Colander paint pour

Colander paint pour DEFAULT

Last year, any fluid artist who had openly shared their love of pouring with Facebook family and friends likely found themselves tagged many, many times on the same video – the colander pour!

When we say you can pour with or on just about anything, we really do mean it; a simple kitchen staple like a colander can help you create standout art and really enhance your pieces

colander pour picture

What is a Colander?

colander pour what is a colander

It occurs to us that a lot of people don’t use the word “colander” to describe a common kitchen tool; a strainer. We’re talking about a pasta strainer that has holes, not mesh. You can find colanders pretty much anywhere that kitchen supplies are sold, including dollar stores, which makes this a pretty thrifty buy.

What is a Colander Pour?

Essentially, the colander pour is exactly what it sounds like: you pour your paint through the colander and manipulate the paint and colander to create beautiful pieces!

There are a few ways that you can create using the colander pour technique:

Dirty cup: if you like to combine all of your colors into one cup and then pour, you can definitely do that using the colander technique! If you choose to use a dirty cup, we recommend layering your colors in thicker layers to avoid an excess of color mixing.

Clean cup: if you prefer to add one color at a time, that’s also possible with a colander pour. We especially love pouring colors one at a time through different sections of the strainer; you can create some really cool designs this way!

What Kind of Paint Should I Use for a Colander Pour?

You can use craft or professional acrylic paint for a colander pour; basically, the same paint you’d use for any other pour painting. We recommend that you don’t use heavier paints like Liquitex Heavy Body paint, they tend to be a bit too thick to flow properly (or require a lot of medium). 

Paints that work well with colander pour:

  • FolkArt Craft Acrylics – You can also use the glitter colors, but we recommend testing on a smaller piece first, as some of FolkArt’s glitter acrylics are very, very thick.
  • Liquitex Basics 
  • Artists Loft
  • Arteza Acrylics
  • DecoArt Multi-Surface
  • Blick Studio Acrylic

Many of these paints are available through Amazon, or directly through the supplier’s website. 

What Kind of Medium Should I Use for a Colander Pour? 

colander pour floetrol

You can use any kind of medium you would normally use for a colander pour. Some mediums that our artists recommend:

If you’re not sure which medium to use or how much you should use or can’t get the consistency of your paint mixture quite right, check out our blog for helpful articles!

Does My Paint Need to be Thinner for a Colander Pour?

Your paint does not need to be any thinner than your typical pouring consistency. This being said, you’ll want to strive for the optimum flow; a mixture that resembles warm honey. Essentially, you want a mixture that’s free of clumps and lumps, and flows easily off of your stirring utensil when you pull it out.

Consistency is important for a colander pour, but so is proper medium and paint mixing. Because you’re using a strainer, any large lumps will likely be caught in the holes; however, this means an interruption in the symmetrical pattern created by the colander. 

To avoid lumps in your paint, we recommend straining mediums like Floetrol through a fine-mesh paint strainer before you mix the Floetrol with your paint. You should also check your paint prior to mixing with your medium to make sure the paint is still good, and not separated. Paint can (and does) go bad – a quick check before you start painting can help you avoid clumpiness later on!

Do I Leave the Colander ON the Canvas or Pull it Right Off?

The answer is yes. You can do either!

If you pull the colander directly off after pouring your paint into it, you’ll see less color mixing; we still recommend pulling it off slowly so that you don’t waste a lot of paint by leaving it in the colander. Pulling the colander off of your canvas relatively quickly will still give you some unique swirling with slightly crisper lines.

However, leaving the colander on the canvas for a few minutes is beneficial too. When you pour the paint into the colander, you’ll see that the paint slowly works its way out of the holes (which is the point). The speed at which it moves is directly related to how fast you pour the paint in. If you leave the colander on the canvas for a few minutes instead of dumping and pulling, you will see more intricate patterns and swirls. You may also see more color mixing too, so there is a fine line when it comes to how long to leave the colander on.

How Quickly Should I Pour the Paint into the Colander?

Here’s something to consider; the speed at which you pour the paint inside of the colander itself. 

We know from layering paint in a dirty cup that pouring speed and height make a difference in color mixing; pouring your colors in very quickly all together can cause more color mixing. It’s the same when you pour your paint into a colander using a dirty cup. If you have a beautifully layered cup, but then simply dump it into the middle of your colander, you’re likely to see some muddiness in the final product.

You don’t have to pour at a glacial pace, but a steady, careful pour will help you minimize unwanted color mixing.

