Top 10 Mistakes (Most) Acrylic Pourers Make

I’m excited about writing this article, because I could come up with at least 60 mistakes I’ve made in my acrylic pouring journey. Such an easy topic for me to write about! But honestly, I’m a little nervous to write about mistakes. It’s a negative topic, and I really don’t want to discourage anyone who is excitedly plowing ahead with pouring, giving very little thought to mistakes they might be making.

I can still VIVIDLY remember my 35-year-old daughter telling me—when she was only in elementary school—“Mom, why can’t you just let me make my own mistakes so I can learn from them?” Ugh—stab to the heart.

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So, reader, you have been warned: I’m going to tell you what “not” to do.
NUMBER 10… (Yes, I’m doing them in reverse—calm down, you’ll be okay.)

10. Pouring for the money

Don’t get me wrong, you can make some money selling your paintings and/or other items you make, like Christmas ornaments, jewelry, and furniture. AND GOOD FOR YOU IF YOU CAN SUPPORT YOURSELF DOING ART!

But let’s be honest, unless you are a great salesperson, good at marketing your products, and, in some cases, technologically savvy, it can be a tough way to earn an income. Just remember two things:

    • There is a legitimate reason the phrase “starving artist” was coined.

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    • Don’t quit your day job. At least not yet.

9. Not having all the necessary supplies ready before you begin

Now, this may seem obvious to some of you, but you’d be surprised how many people just race to their local craft store and buy four tubes of their favorite colors plus a couple of canvases and run back home to begin throwing paint together in a cup and dumping it on the canvas, expecting brilliant works of art.

Unless you are a savant artist, it takes some time to achieve this level of success. It is very important to get your supplies ready and have everything you need before you begin pouring…IF you want to have decent looking results. See my first article for help in getting ready to pour.

8. Not doing your research

It’s easy to join a Facebook group like Acrylic Pouring and watch all the pretty pictures enter your feed every day, giving you the encouragement to jump right in. The mistake you are making is seeing the beautiful pour and immediately asking, “How did you do that?”

The very first thing you should be doing is going to YouTube to look at the (LITERALLY) tens of thousands of videos showing you EXACTLY what to do and EXACTLY how they did that. Spend about 10 hours (minimum) looking at “how to” videos before you go directly to Facebook groups and ask folks how they did that. I guarantee you that EVERY single question you have will be answered by watching these videos. AcrylicPouring.com is, of course, the best place to start.

I can also highly recommend:

Myriam’s Nature
Ann Osborne
Odeta Dixon
Suave Arts

I recommend these sites in particular because this is how I learned how to pour. If you reference my earlier article, “Confessions of a Pouraholic“, you’ll see my other list of “go-to” artists I learned from.

7. Posting your first (or second) effort on Facebook looking for praise, only to hear… crickets

I know you had fun, and you are so amazed at what you created, but you need to trust me when I say that unless you are naturally talented and/or already a professional artist—it probably looks uh, ummm…not so good. It is so exciting to join the group and post your new baby, but we all know why you did it. The same reason we ALL DID IT. We wanted someone, lots of someones, to tell us we had just created the most magnificent piece of art the world has ever known.

But why not wait until you’ve done two more? Ten more? Ok, more like 25 more. You’ll look back on that first one with complete embarrassment and hope you discover some way to get rid of it.

It’s comforting to get “Likes” on Facebook and to have 30 of your best friends (whom you’ve never met) tell you that you are a genius. I know—I search for that kind of true connection to my fellow humans, too. But, it is so much more gratifying when the compliments are deserving.

Give yourself some time to get better (not perfect), and I promise you you’ll get your reward and it will be genuine. Perfect example is this beautiful pour by Mr. Mika Kunert. Everything this gentleman posts is a true work of art. Every compliment he receives is heartfelt. Check out his work.

Mika painting

6. Rushing

This encompasses everything from mixing the paints too fast and/or not enough, and not allowing the paint and pouring medium to get to know one another (as my daughter says, “to percolate”). This is not a sprint; it is a marathon.

