Swiping with Thinner Paints – Does It Make a Difference?

In the video I released yesterday I was trying to emulate the swipe technique of the King of Swipes, Casey. His paints seemed much thinner than mine, so if I thinned mine to more like his, would I get the larger cells? Only one way to find out.

Today I’m acrylic pouring in a similar simple color scheme of Bahama Blue, Blue Bird, a little silver, plus black and white. And wow, when I do my first swipe, look at those cells pop up! After swiping with the black, I’m reluctant to add the white and swipe the other way. – but in the name of true experimentation, I do anyway.

It’s gorgeous! I’m very happy with the much bigger cells and I don’t even want to torch it in case I break them up with lots of little ones instead.

Video: Swiping With Thinner Paints, Does it Make A Difference?

So it does look like paint thickness can matter when you swipe. My thicker paint created a lot of very small and well-defined cells and I had to torch to get them. The thinner paint created cells much more easily without any torching, and they were larger.

But I feel that the cells weren’t so detailed, weren’t so well defined as they were in the red one with the thicker paints. What do you think? Especially looking at it after it was dry, it looks like the cells had a tendency to bleed and separate and they had much softer edges than when it was wet. Thinner paint leads to more changes while it dries and less defined cells?

Perhaps a third experiment with the thickness somewhere in the middle to try to find that perfect nirvana moment of large and well-defined cells in a simple swipe? There must be an ideal consistency where the cells are large and instantly created on swiping and yet hold the same definition of the smaller cells with the thicker paint. Any excuse to get back in the studio and paint some more 🙂

I used up my leftover paints to create a couple of matching mini 3 inch canvases and you can also see pictures of these below.

Check out the slideshow below for pictures wet, dry and some close-ups of the details. I’d love to hear your feedback so do leave me a comment on the video – do you like these cells better, or in the red and black one?

If you’re interested in learning more techniques other than the swipe, check out our acrylic pouring techniques guide and see what technique you can try next!

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55 thoughts on “Swiping with Thinner Paints – Does It Make a Difference?”

    1. It changes up from time to time. In this one I was using 2 parts paint to 1 part Floetrol, and then a little water as needed. The paints in this example had some extra water because I was comparing to the swipe I did the previous day to see if the cells were different.

    2. Vanessa Findiesen

      It might be the water that is making the cells less defined. Water breaks down the structure of the acrylic polymer. Try using acrylic medium instead, maybe 50/50 with floetrol and just using more medium?

  1. Hı I think it s amazing technic. I like this very much. Do you use acrilic or oil? I am sorry, I couldn’t understand .

    1. I love your work. Just found out. I have the items needed. Waiting for canvas to dry so I can start. Useing colander. But I’ve watched how to change and correct.
      Cross your fingers.

    1. I do not speak Spanish so I cannot translate my blog articles for you. However Chrome browser has a translate function built in to translate any foreign language websites, or you can use the translate tool here – https://translate.google.com/
      No hablo español así que no puedo traducir mis artículos del blog para usted. Sin embargo, el navegador Chrome tiene una función de traducción integrada para traducir cualquier sitio web de idioma extranjero, o puede utilizar la herramienta de traducción aquí

    2. Kathi Blakely

      Puedes usar pintura acrylic, silicone gotitas, y poco aqua. Puedes comprar todos los materiales en AMAZON.

    1. Hey, do you mix the silicone through the paint before pouring or just let it sit on top?

  2. Hello, just subscribed and I’m​ a beginner. I enjoy watching your videos and learning different​ amazing experiments from you. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  3. Hi. I love these! Is there a way to make to make the tiles a permanent color? Seal them? It would be amazing to use as a kitchen backsplash. Thanks.

    1. I do seal them for display but I don’t think it would be hardwearing enough for something that needed constant cleaning like in a kitchen, or was often damp like in a bathroom. You could probably get them sealed professionally somehow, but I wouldn’t know where to start on that. Sorry. But wow, yes, wouldn’t it be awesome to paint your own custom kitchen tiles.

  4. I love your videos and clear instructions and your willingness to share that even for you it is not all perfection at first go around! What was your reason for not putting in Silicone in the black for this swipe? I thought you put them in all the colours all the time?

    1. I’ve found that you really don’t seem to need it in the color that you swipe with. And the less silicone I have, the less I have to clean off later 🙂

    1. In this example the paint was mixed with 50% floetrol compared to paint volume, plus water to get the right pouring consistency and a few drops of silicone oil.