What Surfaces Can I Pour on With a Colander Pour?

There are a lot of great surfaces that work perfectly with the colander pour!

  • Round MDF or Canvas: Your paint will naturally exit the colander in a circle, so a round piece of MDF or canvas can really help those circular patterns stand out. Using a circular piece will also help you preserve the patterns you create, instead of having them slide off of sharp corners.
  • Large tree slices (circular): If you love a rustic look, live edge wood slices are the way to go! You can tape off the live edge first, and then pour on them. If you choose to do this, you can leave the wood unsealed which will result in a darker final product once the paint seeps into the wood, or you can seal it to retain the vibrance of your colors.
  • Circular cutting boards: This is a great technique to use if you want to create interesting serving trays! Most wooden cutting boards are already sealed, so you do not need to re-seal them before pouring.
  • Turntable or “Lazy Susan”: Creating a colander pour on a turntable will result in a vibrant centerpiece – plus, the ability to twist the surface quickly can result in some really incredible patterns!

We’ve listed a number of circular surfaces here, but you can use square surfaces too; as with most pouring techniques, there really isn’t much of a limit on what you can pour on! It may be tricky using this technique on 3D objects though – we’d love to see your 3D colander pours if you’ve created one!

What Size Colander Should I Use?

There’s really no rules on what size colander you should use, but if you want to create patterns that will stay on your surface, it’s a good idea to choose a colander that’s at least a few inches smaller in diameter than your pouring surface. 

Let’s Pour!

How To Create a Colander Pour: Galaxy Inspiration

In this tutorial, we’ll be demonstrating how to create a colander pour using cyan, magenta, blue and white to create a dreamy galaxyscape! If you have a favorite paint brand or want to mix things up with a different surface, feel free to improvise…and we’d love to see what you do with this recipe!

Materials You’ll Need
colander pour materials
  • Acrylic Paint
    • 3 ounces of cyan
    • 3 ounces of magenta
    • 3 ounces of blue or purple
    • 2 ounces of white
  • Floetrol
    • You’ll need 6 ounces each for the cyan, magenta, and blue (or purple)
    • You’ll need 4 ounces of medium for the white
  • Pouring Surface: in this tutorial, we’ll be using a 12 inch Birch round from Lowe’s. 
  • Colander: we chose a <<INSERT SIZE>>
  • Mixing Cups
    • You’ll need 5 mixing cups: one for each color, and one for layering
    • Optional: use an extra cup to pour your medium into first, making it easy to check for lumps and easier to dispense the medium into the cups when you’re ready
    • You’ll also want at least 4 cups to overturn and use as props for your birch round
  • Stirring Utensils (popsicle sticks work great)
  • Gloves
  • Paper Towels
  • Protection for your work surface….this is going to get messy!
  • A scrap piece of cardboard or another firm, flat material to catch drips from the colander after you lift it.

How to Create the Galaxy Inspired Colander Pour

Step 1: Prepare Your Work Surface

Pouring is messy; that’s a fact! It’s important to protect your work surface before you get started. You can do this by placing a sheet of aluminum foil or plastic wrap on your surface; you’ll want enough protection to catch drips of paint, so it’s important to protect at least four additional inches of surface on each side of your round.

At this time, it’s also a good idea to set up all of the things you’ll need so that you don’t have to search for them later on. Once your gloves go on, and paint is measured, there’s a chance that you’ll transfer paint from your gloves onto other household items. Set up your stirring utensils, cups, and prop up your round first!

Step 2: Glove Up and Measure Up!

Now it’s time for those gloves – protect your skin! Once you’ve got gloves on, measure approximately 3 ounces of cyan, magenta and blue into separate cups, and 2 ounces of white its own cup. If you’re using an extra cup to pour in some Floetrol to check for lumps, now is the time to do that too.

Step 3: Mix, Mix, Mix

It really can’t be overstated; mixing your paint and medium is the most important part of this whole process. Pour approximately 6 ounces of Floetrol into the cyan, magenta and blue, and 4 ounces into the white. Using a separate stirring stick for each color, gently mix each color with the medium until it’s fully incorporated. You’ll know that the paint and medium are fully incorporated once there are no longer any white swirls or pockets in your paint. 

It’s difficult to tell when white and Floetrol are mixed because they’re the same color; our best advice is to mix for at least 5 minutes, taking special care to scrape the sides of the cup and move paint from the bottom of the cup to the top. 

