Tired of painting with acrylic paint? Then try acrylic casting! We have a guide and tips on the acrylic pouring trend.
If clean brushstrokes aren’t your thing, acrylic pouring might be the thing. With acrylic pouring, the acrylic paint is not painted on paper or canvas, but rather poured out. The flow of colors creates fantastic shapes that are reminiscent of a colorful cosmos and fit perfectly with the ongoing galaxy trend of recent years.
The great thing is that you don’t need any special art knowledge to cast acrylic. A willingness to experiment and a passion for color are the only skills that are required. In addition, you shouldn’t be afraid of an unrestrained mess, because Acrylic Pouring is not just a mess. Therefore, always have a large surface ready and put on old clothes.
How acrylic casting works in detail and which material you need for it, you can find out in the article. We dealt with the Art therapist and painter Carina Klein who created simple step-by-step instructions for acrylic pouring for us.
In addition to tips and creative ideas, she also shows how to waste less acrylic in order to make the pouring technique more sustainable.
You need this material for acrylic casting
First of all, you need something that you want to decorate with the acylic pouring principle. That can be a piece Cardboard, MDF or a canvas his. We would advise against classic paper because the many colors are too heavy and the paper sheet could soak through. If you like, you can also pour the colors onto plastic objects and use them to decorate jewelry boxes.
That brings us to the second essential accessory: Acrylics. Professional painter Carina recommends not to choose cheap paints, as they often contain fewer pigments and do not dry as decoratively as high-quality acrylic paints. But it doesn’t have to be expensive premium paints either, because you use plenty of them when you pour.
Tip: For beautiful effects you should use at least three different colors in the mix. The higher the contrasts, the more impressive the fluid painting. You can also set great accents with metallic colors or mixed in craft glitter.
The third ingredient that can’t be missing when casting acrylic is a Pouring medium. So something that liquefies the acrylic paints without making them matt and cracked. That would be the case with pure water, for example. A cheap alternative to professional pouring fluids is vinyl glue (here on Amazon) *. It is transparent itself, binds the pigments and maintains the depth of color.
Tip: The mixing ratio of pouring medium and acrylic is around 3: 1 – for every three parts of pouring adhesive, only one part of paint gets onto the stretcher. You can read more about this in the step-by-step instructions below.
>> Here you can buy a set of acrylic paints and pouring medium from Amazon. *
For a clear cell formation as in the picture above you have to add a secret ingredient to your acrylic paint in addition to the pouring medium: Silicone oil (here at Amazon) *. Just a few drops of the transparent oil are enough to conjure up bubble patterns in the flowing color.
Tip: Some artists also swear by hair oil to make cells when casting acrylic. It is especially important that the hair oil contains silicones such as dimethicone (here on Amazon) *.
Fun fact: If you feel sick or dizzy looking at the microscopic cells, you probably have trypophobia just like me. What it’s all about, you can read here: The fear of holes and me in the middle.
Here is a list of materials and tools for acrylic pouring:
- Canvas (alternatively boxes or boxes)
- Vinyl adhesive (pouring fluid)
- Silicone oil (or hair oil with dimethicone)
- Glasses, cups or mugs
- Spoons, brush handles or wooden sticks to stir
- Wrapping paper or plastic to cover it
- Old clothes or smocks to put on
- Thick-headed thumbtacks
Tip: Pins the thumbtacks to the underside of the stretcher as feet. They serve as spacers to the floor and prevent the liquid image from sticking to the surface. It is important that the canvas is level, otherwise the colors will continue to flow down.
In the video: 4 tricks for hanging up children’s drawings decoratively
Also read: It’s so easy to make picture frames yourself
Step-by-step instructions for acrylic casting
There are basically two methods of acrylic casting. Once the puddle pouring and once the dirty pouring. With puddle pour you put the colors diluted with glue individually on the picture, while with dirty pour all colors land together on the canvas. That makes for more fun, but it’s also the bigger mess.
Here are the exact step-by-step pouring instructions.
Step 1: First of all, you should cover a large area of your work surface with old garbage bags, paper or foil and put on clothes that are allowed to get dirty.
Step 2: Now pour a little of each color into a separate container and then put a little more than the same amount of vinyl adhesive in each glass. Stir the individual mixtures well with a clean spoon and add a little (!) Water if necessary. Finally, a sip of silicone oil follows.
Professional tip on the mixing ratio: The pouring color has the right consistency if it is thinner than yoghurt but thicker than milk.