    2. Floetrol is a paint conditioner for acrylic/layex paints found in the DIY store. Many painters use it to thin their paints to a pouring consistency.

  5. Me quedo una duda que diferencia hay entre colocar silicona o tunero ,el efecto es parecido ? .si es así como se debería realizar la técnica y xq el arrastre de pintura con papel ? Gracias .Me encantan tus pinturas .

  6. Hello, just subscribed . I enjoy watching your videos and learning different​ amazing experiments from you. Thank you so much for sharing!!!So can you send me all equipments & tools you use ??

    1. Thank you for subscribing, I do appreciate that. But no, I can’t afford to send you supplies, sorry, you will need to buy your own.

  7. They are both great! I think I prefer the larger cells on the blue to the smaller in the red although they both look cool!!

  8. What would the most simplistic name of this method be so I could further research it, if you wouldn’t mind.

    1. It’s called a ‘swipe’. I have a playlist of swipe videos if you want to learn more, see more tutorials and experiments, and some project ideas too. It’s on YouTube here.

    1. Andree Gontier

      what do you use to swipe with…your paintings are stunning…what kind of silicon do you use…

  9. Wow! I am glad I watched this! I had no idea that you gave me a second ‘shout out’ video and blog! I am so honored.

    This is beautiful and it was so cool to feel your immediate excitement when you took that first swipe!

    I agree, finding the happy balance in viscosity between your red and this blue is the goal!

  10. Hello Deby,
    beautiful work, thank you for sharing. I have a problem that you might have answer for. I did different technics and different mixing combinations, acrylic, floetrol, pouring medium, H2O, never got nice big cells, but most of all when I was watching different methods , everybody using torch kept producing more cells, they just pooping like crazy, when I used my torch , not even one cell is popping. Would like like to give me some tips please.

    1. It all depends on your mix I think Lillian. I like my paints a little thinner and they tend to create cells without torching. If the paints are a little thicker, then heating can make more cells appear. So it depends on your paint consistency, and also your brand of paints. Each one reacts differently. I am the same as you, torching makes no real difference except to pop a few bubbles. Try varying your paint consistency and see if that makes a difference for you.

  11. I’m a beginner, I’ve painted for years but only just trying the pouring technique. Thank you for your demonstrations, they are very clear and informative. I just need to create table space where I can safely make a mess! See you on FB! ??

  12. I really enjoyed your tutorial and would like to try this method . Where do you purchase silicone oil please?
    Also have you used this method on a canvas

    1. Silicone oil isn’t often found on the highstreet. The best place to get these sort of specialist supplies is on Amazon. Are you in the US? Here is the acrylic pouring page on Amazon which has the silicone and lots of other pouring products you might like.

  13. Amazing work!! Just beautiful! I’ve checked out your amazon link and was just wondering if you have a preference of acrylic brand to use? Thanks!

    1. I don’t have a lot of choice locally on the island so I just use all sorts, depending on what I can find. I think my preference is actually for the DecoArt paints just because they come in so many different colors. I also love the Blick Student Acrylics – they are affordable, come in nice big bottles, pour well. But I can only get a basic set of those colors on the island. I’ve yet to find any paints that I didn’t like using or wouldn’t recommend.

  14. Hello. When you do your varnish technique and you use the baby powder how long should you wait to apply the powder once your done with the pour? Also how thick of a layer do you use for the varnish? Thanks

  15. Susanna Murray

    I’ve just started and am already obsessed! I love your blue swipe and am going to try soon. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!

  16. This video just now, February 2020, appeared in an email from Acrylic Pouring. I so very much enjoyed seeing Deby again. I miss you, Deby!

  17. Hi I Just watched your video.
    I am so impressed.
    Hope to try a bit thinner.
    When you have canvas that does not cell its not fun.
    The think is after it cells and I rotate the canvas something I wind up with no cells if you know what I mean. Also, I do not think I will use blue. I will do the black and white and other colors. (3 not counting the black and white) It appeared to me you said you left the grey thicker? Is that right? And, why?
    Thank you,

  18. Hi. I have watched countless UTube videos and where it says subscribe, I did. But then what happens? Nothing happens in return. What am I doing wrong?
    Do I have to join the Facebook group? These comments/answers published here, where do they come from? And if I have a question, where do I direct it? Thank you for explaining. Anna

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