When you’re mixing, do so steadily and without pulling your stirring utensil out multiple times. Mixing vigorously and moving the stirring utensil in and out of the paint will introduce air into the mixture, which will then produce bubbles.

Step 4: Layer Your Paint & Pour Your White

Grab your layering cup and slowly layer your colors into the cup by tilting the layering cup slightly to the side and pouring your mixed paints down the side of the cup. If you pour your paint gently down the inside wall of the cup, it will gently settle onto your other paints and be less likely to sink through your other colors. Since the colors will be mixing quite a bit in the colander, keeping your colors somewhat unmixed in the layering cup can help you avoid muddiness.

Once you’ve layered your paints, pour your white paint and medium mixture onto the center of your birch round. You can then gently spread out the white paint with a stirring stick, or tilt the board to move it if you like; or you can leave it as a fluffy white pillow. That’s up to you!

Step 5: Place Your Colander and Pour

Once you’ve got your white on the birch round, place your colander directly in the middle of the round. Then, grab your layered cup and slowly start pouring the paint into the middle of the colander. Pouring into the middle of the colander will produce a more symmetrical pattern; if you aren’t looking for a symmetrical pattern, you can pour the paint in a circular pattern instead. 

Step 6: Lift the Colander & Catch the Drips

Once you have fully emptied your layering cup into the colander, wait a few moments until you see that the paint coming out of the strainer holes has slowed. Then, gently lift the colander straight up off of the birch round, holding it an inch or two above the paint to allow excess paint to flow out. 

After the majority of the paint has come out, or enough has come out to your liking, hold the colander with one hand and then slip your piece of scrap cardboard directly underneath it to catch any excess drips before moving the colander completely off the birch round. 

Step 7: Manipulate

colander pour manipulate

Using circular tilting motions, begin to manipulate the paint in a rotating motion to move it to the edges. Do this gently to avoid extra mixing, or breaking up of swirls and patterns. If you manipulate the birch round slowly, you can keep the symmetrical, round features of your pour.

Manipulate the piece slowly and gently until the paint has reached the outer edge and dripped over. Because the paint has been poured into the middle, you’ll want to make sure that you manipulate until you have an even coat of paint covering the surface to avoid cracking/crazing later on. 

Step 8: Pre-Clean Your Piece and be Patient

Once you’re done manipulating the piece, you’ll then want to place it back on the overturned cups that you were using to prop it up. Using a gloved finger, gently run your finger underneath the piece to smooth out any under-drips. Optional: you can always use painter’s tape on the underside of your piece before painting if you do not want any excess paint on the back. 

Now, you wait! We recommend waiting at least 4 weeks before sealing a pour, but your pour will be safe to move and store flat after a few days, as long as the surface of the paint appears dry.

Why do we say four weeks? Paint is a master of illusion – it can look dry, but that doesn’t mean it’s cured. Your paint essentially has two layers; the top layer, which you see, and the bottom layer which you don’t see. The top layer will dry faster than the bottom layer, and it forms a sort of skin; which is the dry part that you see. However, under that skin is wet (or at last damp) paint. Polycrylic, resin and other sealers are pretty magical, but they don’t hold up if the material underneath them is wet; don’t sacrifice your whole painting because you can’t wait to see what it looks like when it’s sealed!

Final Thoughts

Don’t you love how creative the acrylic pouring community is? Most of us wouldn’t have thought to grab a colander to pour through, but the artists who create pieces using acrylic pouring have the vision to try new techniques all the time! That’s why we say; there are no limits to acrylic pouring. As long as it’s not alive and it belongs to you, pour on it, or with it! And make sure to show us all of your experiments, successes and fails (we like to call those lessons) in our Facebook Group.


How to Use a Colander for Acrylic Pour Painting

Love abstract art? Acrylic pour painting is my absolute favorite way to create it easily. Everyone loved to fingerpaint when they were a kid because you were allowed to mix your colors all together in an abstract pattern without worrying that it didn’t look like something. Acrylic pour painting lets you do the same without getting the paint all over your hands!

I used the acrylic pour technique to paint furniture and other pieces for my home many times but just to add even more abstract patterns, I set out to design a painted canvas using a colander to see the flow paint pattern it created. I used an acrylic pour medium and water to thin and add movement to my paint and shine to the dried artwork. Don’t be afraid to give this easy project a try- combine your favorite colors and see what you can create yourself!

