I can securely state that the number one question we get from artists just starting out in acrylic pouring is, “how do I get the right consistency?”
A disclaimer: the “right” consistency depends on a few different factors:
- What type of paint you’re using
- What type of medium you’re using
- What type of pouring technique you’re using
- What you’re looking for out of your finished product
Because of these factors and not knowing what you are specifically using, we’re going to go over the most common issues with consistency and give a few examples of what you should look for in your mixture.
What is Consistency?
When we talk about consistency, we’re talking about the flow and texture of your paint, medium, and additive mixture.
When it comes to acrylic pouring, which is fluid art, obviously the mixture has to be easy to pour! There are a few common household items you can compare your consistency to—sometimes this can help you to visualize what your paint should look like.
A few things that resemble a good pouring consistency:
- Warm honey
- Motor oil
- Chocolate syrup
Essentially, your mixture should be free flowing but not drippy. It should not drop heavily in clumps off of your stirring utensil, or run off quickly as if you had dipped your utensil in water. When you pull your stirring utensil out of the paint mixture, the paint should flow off easily and evenly.
Common Consistency Issues
Very Thin Paint
If your paint is too thin and runny, you’ll want to add a bit more paint. Add just a little at a time and keep stirring in between additions.
Very Thick Paint
If your paint is too thick, more medium is needed. Again, add a little more at a time to arrive at the desired consistency.
It’s really crucial to only add a little paint or a little medium at a time. You can always add more, but you can’t take away what you’ve added, and it’s no fun doing the dance back and forth between adding paint and adding medium!
Common Brands & Ratios
- Liquitex Basics + Liquitex Pouring Medium: Liquitex states on their website that you should use about 5% paint and 95% medium. For example, if you’re using 10 total ounces of paint, you’ll want to use a half ounce of paint, and 9.5 ounces of medium.
- Liquitex Basics + Floetrol: You can use three parts Floetrol to one part Liquitex. For example, if you want four total ounces of paint, you’ll use one ounce of paint, and three ounces of medium.
- Golden Fluid Acrylics + GAC 800: According to Golden’s website, the maximum recommended ratio is 10% fluid acrylics to 90% GAC 800. Golden states that the optimal usage rate would be 1-5% fluid acrylics. They also explain that any paint concentration above 10% may “overwhelm the GAC 800’s resistance to crazing”. GAC 800 is wonderful for preventing those pesky cracks and crazes, so this is sage advice to follow.
- Nicole’s Craft Paint (or other thin craft paint) + Floetrol: Thinner paints require more medium and less paint typically. However, because craft paints aren’t always as pigmented as professional artist paints, you may need to mix at a one to one ratio with these paints to get the desired color.
Consistency can be frustrating, but not impossible to master. If you’re using one of these combinations and it’s just not working for you, come talk to us! We have a great group on Facebook (search for Acrylic Pouring), and there are thousands of artists who can help!