Step 3: It’s about preparing the painting surface. Raises the frame from behind with thumbtacks and places it as horizontally as possible on the surface. A spirit level can help here. You can coat the edges of the canvas with a mixture of white acrylic paint and glue – this increases the flow force and your paint then runs down nicely over the edges.
Step 4: Now you can pour the colors individually from their cups next to and on top of each other onto the painting surface. The puddle pouring variant has the advantage that the gradient of the colors can be better controlled.
If you want to be surprised by the pouring effect, you alternately fill the colors in a large container. As with the marble cake, you then go through the colors with a small stick. Caution: do not stir too much in the paint, otherwise you will mix the tones too much.
Step 5: With variant number two (puddle pouring) you now place your canvas on the vessel with the colors including vinyl adhesive and turn both over with each other. Wait a moment, then you can pull up the vessel and watch what patterns are forming in the paint.
If you are dissatisfied with the flow of paint, you can lift the canvas and carefully tilt it so that the paint runs into the corners and (if you want to cover the entire surface) over the edge. Then lay it flat again and let it dry well – depending on the thickness of the layers of paint, this can take several days.
Tip: You should be patient when drying. To shorten the process, it is best to distribute the paint evenly and as thinly as possible on the canvas. Thick paint not only takes longer to dry, it is also prone to cracking. Never let the pouring artwork dry in the sun or near a heater – the dry air often causes the paint to burst.
As soon as your acrylic work of art is completely dry, you can coat it with gloss varnish (here on Amazon) * so that the colors shine nicely after drying. Once the varnish has dried, you are finally finished and can hang up your painting.
>> Matt lacquer with UV protection for your hanging works of art is available here on Amazon. *
Pro tip: You can paint image areas that you find less successful with something representational. The imaginative paintings are also great as a background for collage art. And if you are not at all happy with the result, you can simply use the picture again for the pouring technique after it has dried.
Three ideas for creative acrylic casting
As if the pure flow of color during acrylic casting wasn’t enough to make every artist’s heart beat faster, we want to show you three simple WOW effects for your fluid art.
1. Let the colors flow against each other
Instead of a container with color mixing, prepare two pieces of it. Place both mixing cups on the canvas and pull them away at the same time (flip cup) so that the masses of paint collide directly. They should then flow apart to the sides in a decorative wave effect.
Tip: You can increase the bleeding of the paint by heating the back of the canvas with a hair dryer. You should still keep the part in a horizontal balance.
2. Show blobs of color as the center of the picture
Too much paint on a canvas is not yours? Simply coat most of the painting surface with a mixture of white acrylic paint and vinyl adhesive. Then you put your moderately filled pouring vessel on the edge or in the middle. The blob of paint spreads within the set limits.
Tip: For sharply outlined pour contours, we recommend using the silicone oil for the cells only on brightly colored acrylic paint. The so-called non-colors black and white are best left oil-free to frame the pattern.
3. Work on liquid acrylic paint with a scraper
As with icing on a cake, you can use a scraper or a repurposed piece of cardboard to “scratch” decorative patterns in the liquid paint film. Lines, spider webs or spirals underline the psychedelic effect of acrylic pouring pictures and can highlight individual areas of the picture.
Tip: When casting acrylic, experiment with fluorescent noctilucent paint. Set off in the incorporated patterns, the effect comes into its own in the dark.
>> You can order noctilucent pigments to stir in as a powder here at Amazon. *
So you can make Acrylic Pouring more sustainable
When pouring, a lot of precious color ends up next to the picture. This is not only a real mess, but also a waste. Artist Carina Klein has some great tricks up her sleeve on how to make acrylic pouring more sustainable.
Tip 1: Instead of plastic cups, it’s best to use normal glasses to mix the colors. They can simply be rinsed out and reused.
Tip 2: Place a large tub under your canvas to catch the paint flowing down. For example, you can dunk in paper that you use to wrap gifts, as stationery, or for other DIY projects.
Tip 3: Touched too much paint? Don’t throw them away, put them in lockable jars. The paint stays airtight for a while and is available for new pouring experiments or handicrafts.
Paint residues shouldn’t just be thrown in the trash, because that’s bad for the environment. It is better to wipe the paint off the glass with kitchen paper, let it dry and then dispose of it.
We hope we were able to inspire you to a new hobby and wish you lots of fun with acrylic casting!