You Will Need:

  • Artist Canvas (Can Use Two)
  • Primer or Sealer (Gesso) for Preparing Surface
  • Dropcloth or plastic sheeting
  • Floetrol or other Acrylic Pour Medium
  • Artists’ Loft Flow Acrylics Paint
  • Water
  • Colander
  • Spray sealant for Acrylic Paint

Step 1: Prepare Your Surface

Before adding paint, I prepared my canvas with gesso and primer. Both of these materials help my paint adhere to the canvas better and increase the durability and longevity of the artwork. You can find a pre-primed canvas that is ready for paint if you want to save the time of this step, but it will typically be a little more expensive. If you are painting on a canvas, you can prevent paint waste by placing a second canvas underneath it to catch runoff and actually produce two paintings. When the canvas dried, I placed a colander in the center. 

Step 2: Protect the Painting Area

I was painting in a workshop but to prevent a huge mess from the pouring paints, place a drop cloth or plastic sheeting underneath the painting area to catch the paint that will fall. This is another reason why the second canvas is a great idea but the dropcloth may eventually turn into a painting you want to display!

Step 3: Mix Paint for Pour

I combined a pouring medium (floetrol) acrylic paints, and water in several separate bottles for my project. I mixed 5 parts floetrol, 3 parts paint, and 2 parts water in each container. The floetrol or pouring medium you choose should thin and give movement to the acrylic paint. It also helps the paint dry with a brilliant shine and is responsible for creating what looks like cells on the surface of the poured paint. After completing the project, I recommend that you use a ratio with slightly more floetrol and water to create thinner paint because it has to seep through the colander and would benefit from less thickness.

Step 4: Start Acrylic Pour

I slowly poured paint, one paint color at a time into the center of the colander. Pour only enough for the center to be covered and give it a chance to start dripping through the colander before pouring the next color on top of it. I poured the colors in this order: Yellow, red, blue, yellow, blue, white, black, turquoise, white, red, yellow, royal blue, white, black, white, royal blue, and a final drop of white. Choose several of your favorite colors and don’t worry about how they look side by side because there is no way to predict how they will combine in the artwork and that is the beauty of the process.

Step 5: Lift Colander

When I was sure that the majority of the paint was through the colander, I carefully lifted the colander straight up and away from my flowing paint surface to reveal an incredible paint pattern below. You can’t wait too long to do this because the paint is flowing on the canvas below.

Step 6: Move Painted Surface

I lifted my canvas and gently tilted it side to side as the paint flowed from the center outward. I always prefer to maintain the very strong center pattern as much as possible and I moved my canvas around keeping that in the center several times. When the paint is about to touch your hands, turn the surface in the opposite direction. The paint will be dripping off the canvas and so having a second canvas to catch the runoff is a great idea. Move and tilt until your surface is covered with the amount of pattern and paint that you want.

Step 7: Dry

The canvas was covered with a ton of paint in a very thick layer and I allowed for ample drying time before sealing it. Be careful when handling the canvas because if the paint is too thick it may crack.

Step 8: Seal and Protect

I used a gloss finish acrylic spray sealant and covered the dried paint to preserve the colors and protect the artwork from fading, discoloration, or chips. Spray the sealant evenly over your canvas and let it dry thoroughly. The finished product will have a diamond-like shine both from the pouring medium and the spray sealant.

My canvas came out better than I imagined using a colander for my acrylic pour painting project. I love dreaming up color combinations and watching how they interact on the surface in mesmerizing, flowing, patterns and shapes and this one did not disappoint! This is a no-fail, simple project that anyone can give a try and instantly love their results. Trust me, once you try acrylic pour painting you will want to do it again. Use two canvases and give this project a try; you’ll have one to keep, and one to give away as a gift.

Have you tried the acrylic pour painting technique and loved the unique and beautiful result? Share your works of art and find inspiration for easy DIY projects for your home at Hometalk! 

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9 Basic and Advanced Acrylic Pouring Techniques to Try Today

Artist creating a poured acrylic painting

Acrylic Pouring can seem like a deceptively simple painting technique, but it can be a tricky thing to master! After all, pouring can be done in all sorts of ways, and the results can be dramatically different. If you’re a pouring newbie, don’t worry! These 9 acrylic pouring techniques will make you a pouring master in no time!