The longer you take to mix your paint and the longer you take to decide what type of pour to do, the better the outcome. This is an incredibly meditative hobby, if you allow it to be. Enjoy selecting your color palette. Enjoy mixing your paints. Enjoy the actual pour. Enjoy tilting your canvas. Enjoy the act of creating something unique, one-of-a kind, NEVER TO BE DUPLICATED.

Now for the hard part. Take your gloves off and leave it alone. There is still so much happening, but this is part of the fun. Watch your cells develop and the colors run together. It is incredibly relaxing.

Now, this video you are about to watch was taken on the first day my daughter taught me how to pour. This was number four. (I believe we cranked out 10 that day.)

Note: No apron, no gloves (bad girl), with my grandkids and 4-year-old (other) daughter making all kinds of racket in the background. Stuff everywhere, in a rented summer house. We didn’t have a clue what we were doing, and we wasted A LOT of paint.

painting

Now I paint when I’m alone, in my own home, with NO distractions. I don’t even like music playing. I take my time and zone out. I SLOW DOWN.

5. Not getting familiar with the color wheel

I would wager that very few of us here have a degree in art history or have studied basic color theory. Fear not; there is help for those who are not naturally in tune with their inner color palette. If you have ABSOLUTELY no clue what I’m talking about, it is this:

Which colors go well together, and which do not?

It’s great to say your favorite color is maroon, but if you pair it with brown, all you achieve is a very unattractive pour. These two colors are too close in the color wheel and do not complement one another—they repel. Watching, studying, and becoming comfortable with the color wheel will be extremely handy as you learn how to pour.

Here’s a simple video to get you started:

4. Not removing pets from your work area

I see countless posts on Facebook about animals who have ruined a favorite pour by walking on it, running through it, placing a paw on it, or shedding their fur all over the place. I think this mistake speaks for itself.

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3. Expecting professional artist results on the first pour

I don’t really know how to elaborate on this one because…well…it’s just silly. Like everything in life, it takes time, effort, and persistence to become good at acrylic pouring. It takes dedication, passion, and drive to become great. Give yourself a break. Enjoy the time you are learning and improving.

2. Not protecting your possessions

I don’t care how careful you are or how neat you think you will be, you are going to get paint on something. If you are like most of us, you are going to get paint on EVERYTHING.

Before I began wearing gloves all the time, I was ruining my skin and cuticles in particular. Paint was stuck under my nails and I had to cut them down to remove it. Of course all my clothes have paint on them, and no, it doesn’t come out.

It’s on my chair, my desk, the floor mat, the carpet, the baseboard, my computer, my cell phone, the wall. Is there any place that it’s not on? It’s on the linoleum in my bathroom, on the porcelain of my sink. My husband showed me a work shoe of his that had a big yellow splotch on it. Yikes! This is obviously THE biggest mistake acrylic pourers make. Well, THIS pourer at least.

1. Not starting because you are:

  • Afraid
  • Too old
  • Messy
  • Too sick
  • Working
  • Too tired
  • Living in a small space
  • A pet owner
  • “Not an artist”

Get out there and pour! You can do it. And you WILL get better. I promise.

I hope this has been informative and given you some good tips to prevent unnecessary mistakes. As always, don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts and share your own mistakes. I love how we all connect in some way.

Happy Pouring.

Born in France, Patricia now calls Palm Coast, Florida, home, where she runs Oceans Apart Studios. She’s had the pleasure of raising two daughters and nineteen medical foster children. Now she specializes in watercolor, acrylic pouring, and custom jewelry taken from the run off of her paintings. Her pieces aim to capture the differences that make each woman uniquely beautiful. Check them out on Etsy.

