Acrylic Pouring

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Cost - Varies

Ready to pour your heart out?

This date is a little more involved to get started, but my husband and I have had so much fun doing this over and over that I had to include it. We've even done it as a double date a couple of times and enjoyed teaching other people to do it too. I do not recommend this activity for children under 5, and ages 6- 10 may need a lot of assistance depending on the child. However, this is a blast for family fun if you have older kids.

Let's start by talking about some supplies.

Some stores sell pricey pouring sets with most of what you need to get started. You can always take this route, but you certainly don't have to.

It's a good idea to have a pouring medium. This is something to mix with the paint to keep it from drying too fast, and to help it slip and slide nicely over the canvas. You can use a combination of Elmer's Glue and water mixed, or you can buy something called Floetrol. (I've even seen glue mixed with Floetrol.). If you go with the glue option you'll want to use distilled water so your paintings don't grow weird mold or fungus down the road. I personally prefer Floetrol to start out. They sell a good size, but smaller bottle at Lowe's.

Next you need some acrylic paint. Unless you want to become professional, I recommend the 50¢ brand at Walmart which will work perfectly well for your date night and keep this budget friendly. You can pick as many or few colors as you like, but white and black and some primary colors are your basics.

Pouring gets messy fast. For a cheep quick and easy clean up we like to use disposable table cloths. You can get these from your local dollar store or sometimes find them in packs of even less elsewhere. You'll also want some disposable plastic gloves for your hands. Unless you are pouring at a table you can leave undisturbed for a day or two, you'll also need something to place your painting on to dry. A broken down cardboard box or some newspaper set up somewhere is an easy solution. Just get it ready in advance so it's all set when you need it.

You can pour using just a medium and paint, However, if you can spend a little more it's a lot of fun to buy some silicone oil. They sell this at Hobby lobby under the name Cell Magic. A few drops of this oil mixed into each color will give you some really fun effects called cells.

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After you set up your drop cloth, and get your gloves on you are ready to mix your paint. I recommend a 2:1 ratio of pouring medium to paint for beginners; in other words, 1/3 of the cup is paint, the other 2/3 is your medium. Mix each color in a cup using a popsicle stick. If you are using silicone oil add a few drops to one or more colors now and mix it in well.

Now you need your canvas. You can buy some cheep ones at Walmart. A couple of thumb tacks placed in the back corners can help lift your paint up and help you cover the edges nicely but even they are optional. Now it's time to choose a pouring technique. I've included several videos below to give you some ideas of different styles and techniques you can use.

I recommend watching a few videos before you really get started so you have some ideas in mind.

YouTube is full of videos with ideas and tutorials for different pours. At the end of the day there really isn't a wrong way to go about it. You don't have to be ready to sell these to an art gallery. This is about letting your creativity flow, and trying new things together.

Your shopping List:

Depending on the video you watch they may mention other supplies. You can always buy more things, but this shopping list includes the bare basics to get you pouring, and is really all you NEED for a great date night.

  • Pouring medium (Floetrol, or glue and distilled water)

  • Acrylic paints

  • A disposable table cloth

  • Plastic cups- one per/color and others for combining in depending on the pour style

  • Popsicle sticks - one for each color

  • Plastic gloves

  • 2 + Canvases

  • Carboard, newspaper, or disposable pans/trays for drying on

  • Silicone oil (optional)

  • 8 Thumb tacks (optional)

Non essential bonus items

  • A pallete knife - Though you can use another popsicle stick in it's place

  • Blow dryer for Dutch pouring

  • Small torch to get bubbles out

Here are a couple videos to get you started:

Artist Olga Soby has an entire playlist called "Acrylic Pouring for beginners" that can give you some great ideas an tips.

If you want some very step by step instruction try "Fluid Painting with a Beginner - How To Tutorial Dirty Pour with Swipe Technique"

Remember that there really is no wrong way to go about this.
Have fun and do your own thing.

Make memories first, art second.