If you’re just starting out with acrylic pouring it can seem like a fairly simple technique. It is, at its simplest, just pouring fluid acrylic paint onto a canvas or board. However, artists can quickly become frustrated. Mixes quickly become muddy and their paint doesn’t behave as they thought it would – resulting in drab colours and wasted canvas. Learning a few useful techniques will introduce you to the workings of acrylic pouring and help you to get used to acrylic pour paint’s unique qualities. This way you’ll be able to create poured paintings time and time again with accuracy and predictability. There’s nothing more satisfying than creating your own poured acrylic painting with an ultra smooth surface and colours that pop!

Acrylic Poured Painting on a pentagonal canvas fluid art

If you’re brand new to acrylic pouring you may want to check out The Beginners Guide to Acrylic Pouring. This post gives a great overview of the types of paint you will need to use and the basics of using a pouring medium. The techniques below use paints that are pre-mixed with pouring medium. You can find out more about how to mix your paint with pouring medium by following the underlined link.

The Traditional Pour

the traditional acrylic pouring technique

If you break down pour painting to its most basic parts, it is essentially creating fluid colours with pouring medium and pouring them onto a canvas or board. The traditional pour is the most simple pouring technique of all and is straight forward for beginners. It should definitely be your starting point if you have never tried acrylic pouring before! Just follow these few simple steps and you’ll be able to create your first piece of poured artwork.

  1. First you’ll need to select the colours you want to use. It can be tempting to use all your favourites – but try to stick to a palette of a few colours to begin with to avoid your pours getting muddy.
  2. Allocate each colour it’s own paper cup then prepare each colour cup with a paint/pouring medium mix. Some artists choose to work on a wet base coat – so if you want, you can prepare your canvas with layer of fluid colour.
Acrylic Poured Painting Traditional Pour Step 1
  1. Take each colour cup and pour each colour where you want it in your composition.
  2. Once you’ve applied your paints and are happy with your composition you can pick up your canvas and tilt it to encourage your paints to cover the whole canvas. You should notice interesting patterns and puddles developing. You’ll probably find that your composition ends up looking very different from the initial colours you laid down!
Acrylic Poured Painting Traditional Pour Step 2
  1. Once you’re happy with how the painting looks, leave it under a box/tent to dry!
Acrylic Poured Painting Traditional Pour Finished Artwork

This technique allows you the most control over where your colours go and gives some level of predictability in the final outcome. Try it out on a series of small canvases or boards and you will soon get to learn how the poured paint behaves!

The Puddle Pour

puddle pour

The Puddle Pour is an offshoot of the Traditional Pour. Instead of pouring colours in puddles, drips and dribbles across the whole of your canvas you create a series of puddles that incorporate a drop of two of each of your colours. The puddles can be arranged in a linear pattern across the whole of your canvas, or can be added in a more random, polka dot type effect – the choice is up to you!

  1. Begin, as always, by mixing your paints and pouring mediums together. For this method you will need an allocated cup for each colour. You can also prepare your canvas with a white or coloured fluid base coat if you choose.
  2. It’s important to think about how to layer your colours in a puddle pour. The first colour you apply will remain at the bottom of the puddle, so you will need it to be a colour that stands out against your base colour. The darkest colour in your chosen palette should be a good one to opt for. Once you’ve made your decision apply a series of puddles across your canvas. Again, the pattern you choose is entirely up to you!
Acrylic Poured Painting Puddle Pour Step 1
  1. Take your second colour and pour it as close to the centre of the initial puddles you created as you can. Try not to rush this – the quicker you pour the more likely you are to get drips, splashes and bubbles in your pour.
  2. Repeat step 3 for each of the remaining colours. You may also want to repeat colours, or alternate the colours you use in each puddle.
  3. One thing to bear in mind with this technique is that the more paint you pour, the heavier the weight of the paint on your canvas. This can cause paint to pool in the centre. You can tighten the surface beforehand with canvas keys or add a support brace to the back of your canvas. This will help even out your paint film
Acrylic Poured Painting Traditional Pour Step 2
  1. Once you’re happy with the puddles you have created you can begin tilting your canvas to make the paint flow around it’s surface. You should try and get the paint film fairly even to so your painting will dry uniformly.
Acrylic Poured Painting Puddle Pour Finished Artwork

Try some variations of this method by varying your colours, where you pour the paint and you’ll get some great abstract results! This pouring technique and the traditional pouring technique have relatively ‘solid’ colour results. They are a great way to learn how pour paint behaves. As you move onto more advanced techniques you’ll learn more about colour mixing and layering.

