Pour Painting on a Budget!


Pour painting is by far the easiest art form to experiment with; it is a simple technique with simple ingredients. Even with super cheap materials, you can still make a beautiful piece of art.

To get started, gather your supplies. As I said, you can get as cheap as you want, but you must get these ingredients.

  1. Get any canvas of your choosing. Your canvas could also be a board of wood, as long as it can withstand the paint. Ocean State Job Lot has a decent selection of art supplies in comparison to art stores.

  2. Fluid Acrylic paint is preferred, but you could also get away with using regular acrylic paint. Different stores have different prices of paint. I normally get paint at Walmart or Dollar Tree.

  3. No matter what, you are gonna have to mix the paint with some pouring medium. This substance stretches your paint out and makes it harder to mix colors. You can buy standard pouring medium from any art store. Michaels has as little as 8oz for $15.99. I found that buying Floetrol from a hardware store like Home Depot is the cheapest option. It is four times the size of what Michael’s carries, and it is less than half the price.

  4. The last major thing you will need is varnish. It is the best way to seal your painting when you are done. But there are many other options for paint sealers as well. I use spray varnish because it is much easier to apply evenly on your canvas.

  5. Aside from those materials, all you’ll need is plastic cups, popsicle sticks (or any stirrer), gloves, goggles, and newspaper!

After acquiring all your materials, you are ready to get messy. Find a safe space to paint, you wouldn’t want to ruin your couch or table. Your garage, porch, and bedroom floor are potentially safe for painting. Lay out some newspaper on a solid surface. Start to pour a mixture of equal parts acrylic paint and pouring medium into the cups, and stir them up.

You could do one color per cup, or put multiple colors into one cup. The pouring medium keeps colors separated so they won’t mix together. Make sure the paint you combine is mixed with pouring medium. A whole piece can be created with one mixed cup. All you do is dump all the paint onto the canvas. That is the easiest and fastest way to make a pour painting.

Most artists stick to a certain color palette when they make pieces. They tend to keep different colors separated into different cups. Once all your colors have been mixed with medium, pour your paint until your canvas is completely covered. Wearing gloves, pick up your canvas and tilt it to shape the paint around your canvas. You can use your stirrers to make trails in your painting. Sometimes I take a marble and roll it around the canvas to see what happens. Your creativity is limitless when you have a puddle of paint in front of you.

Once your canvas is completely covered, leave it in a safe space to dry. Do not leave this outside to dry, as dirt, leaves, and bugs could ruin your painting. Give it a day and if the paint is dry, add a couple of coats of varnish to seal your painting.

Pour painting can be as easy as you want, or it can be more complex and intricate. You won’t always make a perfect painting, but that’s just part of the creative process, trial-and-error. There’s a number of advanced techniques to try and there are plenty of resources on the internet that can help you. Now you can make your very own “abstract” work of art at home!

You can find more advanced techniques here.