Fluid Painting – What I Have Learned!

Prep is key!

  • Make sure the surface that you are working on and the surface where the painting will be drying is level.  This will help prevent the paint from running off of one side of the canvas.
  • Paint will flow, so make sure that work surfaces are protected.  I use plastic.  Others have use trays to do their pours.
  • You will need something to raise the “canvas” off the work area.  The paint will need to be able to drip from the canvas.  I typically use disposable cups, or for small 4″ painting I use craft sticks.  Others have inserted thumb tacks into back of canvas.
  • Do not use canvas panels.  The paint will cause the panels to warp.
  • While the painting is drying; reduce the airflow around the painting.  This can be accomplished by storing the painting in an unvented room or placing a box around the painting while it dries.  The flow of air may make the paint flow off the canvas in an undesirable area.
  • You can pour on any surface; wood, tile, canvas….  Just make sure you seal and let dry any porous surface.  Primer on wood works fine.  Gesso in tile works fine.

Paint Mixture:

Most of the recommendations are to use a 50/50 mixture of acrylic paint and an additive.  The mixture should be the consistency of melted ice cream, so it will flow around the “canvas”.  My mixtures usually consisted of acrylic paint and Floetrol.  Floetrol is a latex paint additive that removes brush strokes.  It can be purchased from most hardware stores like Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware….  Occasionally,  I may add a small about of water, <10% of the additive mixture volume.

Stir the mixture well, don’t forget to scrap the sides.  Clumps in the paint mixture is bad.  Craft sticks work well for stirring.

You can have as many colors as you want, but the trick is: each color should have the same consistency.  Heavier colors will sink to the bottom on the “canvas”.  Thinner colors will float.

Experiment with smaller pours before you do a large pour.

You can use this resin calculator to determine how much paint mixture you will need.  https://www.artresin.com/pages/calculator

Cells in Painting:

If you want cells in the painting, you can add a few drops of silicone to each paint color. Or, you can use a blow torch on the painting.  I use treadmill oil..  Me and fire, No!  Stir into paint mixture gently.

Pours:

  • Decide on the colors
  • Make a mixture for each color
  • I usually place a thin layer of the paint mixture on the canvas before I do the pour.

Dirty cup pour – is where you layer the colors in a cup before pour it on the canvas.  Reminder:  colors in bottom of cup usually end up on top of painting.  You can either turn the cup upside down on the canvas, lightly tap it a few times, and raise the cup straight up; or you can just pour or drizzle the contents of the cup over the painting.

Another method is just to pour one paint color at a time over the canvas.  There are other methods too, such as swiping.

After the paint is on the “canvas”, tilt the canvas in all directions to spread the paint over the canvas.  For the missed areas on the edges of the canvas, you can use either your fingers or paint brush to cover the edges.  Sometimes, I will dip the miss corners into the paint drips. I usually attempt to clean the drips from the bottom edge of the canvas with a brush.

Let dry.  The painting can usually be moved after drying over night.  I usually let the painting dry several weeks to a month before applying the polyurethane.

If you used silicone in the mixture, let the painting dry at least two weeks and clean the painting.  I have a spray bottle with a mixture of Dawn and water that I spray over the painting and wipe gently with a paper towel to clean the silicone off.  After it is cleaned, let dry again.  I usually let it dry a several days to a few weeks after cleaning.

Seal the painting.  I use gloss polyurethane and multiple coats.  Some use resin.  Me and resin don’t always work well together.

Check my blog for more tips: https://sarahcath.com/category/crafts/pour-painting/

Note:

I am still learning.  Watching video, reading articles, and monitoring the Facebook group Acrylic Pouring Addiction.

Paintings:

I did a few pours today, because I needed fresh pictures to go with this blog post.  I am only about 70% satisfy with the results.  However, my last pour was the first of May, so I may be a little out of practice.

I dropped one of the craft stick onto one of the paintings, then one of the cups I was pouring from just jumped right out of my hand, and one of the canvases touch another canvas during the tilting phase.  See, out of practice.  However, the colors are brilliant.

Pours make excellent backgrounds for other paintings.

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Fluid Painting Coaster

This is my first attempt at pouring paint over four objects at the same time.  I found cheap sandstone coaster, shown below, at the Dollar General store and thought they would be perfect for my first attempt.

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I put a piece of parchment paper on the back of the coaster and taped the edges.

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I applied two coats of primer, and lightly sanded the coasters after the primer dried.  The holders were a stack of four craft sticks held together with the weaving loom rubber bands.

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I let my sister pick the colors.  She likes purple/blues with green accents.  Yes, I use cheap Walmart brand bags, the ones that are almost impossible to get open, to let the paint drip on.

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Lastly, it came time to put resin over the coasters.  These are the tips I learned while researching how to apply resin (because I have never been very successful):

  1. Clean the painting of any oily substance.  I let the coaster dry for at least a week, then sprayed the coaster with a mixture of Dawn and water.  I let them sit for a minute and gently wiped them off with a paper towel and let dry for another week.
  2. Seal the painting, because canvas breath and can cause air bubbles in the resin.  I seal the coasters with polyurethane and let dry for another week.
  3. Pour resin in temperatures above 70 degrees.
  4. Use torch to remove bubbles.
  5. Cover the work with a box while it dries.