The Dirty Pour

dirty pour

The Dirty Pour isn’t too dissimilar from the Traditional pour. Instead of preparing your colours in individual cups, you will put all of your colours into a single cup before pouring. It delivers slightly more unpredictable results than a traditional pour, but is a fairly easy technique to master.

  1. Begin by preparing your paints as you would a traditional pour. To start with you will need to mix them in individual cups.
  2. Next, take one clean paper cup and gradually pour in your pre-mixed colours in successive layers. Bear in mind that the way you pour them in will affect the way they appear on your canvas. Weighty paint will sink to the bottom, while lighter colours will rise to the top. Colours dripped down the inner side of the cup will not be as predominant as a colour that is poured in a thick layer directly in the centre. If you pour quickly the colour will be forced to the bottom, while slower poured colours will be closer to the top.
Acrylic Poured Painting Dirty Pour Step 1
  1. Once you’re happy with the colours in your cup gently pour the colours from your cup and onto your canvas. This can be done in any sort of pattern you want – just make sure the paint film remains even and covers a good portion of your canvas.
Acrylic Poured Painting Dirty Pour Step 2
  1. When all the colour has been added you can pick up your canvas and tilt it to help the colours cover. As the design stretches out you should find that the patterns and puddles in your paint begin to show.
Acrylic Poured Painting Dirty Pour Finished Artwork

This technique can get a few tries to get used to. You’ll need to master the art of filling your cup with paint without having them mix. This can cause muddiness in your final piece. You also have less control over how the paint combines. Try it a few times and vary the way you add colours to your cup. The reward will be a more interesting painting with intricate patterns emerging.

The Flip Cup

flip cup

The Flip Cup technique is an offshoot of the Dirty Pour method. The only difference is that you flip your cup of paint onto your canvas, rather than dribbling colours gradually. This method can take a little practice, and can potentially get messy if you don’t have your materials perfectly balanced!

  1. Start your Flip Cup pour with the two first steps from the Dirty Pour technique. Remember, like with the Dirty Pour, you’ll need to consider how the paints are layered as it will effect the final piece.
  2. Once you’re happy with your paint mixture, place your cup in the middle of your workspace and ensure it is stable. Take your canvas and place it on top of your cup, roughly in the centre with the painting side facing down.
Acrylic Poured Painting Flip Cup Pour Step 1
  1. Hold the back of the canvas with one hand to keep it stable. Use your other hand to keep a firm hold on the cup. You’ll need to carefully flip both the canvas and the cup together without allowing your paint to escape. Your canvas should be facing upwards with the upside down cup resting on top.
  2. Pull the cup away. This can take a bit of force as they can form quite a tight seal with the surface of your canvas. Try to pull the cup away quickly at an angle, rather than pulling up. This will help reduce the chances of stray drips falling on your poured painting.
Acrylic Poured Painting Flip Cup Pour Step 2
  1. Slowly tilt your canvas to encourage the paint to fill every corner of your canvas. The quicker you tilt the more ‘stretched out’ your pour will look. You can use a brush or your fingers to fill in any blank spots at the edges that resist the paint.
Acrylic Poured Painting Flip Cup Pour Finished Artwork

Like the Dirty Pour, this method relies mostly on how your paints are layered within your cup. Try it out with different colours to see how their weight affects the pour. It can be amazing how dramatically different the results can be!

The Colander Pour

colander pour technique

The Colander Pour is the next step up once you’ve mastered the Dirty Pour and the Flip Cup. This more advanced technique uses a standard household colander to create a poured painting with an almost kaleidoscopic effect. This example shows the technique on a circular canvas. The shape echoes the natural shape of the pour as it cascades through the colander. However it can be used on any other shape of canvas!

  1. Prepare your colour mixes and pour them into a single cup – as with the Dirty Pour and Flip Cup.
  2. Place your canvas central in your workspace and place the colander in the centre of your canvas. You can place it in a non-central position on the canvas but bear in mind that your whole design will ‘radiate’ from this point. Moving the position of the colander can dramatically affect the composition.
  3. Take your cup and pour your colour into the centre of the colander.
Acrylic Poured Painting Colander Pour Step 1
  1. Once all your paint has been added you’ll need to slowly lift the colander up and away from the canvas, allowing your colours to drip out.
  2. When the paint stops running lift the colander away from the canvas. You’ll need to try and avoid getting drips from the colander on the surface of your painting.
  3. You should end up with a puddle of kaleidoscopic looking paint sitting on your canvas.
  4. Gently tilt your canvas to encourage the paint to fill the whole of your canvas. If you’re working on a circular canvas it is best to tilt the canvas forward and backward, then spin it gradually along until all the canvas is filled. Once the full canvas has been filled you can encourage the paint to run over the sides of the canvas. It can be a slow process to get the paint to cover – but don’t rush it! It can stretch out your design.
Acrylic Poured Painting Colander Pour Step 2
  1. Once your canvas is full you may find that your original design has warped or shifted somewhat. You can pick up your canvas and tilt it gradually to encourage your design to shift roughly back to the centre of your canvas.
  2. Your painting should have a central colourful bubble and a series of swirls, dots and kaleidoscope like patches made from all the colours you poured. When you’re happy with the composition leave it to dry!
Acrylic Poured Painting Colander Pour Finished Artwork