Comments

  1. I would add that buying cheap paint/mediums/canvases might be okay for early practice runs, but if you want quality pours and if you have your technique down and have followed the above advice, then go ahead and get the good quality paints, mediums and canvases – they make SUCH a difference! I have tried using cheaper paints and they just do not work. I have been unhappy with each pour done with them. I use the better paints (like Golden Acrylic Flow) and my pours have turned out so much better. It is not that I pour better, it is that the pour itself goes better – the colors are deeper and truer and STAY that way while they dry.

  2. A well written information guide for novices and diehard artists
    No digressing simple straight facts any artist ,would be or experinced artist can benefit in some way to this info
    Thank you

  3. oh i’m renting the place i live at, and there’s carpet everywhere! I can’t stain things, they are not mine. How do I prepair?..

    1. Oh I’m so happy you asked. You can go to Walmart/Dollar Stores, even hardware stores and buy big sheets of plastic. Even a shower curtain will work. COVER THE CARPET WHEREVER YOU PLAN TO WORK. I have my desk covered with a clear shower curtain and I can wipe it down but after a couple of months I just replace it. Tape it down. If you are working near walls, go ahead and put plastic up there too. If you are able to leave everything in one place then make it plastic covered everywhere. If you have to transport a painting from one room to another for drying – THIS IS HOW I SPILLED PAINT THE MAJORITY OF THE TIME – then ensure you have your pathway covered. Pick out two or three granny gowns (or whatever you like) and make these the things you always wear when you paint. YOU WILL GET IT ON EVERYTHING YOU WEAR. Hope this helps.

  4. I found myself nodding and smiling at each of your top ten because they all described my journey. I created a basement workspace now (my entire first floor of my house is covered in paint from my earlier days!) and retreat to the basement and lose myself in creating. Thank you for reminding me of how far I have come on this journey and how much more I need to learn!!

  5. When we prepared to sell our rather new house, we found large rolls of adhesive-back (very light amt of stick) clear carpet path protector. It protects the surface beneath it and comes up easily! I use it a LOT in my studio particularly around work benches set up for Pouring classes. The floors are protected, but nobody needs to fear tripping on the edges. After each class, I just lift up & pitch.Also always use the disposable shoe covers on each students’feet 😎 Those are removed & pitched if anyone leaves the work benches.

    1. Ok Deborah, YOU need to write the next article- BRILLIANT things to do when Pouring!

  6. Thank you both of you, Deby and Patricia. I have been following Deby since last October and , so I thought, knew ‘everything’!!! Big mistake!!! I have just read Patricia ‘s “Ten Mistakes” and realise that I still have a long way to go. Thank you so much .. I have made all of the ‘ten’ I am now going to work on my progress, not be in a hurry to get to the masterpiece, concentrate on my journey with my art and stop watching too many Facebook groups, be selective with whom I follow .
    Thank you again ladies …

    Kind regards
    Sharron Farnell

  7. OMG That was definitely the best and most helpful video that I have seen. . Strangely I have done just about everything the article said, like watching videos like there was not tomorrow, the only thing I “failed” in was buying every color under the sun. Well actually I did not buy them, I put them on my birthday list and everybody was so happy to know what I wanted I can now open a paint store LOL. However for the future lists, I will reduce the colors to the 3 primary and study and restudy the video.. At 70 at will take a little while to remember all:>) Thank you for the work you went through to teach beginners by telling them what not to do

    1. Elke-you’re 70 and a beginner at Acrylic Pouring? Woo Hoo! That is inspirational. I applaude you for trying something new and thank you so much for sharing your own mistakes. Hugs to you.

  8. Great, realistic article – and no fears – it’s still very inspiring! I agree with Deborah Sherl – I’d buy it in poster format! Thanks so much!!

  9. Still studying, watching, learning, prepping my basement, all that good jazz, but have already totally failed at the don’t go out and buy all the colors on the planet… This is invaluable information and I thank you so much for putting it together! My biggest worry is the mess, since I’m a person who can take a teaspoon of glop (the nastier/more destructive the worse) and create a roomful of disaster – so extra thanks on the tips on keeping the paint (mostly) in the painting space, if not on the painting!

