Paint Pouring For Beginners: Follow Along as I Craft My “Debut” Piece!


So now I am finally going to do my first official fluid (or “pour” painting.) Yay me! And yay you, if you’re looking to do the same!

I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile now and kind of put it off because, well, life, but that’s OK, We’re ready and that’s what counts. So pull up a chair and follow along as I carry out my first “debut”.

I’m working on my desk, I have it covered up with protective paper since this will be a messy endeavor. I also have spread out a few trash bags over it as I’m thinking that any paint runoff could be used to create another painting, and since paint will just bead off of something like plastic trash bags, there you go. These are all my materials. Refer to my supply list from earlier so you don’t miss anything.

fluid painting for beginners
Materials List

  • One canvas (smaller is best when getting started)
  • Thumbtacks
  • About 4-6 tubes/bottles of acrylic paint in your color preferences
  • Gloves for protection
  • Painting medium(I’m using Floetrol)
  • Kitchen scale
  • Disposable cups
  • Silicone oil

Better yet have a look at these complete sets with all of the tools included – it will save you time.

Start with about 3-5 colors. Also you need to include white and black paint in the entourage. I’m using warm tones in red, orange, a yellow orange and yellow. I had to narrow it down a little and eliminate a couple of the light oranges as I was a little concerned that the color blend would be too similar.


First take your canvas and insert a pushpin or thumbtack on the bottom corners, like this. This will elevate the painting since the wet paint will run over the sides (which we DO want, by the way and that will permit it easily.)  If you don’t have thumbtacks you could elevate the canvas with additional Dixie cups.

preparing canvas for fluid painting

Mixing the Colors

Now comes the preliminary step – mixing the products together to get the right consistency for spreading out in all of the unique patterns.  Dispense the different paint colors one by one, into each cup, after accounting for the black and white ones, you should have a total of 6-7 cups filled with individual colors.

First off….the color ratios. One part paint – One part of the painting medium – One half part water.

Now we’re going to start by pouring a little of the painting medium into the first cup. This part is not totally necessary, but you can use your scale to be sure amounts are approximate. That’s why it would be a good idea to use transparent cups or containers so you can see if they are all evenly distributed. I’m using a postal scale, even though a kitchen one would be more apropos, but it’s what I’ve got at the moment.

This may be a good time to put your gloves on too. You’ll see why pretty shortly. Dispense a little of the first color in one of the cups you’ve set up.Stir with the blending stick.

Add the small amount of water I mentioned earlier. Commence stirring again, and now to test for the right consistency. To do this take your stick and let some of the paint run down to the end and fall back into the cup, if it does so without creating a mound, it’s just right.

mixing paint and floetrol

Now we are going to add a few drops of the oil which will help to create the “cells” in the final work. Only add about 4-5 drops. Stir again. Now repeat these steps with each of the other colors, don’t forget the white and black too.

The result should look something like this…

acrylic paints mixed with medium and oil

One more final step before we begin, and that is to prime our canvas. Take the white paint mixture and brush on a coat. This will make the blending and movement of the paint easier.

Starting the Pour!

Ok, we’re finally ready to make some magic happen!

We’re going to start with the “straight pour” approach. There are a number of different techniques out there with fluid painting and I should be going over them in subsequent posts but for this we’ll begin with the simplest approach.

Start pouring your paint directly from each cup, try to adhere to a pattern, you can do something like stripes of alternating colors, or circular drops. Now take the black (or another contrasting color that is much darker than the others) and go over it with thinner drips in the opposite direction:

straight pour fluid painting

This will make it look more interesting. add it in smaller increments so as not to ruin the effect.It does look kind of blobby,  but as you’re about to see the effects will be great.

Tilt your canvas sideways and long. Watch how it flows (and marvel at the sight!) When you are satisfied with how it looks…also let it run down the sides too, use your knife and scrape any loose paint that runs off the bottom, and if any paint is need to cover any white spots left behind.

Since I’ve got a long canvas (12″ x 20″ I think) I had to balance between tilting in lengthwise and width-wise. Here it is, at last…

finished fluid painting

Use the Runoff Paint to Create More Art!

If you’ve got paint drippings left behind, don’t waste that stuff! Paint’s not cheap peeps! What I’m going to do is get my small canvases (8 x 10 size) and turn them upside down and push them into the runoff, and create an offshoot mini-masterpiece from that paint left behind. Now I’ve got 2 for the price of 1!

what to do with paint left from paint pour
Well, to be honest I did one mini painting with the drip runoff but the other I decided to do another pour with what was left in the cups….I’m quite pleased with that one if I do say so myself. Can you tell which is which?

paint pours from drips

Letting Your Fluid Paintings Dry

It may take as long as 24-48 hours for it to dry. So you will need to find a safe place to keep it in the meantime. Definitely keep something like wax paper under it if any more drips fall in the interim. During that time I can’t take a chance that one of my mischievous cats may defile it, so I’m hiding it in the safest place I can think of to dry undisturbed. Which is on top of the refrigerator. Uhh, scratch that. The cats do get on top of that, too. Or at least they have before.

My “debut” painting will go right in the closet…It may smell it up a little but I want it to be safe. Spoiler alert: I was WRONG…You’re not going to believe what happened here!

Pin Me, Friend!

paint pouring for beginners


Well, that went better than expected. A few takeaways for next time….

I need to spread out the paint closer to the edge as it didn’t spread out all the way like it should have.

Very little development of cells….Don’t know if that is because I didn’t use true silicone oil (although I have heard that other oils still work)

Nevertheless I did have fun and I know they will look great all three paintings hung next to each other.

Well I hope this post has been helpful for you if you’re ready to do your first paint pour. Good luck to you, and godspeed, and don’t forget to let me know how it goes!

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