There are a few things to bear in mind with this technique. A smaller colander will be better for small scale paintings, whereas a larger one is better for large paintings. A colander with fairly large holes is better for this technique. Try out different sized colanders with different sized holes and you can create all kinds of different effects. Some artists working on a very small scale also use sink plug strainers for a similar effect!

The Bottle Pour / Funnel Pour

funnel pouring technique

The Bottle or Funnel Pour makes use of any spare bottles you have hanging around! Be sure not to throw away your next bottle of Pepsi or Fanta – reuse it for this technique! If you already have a funnel then that can be used instead. This technique works similarly to the dirty pour, but the funnel allows you to create an interesting spiral pattern.

  1. Place your canvas central to your workspace and roughly position the funnel where you would like your spiral pattern to radiate out from.
  2. Cover the bottom of the funnel with your hand or finger. This will prevent the paint from running out of the bottom.
Acrylic Poured Painting Funnel Pour Step 1
  1. Gradually pour your pre-mixed paints into the funnel, making sure not to let any of the paint escape. As with the Dirty Pour, you’ll need to think about how your colours layer as it will change how they look in your final pour.
  2. Once you’re happy with the colours in your funnel move it to where you want your spiral to begin. When you’ve found the right position remove your hand or finger and allow the paint to begin pouring out.
  3. As the paint flows out, move it around in a spiral formation around the initial paint puddle. This should create a spiral of colour radiating out from your starting position.
  4. Keep on adding to the spiral until you run out of paint or are happy with the pattern. Once you have finished adding paint carefully lift the funnel away from the canvas, making sure not to create any stray drips or dribbles.
Acrylic Poured Painting Funnel Pour Step 2
  1. Gently tilt your canvas so that the paint moves to fill every corner. You may need to move the paint with your fingers to get it to cover the edges of your canvas.
Acrylic Poured Painting Funnel Pour Finished Artwork

The String Pull Pour

string pull technique

The String Pull Pour is a great technique to try if you’re looking for a more advanced technique. It involves coating a short length of string or twine with paint and arranging it in a coil on a fluid painted background. Pulling the string out creates a floral effect.

  1. Keep your pre-mixed colours in their own separate cups and add a length of string to each one. Make sure to leave a little overhanging so you can easily grab it from the cup. The length of string will need to be an appropriate size for your canvas. Cut a few lengths and hold them to your canvas to work out the size you will need for your design.
  2. Make sure each length of string is thoroughly coated in its respective colour and leave them to one side.
  3. Apply a base of fluid paint to your canvas. This can be any colour you want, but bare in mind it will need to contrast the other colours you have chosen. Pour your base coat and smooth it out with a palette knife.
  4. Take the end of one of your paint saturated strings and coil it around on your painting surface. This can be done in any way you want, but you’ll need to hang the paint-free end of your string over the edge so you can pull it free later.
Acrylic Poured Painting String Pull Pour Step 1
  1. Gradually add all the other bits of paint covered string onto your canvas until you’re happy with the overall composition.
  2. Pull the strings from the edges of your canvas. You’ll need to pull the string from one consistent point to drag the paint down a central line. Hold your hand as steady as possible while you pull to get the best results.
Acrylic Poured Painting String Pull Pour Step 2
  1. Once finished you should be left with a leafy, flower-like impression of each colour on the canvas.
Acrylic Poured Painting String Pull Pour Finished Artwork

This can be quite a tricky technique to master, as the paint consistency needs to be just right to get the best results. It can take a few attempts to perfect, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it is very rewarding!

Balloon Dip Pour

balloon dip

The Balloon Dip Pour is testament to how unpredictable the pouring process can be! The technique initially started more like a printing method. A balloon in dipped into your fluid paint mix and pressed into the surface of the canvas. The technique has changed a little to give more reliable and dramatic results.