    1. Glad you found Patricia’s tips helpful, Debbie! And I think we can all relate with the excitement of buying as many colors for our pours.

  10. Thank you so much for all the info. I recently lost my husband, and have not painted or poured in 5 months. I am ready to get into once again. I am in a new home, and worried but the mess. but I am determined to get started once again. My biggest thing is what the most common recipe for paint to medium and silicon are. I sure need help in these areas. Thanks Carole

    1. Hi Carole – I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope you have close friends or family near to help you through this tough time. Haven’t poured in five months hmmm. I stopped for one month and found I almost had to learn all over again. I spent that time doing other creative things and seemed to have lost my mojo for the first three pours. If you experience the same thing, hang in there. I wouldn’t try anything too large until you get back in the groove of things and remember what you had forgotten. 🙂 I’m not one for recipes necessarily. At first I was, I hounded everyone on the internet asking for their recipes and tried them all and then one day it just came to me and I just let it happen, kind of the way I cook. A little of this, a little of that, ooooh, I have some Jalapenos?? But back to your question. I use a small bathroom dixie cup and put in my paint, less than half full. Then I add equal amounts of Floetrol and stir, and stir and stir. Sometimes I just cover the mixture with Glad Press and Seal and come back to it the next day and stir some more. To ME, the key to pouring well is to let the two products meet up and really spend some time together before introducing the silicone. I’ve actually got bottles of paint and floetrol sitting on my counter that I’ve mixed over a month ago and haven’t used yet. When I’m ready to pour, I’ll put some of the color and floetrol mixture into my cup and add one to two drops of KY True Feel. Then I put the stir stick into the mixture for one turn and we’re done. That is MY recipe. I get HUGE cells everytime. Check out my Etsy site and you’ll see what I’m talking about. https://www.etsy.com/shop/OceansApartStudios?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

      I hope this has helped you and I look forward to seeing some of your pours on Facebook. Please tag me.

  11. You are an excellent writer. Really enjoy your conversational style. Your articles are very fun to read and I feel like we could be best friends. Great helpful content too. Thanks!

    1. rohojournal, Thanks so much for that lovely compliment. I’ve got a smile from ear to ear that won’t go away. You have totally made my day. Please send me a friend request. 😘

  12. Your tips will be very helpful to me as I have had one pouring failure after another and cannot get cells at all but now I think that the tip about letting the paint and medium marry up for a while is a very good one as I have never let the paint and medium sit for long because i become too enthusiastic and start pouring immediately and just ruin it all! I have also watched so many “how to” videos on this subject that i have a huge amount of confusion going on in my head so I will do as suggested in you tips, just relax and find something that works and stick to that. I have all the colors in existence also and have made a huge investment in art supplies just for pouring and have managed to add a lot of clutter to my small basement where i try to paint and now the clutter is driving me crazy as it is very distracting. All of this just takes time to learn and if one does actually learn from one’s own mistakes then I will be an expert one day.
    Thank you for the great tips.

    1. Jeanne, thank you for the kind words. I’m glad my article has helped you see through the fog. Just remember, we’ve ALL been there, done that. You are not alone.

  13. Thank you! I have experienced some of the same, yet you warned of a few I’d not yet encountered. Your tips offset the so-called negativity that you were worried about so KUDOS for posting anyway. We all need to know that we’re not alone…somehow it’s comforting to know others make mistakes too…even artists, like you. So again, THANK YOU! Great article!

  14. This was sooo me 2 years ago when I started pouring! I thought my first pour was fabulous! Really?? Yuck!!! Love your color wheel video! Boy did I have some muddy pours ! All 10 mistakes are right on!!!
    I’ve come a long way watching hundreds of YouTube videos & joining pouring groups on Facebook! I now have a pouring page & selling! I love adding mixed media like glitter, stones & glitter with my resin!
    Thank you!!!!!

    1. Kathy – I love it when I find people who’ve experienced the same (mistakes) things I have. Doesn’t make me feel so foolish. Glad to hear you are selling. Congratulations!

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