since this post is a bit older but I thought it could help someone else too! But YES the tube are fine so long as they are not oils and are acrylics. Just smallerso watch the ratios 😉
Just curious if you have experienced longer drying times using this technique? When I started with acrylics I was use to a hour or so dry time. I have my first piece still “wet” under the surface and its been over 24 hours. I know the layer is thick and that could be causing it. If anyone knows this is normal I would appreciate any tips!
That’s totally normal just because the paint is so thick. I like to leave mine 4 days before touching, depending on size and the substrate. Be patient and don’t try to speed it up or you can cause the paint to crack.
My preferred pouring medium mix is GAC800 + Liquitex Pouring Medium (50/50) 2 parts pouring medium to 1 part high flow acrylic paint. If I am using paint from plastic tubes, I increase the amount of pouring medium to 3-4 parts PM to 1 part paint. If I’m using heavy body acrylic paint (usually in a metal tube or a tub or jar with a lid) I will use up to 10 parts PM to 1 part paint.
I use Floetrol as my PM when I am experimenting with a new technique or trying to refine my technique. My GAC800 + Liquitex PM is expensive, so I try to reserve it for premium pieces that I can sell for more money 🙂
have you tried fluid acrylics instead of high flow and did that effect your fm? what about gloss medium instead of pm?
Thanks for this. It’s interesting that the colors which were so horribly ugly for you were satisfying and delightful for me. It’s possible that it is because I’ve been exposed to these color mixtures all my life, from living near and visiting Latin countries.
It’s one of the joyful things about art, that whatever you create, someone will love it. I love bright colors, but these were too bright even for me!
Hi, There is a substitute product to Floetrol called XIM which is also much cheaper. Has anybody used this and if so have you had any success?
I’ve not used that one, can’t get it here, but I did try a similar one called Thin-X. You can see my video review and results HERE.
Thanks… does it go under another name … nothing coming up for that product on google?
I’m not sure that its commonly available. I found it in my local store, but I wouldn’t know where you could get it in the US/UK. Sorry, its hard when I’m in a different country. But its very similar to the XIM and the Zinnsser product too. If you can find those, give them a try. You’ve nothing to loose and might love it!
What exactly is Floetrol, and where can one typically find it? Would it be in an art store, or more like a hardware store? I have searched all the websites of hardware stores I can think of, and none have any product called “Floetrol.” I live in Canada, so I’m wondering whether this is an American brand that isn’t available here. Do you happen to know what the non-brand name of Floetrol is? In other words, what is the chemical substance? Thanks so much!
Yes Floetrol is a latex paint extender usually found in DIY stores. I know that Floetrol can be expensive sometimes on Amazon and hard to find in stores in Canada. I am told that you can find it in branches of Dulux paint or Home Hardware. Also try Home Depot, Cloverdale Paint and Canadian Tire. But its not the only option. There are a lot of other pouring mediums you can try.
Thank you so much!
Hi, I’m also in Canada.
I’ve been trying to find an affordable alternative also.
I’m going to pick up Zinsser’s Latex Extender from Home Depot today and see how that works out.
You can purchase Floetrol in paint shops. It is used to dilute house paint going through paint sprayer. I get mine at DULUX paint.
Apparently, in Canada it has been banned because of environmental legislation. Too bad… there are so many things we cannot have here!
That’s absolutely not true Betty. I even spoke to the people at Flood about it. Floetrol has NOT been banned in Canada or anywhere.
I want to try Acrylic pouring so I’ve been watching videos. I notice people are also adding Elmer’s white glue along with the Liquitex/Floetrol if they aren’t concerned about archival properties. Is this to reduce the amount of pouring mediums to save money or does it help with preventing cracking?
It’s at Canadian Tire in Canada and Home Hardware, Lowes and Home Depot I believe. The Amazon price is the same as CT and you can get 1 qt or a gallon…
Thanks Fran for that info – I’m in BC, and looking for Floetrol. But CT, HD and Lowes didn’t have it on their websites so will have to go in store to check.
Hi Deby, I respect that you went out of your way to do this. I’ve done a lot of research trying to find ways to get good results and control of cells whilst being archival and it isn’t looking good. But I’d like to raise a few problems that could change the results of your experiment and applies to your Part 2 test as well.
1. Liquitex is qualified as archival; Floetrol and silicone are not. Liquitex likely hasn’t been made/tested for combining with them, so that’s a factor disturbing the expected results (50/50 mix obviously but your 100% mix still has silicone).
2. The Liquitex website says you should mix “95% medium to 5% color”. You did half-half to create some control with your other recipes, but this would essentially make your Liquitex mixed solution too thick! So of course you’d get crazing, tackiness and cracking. This depends on the paint too, as Liquitex recommends this ratio for their soft body paints, which likely have a higher pigment count compared to cheaper brands. However, it will probably still be a smaller ratio than the 50/50 you did here.
This means that getting a more even experiment might actually mean using different ratios for different mediums! Each medium should be expected to operate in different ways. Floetrol, particularly, is a builders’ product not intended for fine art.
I’ve done a lot of reading and talking to people about archival mediums as I’m planning a big painting to sell. I recently bought a 4L tub of Liquitex’s PM that cost a fortune and might have to return it since it’s not looking like it will give the easy results I want with cells and so on, but this will all have to be studied with tests. For the sake of your experiment here, you might not have given Liquitex the best shot. The shop assistant at my Eckersley’s art store says Liquitex didn’t behave well to torching in their experience but did create cells by being swiped, e.g. with fingers (and so might make good cells by swiping with larger objects like plastic sheets).
It probably shouldn’t be up to us to test Liquitex’s product to this degree, but this is a relatively new trend. I only hope Liquitex are already going deep into this.
Just some things to consider.
This is great information, thank you for sharing with us! If you’re interested in writing a more in depth article on this let us know at [email protected]. We’d love to hear more!
Liquitex Effects can only be mixed directly with paint for the correct outcome. Water and other additives will easily ruin it. I love your sense of adventure otherwise.
you have no clue