  1. Begin by priming your canvas with a layer of mixed acrylic and pouring medium. You can use a palette knife to smooth out the surface. You can also use a palette knife to coat the sides.
  2. Take your pre-mixed colours and drop puddles of colour into the base coat. This can be done in any sort of pattern you want.
Acrylic Poured Painting Balloon Dip Pour Step 1
  1. Gradually build up the puddles until you’re happy with the overall composition. You can add layers of colour like you would in a Puddle Pour, or drip the colour around more randomly.
  2. Take your balloon and gently press it into the coloured puddles you have made. You may need to wipe down the balloon between presses to clear it of any residue from your base coat.
  3. Pour some of your pre-mixed colours into a shallow plate or pie tin. Dip your balloon into the mixture and touch it gently against your canvas. This part can be tricky as it can lift the base coat without depositing any colour if you press too hard. All it requires is a light touch. Once you get the hang of it you can use it to create interesting accents in your painting.
  4. Add more colour and continue pressing colour with the balloon until you are happy with the overall composition.
  5. In the areas where you have used the dipped paint and balloon to apply colour, your design may be quite small and indistinct. You can tilt and move your canvas to encourage the patterns to expand and move across the surface. You may also want to blow areas with a straw to force the pattern in a particular direction.
Acrylic Poured Painting Balloon Dip Pour Step 2
  1. Leave to dry once you are happy with the result.
Acrylic Poured Painting Balloon Dip Pour Finished Artwork

You can add additives like silicone or Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) to your mix to generate cells with this technique. But bare in mind that it can affect drying. These materials may also not necessarily be made to professional quality, so if you are selling work or concerned about the overall stability of your work it may be something you wish to avoid.

Dip Pour

dip pour

This method turns the canvas on its head – literally! The Dip Pour can seem more like a printmaking technique rather than a pouring technique. You create your composition on your workspace and ‘print’ or ‘dip’ it with a blank canvas.

  1. Prepare your painting surface by laying down a clear plastic sheet. You will be applying paint to this sheet so make sure it is clean and free from grease or dust! Add a bit of tape to each corner to prevent it from moving around.
  2. Place your canvas on the plastic sheet and make a mark on the plastic showing where the edge of the canvas sits. Try to be as accurate as possible – it’s better to have a bit extra paint than not enough to cover your canvas!
  3. Fill in the paint outline of your canvas with a paint/pouring medium mixture. Even it out with a palette knife. This can be any colour you want.
  4. Pour your acrylic paints onto the area you have just filled in. You can make any sort of pattern you want – in this example a tree-like pattern was created. Add colour individually like with the traditional pour or create a ‘dirty pour’ cup and add colour all at once.
Acrylic Poured Painting Dip Pour Step 1
  1. Keep adding paint until you’re happy with your composition.
  2. Next you need to prepare your canvas with the same paint/pouring medium mixture as in step 3. Again you can smooth this down to cover your canvas with a palette knife.
  3. Once your canvas is prepared pick it up and place it on top of the painted plastic sheet with the prepared surface facing down. Gently press down on the back of the canvas to make sure the canvas comes into contact with all the paint.
Acrylic Poured Painting Dip Pour Step 2
  1. Cut the tape from the edges of the plastic sheeting and flip the canvas/plastic sheet over so the paint layer is facing you. Use a needle to prick the surface of the plastic film to release the air layer.
  2. Leave the plastic sheet attached to the surface of the canvas and flip it back over so the plastic sheet is in contact with your work surface. Tape the plastic sheet in position again – this will keep the plastic steady as you pull the canvas away from it.
  3. Brace the back of your canvas with your hand or a paintbrush to keep it steady and slowly pull the canvas away from the plastic sheet. Your dip pour painting is finished!
Acrylic Poured Painting Dip Pour Finished Artwork

When you’re finished you’ll probably find that the plastic sheet still has quite a lot of paint on it. You can use this to create prints on more canvases. The more you reuse the painted sheet the more you will find the colours muddy. You may only be able to get a couple of good prints from them, especially if you are using lots of colours.

Once you’ve had a go at a few of these techniques you will be well versed in acrylic paint pouring! There are so many techniques out there to try, and the more you experiment, the more likely it is that you will discover your own new and exciting way of pour painting. Paint pouring is a great way to have fun with your paints and experiment to create spontaneous abstract designs.


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