5 Best Acrylic Pour Painting Techniques

by | Mar 27, 2020 | Blog | 0 comments

Amy Anthony is Guest Author on Nancy Reyner’s blog, writing this article on Acrylic Pouring.

Acrylic Pour Art
involves an incredible mix of colors where the textures and shapes are developed strictly from the pouring of paint. The art itself is stunningly beautiful, but what’s more surprising is the fact that all of the depth and variance in the painting is created through only paint.


If you’re interested in creating a pour painting, or you’re curious about how that lovely pour painting you own was done, here is my list of the top acrylic pour painting techniques for 2020.


Prep Work 

If you’re an experienced painter and already know what you’ll need to mix the paints and cover your workspace, then skip and get right to the techniques. But if you’re about to venture into new territory, the following steps are important to note before getting started.

Mixing Paint 

Before beginning a pour painting, the acrylic paint has to be mixed with the pouring medium. Start with a 2:1 paint to medium ratio, then adjust as needed. Different paint brands can require more or less medium. When the consistency of the mixture is honey-like, you’re ready to pour.



If you mix in paper cups, then you’ll be able to pinch the sides every so slightly when you pour, making a spout. This will help you get the paint where you want it to go.

Prime the Canvas 

Most experienced pour artists will tell you, don’t skip this step. Gesso is the best option for setting the canvas. Cover the entire canvas with the mixture, and let it dry. The combination of ingredients in Gesso will provide a base for the paint and allow it to adhere to the canvas.


Protect the Surfaces Surrounding 

Whether you do your paintings within your studio, or you prefer to work in the garage, protecting the table or work surface is crucial. Pour art is done best when you’re not worrying about making a mess.


Elevate the Canvas

If the canvas receives paint while it’s sitting flat against the table or floor, the paint will pool around the edges. Raising the canvas off that surface will prevent this from happening. Some artists prefer to use a couple of drying racks on either side of the canvas to lift it, while others like using small cups at each corner.


Pour Painting Techniques

The paint and medium are mixed, the workspace is covered, now it’s time to get pouring. 

Flip Cup 

You can do either one flip cup, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try two. Make a dirty pour in either the one or two cups, and set aside. Using a piece of cardboard that’s similar to the size of the canvas, rest it on top of the surface where the canvas rests. 

Set the dirty pour(s) on top of the cardboard, and cover with the canvas, facedown. Carefully, flip the cardboard upside down, to the canvas is now face up. Wait a couple of seconds, then remove the cups. Watch the paint spread, helping it reach the edges by angling the canvas if you need to.




The puddle technique is one of my favorite techniques, because I love how the colors take shape as they merge together. Pour little pools of paint on the canvas, making sure there’s some space in between each. Use different colors, just like with a basic pour. 

As soon as you’ve poured until your heart’s content, start moving the paint across the canvas by tilting. See the puddles slide across the canvas, merging into one big one. All of the colors will swim together, without mixing.


Balloon Smash

Similar to the start of a puddle pour, make several smaller puddles across the canvas, layering in concentric circles. Take a small balloon that’s been blown up to fit in your hand, and firmly press it into each circle. The result will be a splat of color. 

Keep pouring, smashing, pouring, and smashing until you’ve sufficiently covered your canvas, and it’s matched your pour art expectations.



This technique is equally as mesmerizing as the puddle pour, but there’s an added level of excitement because of the tools involved. This is also one of my favorite pour techniques for adding gold or another metallic. 

Cover the entire canvas with one color; I prefer to use black or white. Carefully pour select paint colors in concentric circles, Use a final color, again, I like to use black or white here, and make a circle around the perimeter of the first pour. Now, use a blow dryer to spread the paint. The painting almost has a cosmic feel when it’s done.



For this, you’ll need a palette knife, or a plastic scraper. I picked my scraper up from a specialty baking store, it’s for frosting cakes, but it works perfectly with this technique. I think this one is best when it’s kept simple, with just two or three colors, and then white. 

Pour the paint on the canvas, except the white, either in circles or ribbons. Make sure to overlap the paints some, but not enough to mix the colors too much. Add white around the perimeter. 

Use the scraper or palette knife to very gently, without applying any pressure, spread the white paint. It should smoothly glide over the top of the others, allowing some to peek through. Try moving in different directions, and then adding a bit more pressure, then watch the colors pop. 

Pour painting is one of my favorite acrylic applications, because the process is just as meaningful as the product. Experimenting with the different colors and techniques is a great stress reliever, and it’s even better that there’s really no right or wrong way to do it. It’s all about the beauty of color working together.


More About Pouring

Pouring Acrylic – the HOT new painting craze

Tips on Pouring Acrylic

How to Make Acrylic Paint Look Like Enamel

Pouring Resin-like Finishes

Nancy’s book Acrylic Illuminations.



Featured course

complete guide to acrylic painting

Find the magic to bring your visions to life on canvas. From your very first brushstroke to your ultimate masterpiece – this course has it all. Learn more.


Featured Course

Complete Guide to Acrylic Painting

Find the magic to bring your visions to life on canvas. From your very first brushstroke to your ultimate masterpiece – this course has it all. Learn more.


About the Author


Amy Anthony is Guest Author on Nancy Reyner’s blog

Amy Anthony is a stay-at-home-mom of two who thrives on having a clean and organized home. As a writer by trade, Amy enjoys teaching others how they can achieve their own sparkling home with minimal effort on her blog Oh So Spotless.


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About Nancy

Nancy Reyner paints exotic versions of heaven, using gold leaf and other unusual materials. A contemporary abstract painter, she feels art is a rewarding pursuit that adds quality of life. Nancy shares this passion with her students & offers classes, articles, books & videos, encouraging the courageous use of materials and artistic expression.

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