I mixed and poured the resin over the coasters, spread it out with a plastic paint scraper, and removed the air bubble with a heat gun.  Yes, I know a torch is recommended.  But, while researching torches I scared me that I may burn down the house if the torch did not fully extinguish.  So, I was very carefully to keep the heat gun cord and my hair out of the resin.  The coasters were covered and let dry for 24 hours.

The results:

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Double Crosses

These are the crosses I did for Mother’s Day gifts.  I ordered the blank wooden crosses from ArtisticCraftSupply on Etsy in July 2016.

The top piece on the cross was stained.  I left the back side of the top piece unfinished so I would have a better chance for the pieces adhering together when they were glued together.  The bottom cross was sealed with white primer, several coats.  I did a fluid painting pour over the top of the crosses using chalk paint.  The colors were: Dark blue, white, light pink, light green, light purple and light yellow.  I added Floetrol and water each paint color to help the paint flow, and silicon to the mixture to help form the cells.

After the bottom cross dried for several weeks, I cleaned the crosses with a mixture of Dawn and water.  I sprayed the mixture on the crosses and wiped gently.  After I let it sit for several weeks, I glued the top cross onto the bottom cross using wood glue.  Several coats of glossy vanish was used to finish the cross.

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I put a hanger on back of each cross attached with a screw.  The screw goes into both pieces of wood, so if the glue fails I have a backup.

Cosmo of Color

I had the idea that I wanted to do a pour painting that was larger than my normal 4″ x 4″ painting.  However, a large canvas can be expensive, ranging from a $5 to $50 depending on the quality.  Add on the cost of the paint and additive, a larger painting could easily cost $20+ to complete.  Did I have the experience needed to pour a larger canvas?

It occurred to me, I had a used 16″ x 20″ canvas.  It was a photo canvas from Walgreen that someone did not like and told me to throw it out.  However, I have issues with disposing of items that could be used in my crafts.  I double checked with the previous owner to make sure they did not want it, and I Gesso the photo canvas.  Still, nervous about painting the canvas, I let it sit for several weeks.  Then, I put on a second layer of Gesso, and let it sit for another week.

The colors I selected for the pour were:

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I found the paint on sale for 99 cents.  The painting took about 32 ounces of a mixture of paint, Floetrol paint additive, water, and a few drops of silicone.

The results:

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The technique I used was dirty cup pour.

So Pretty

When it warm, nice day, I get to enjoy the outside.  When it is cold, windy, snowy day I get to play with paint.

This is my latest pour paint.  I used the tip of my clay tool to swipe before I tilted the canvas.  I does not have a name yet, it is just so pretty.

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The colors used are white, green, two shades of purple, and three shades of blue.

Easter Pour

Here are the pour paintings, a.k.a. fluid paintings, I did on Easter.  I used “Easter” colors:  Blue, Green, Pink, Purple, Yellow, and white.  I do not know which one is my favorite.

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I thinking this one would make a beautiful background. Maybe some trees. Or, I may just leave it along.

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All the painting are 4″ x 4″.

Luke 23:44

This is not technically a pour painting.  It is a painting I dip into the paint after I did a pour on other canvas.  It has been curing while I been deciding what to paint on the top.  Probably because it is the Easter season, I had this idea.

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I originally was only going to paint the crosses in black, but a dark gray and chocolate brown was sitting right next to the black.  Two feet over, the gray-blue was sitting there.  I looked at them and knew that would work.

Primary Circles

This drawing was done on a Studio Series Artist 3.5 inch tile with Micron Pens and Gel Pens.

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It is what I imaging when I tried to this pour painting by dripping colors onto the canvas.

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What I learned:  The yellow, red, and blue paint was probably heavier than the black metallic paint, it caused the heavier paint to sink to the bottom on the canvas.  The floor area where I let the painting dry, must be a little slanted because the paint always seemed to flow in that direction.

Stand For Fluid Painting

Fluid Painting can be messy.  You pour paint over the canvas and it drips over the edges.  What a mess!  I am not a clean freak, just a person working in limited space and I need my table to draw and do other things.  So far, I have limited myself to 4″ canvases, and I have a 3D printer sitting right next to my work table… I decided I would design and print a stand for my pour paintings.

The maximum print size of my Ultimaker 3d printer is around 8 inches, width and length.  The height can go up to around 12 inches.  So, this project was perfect.

The catch basin is 5″ square, or in my design world 127mm, and 1″ (25.4mm) high.  Just in case different colors dropped from the different edges of the canvas, I divided off the catch basin and add drain notches.  It didn’t need it, but I placed pegs to hold the stand, and divided off this compartment to keep paint off of the stand.  It took around 11 hours to print.

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The design was done in Tinkercad and export as a STL file.  The file was imported into Cura and where a .gcode file was made.  I used the “normal” setting because the “fine” setting indicated it would take 23 hours to print.  Therefore, some warping occurred because of the setting and because I select not to add a Brim support.

The stand was also designed in Tinkercad.  It is 3 inches high.  The break in the structure allows for air to flow under the canvas.  It took around 4 hours to print.

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The notches on top of the stand, allows me to put some other type of support under the canvas to lift off, in case I want to reuse the stand before drying is complete.

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The finished product.

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The colors, yes I used Color Shift paint by Folk Art and grab the black and 4 other colors.

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The test.

Ok, some of the holes leaked.  The center dividers should have been larger and I did not pour out of the basin as I expected.  I do not know if I am going to tweak the design and reprint it or not.  Probably.

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I did get a cup (one ounce) out of the basin.  It should go nicely with another pour.

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