The different acrylic pouring mediums used in fluid art can help artists achieve a variety of effects, from fluid patterns, to marbled textures, cells, glossy or matted effects.
The beauty of acrylic pouring is that, no matter if you use the same colours, or mediums, the results of each pour will look completely unique!
To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together this guide on the best acrylic pouring mediums and how to use them, so you can get some inspiration for your next pouring project.
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Liquitex Pouring medium
Liquitex Pouring Medium is perhaps the most popular fluid art medium amongst acrylic artists.
This medium can be used with just about any painting method, from the traditional pouring technique, to the swipe method, puddle pour, or even the Dutch pour.
It gives you a smooth, even consistency. The medium also adds a glossy, glass-like finish to your pour painting and prevents crazing, yellow and colour shifting. This is great for adding depth and dimension to your painting. However, you can also buy this product in matte or iridescent surface finishes, if you want to create a completely unique looking artwork.
If you’re using highly pigmented fluid acrylics, like Golden Fluid Acrylics, you will be able to get away with using around 1 tbsp of acrylic paint to one cup of fluid acrylic medium in a cup. However, if you’re using student grade or craft brands of acrylic paint, a 1:1 ratio may be more suitable. This is because student grade paint has a lower pigment density, so using more paint will keep the fluid colours looking vibrant. The medium does not increase the transparency of the paint film, so you can use it in larger quantities with professional grade paint. You can also add distilled water to thin the consistency of the paint further.
It does not hold bubbles in the paint film, which reduces the need for a heat gun, when using just this medium with fluid acrylics and no other additives.
Liquitex Pouring Medium comes in various quantities ranging from 237 ml all the way up to 3.8 L. At the time of writing, the smaller bottle is available for $12.56.
Golden Pouring Medium
Another great choice for professional artists, Golden Pouring Medium is ultra high quality. The gloss finish helps to enhance the vibrancy and richness of the colours, but the medium also comes a matte variety, which reduces the appearance of gloss and shine.
This medium has a low viscosity, meaning it will make paint flow better, and also makes it easy to combine with other mediums and colorants. The pouring medium provides excellent flow control when used with fluid acrylic paints, allowing you to create unique poured art without the worry of colour shifting or crazing. It also has good levelling properties and improves adhesion, ensuring that your colour will spread evenly across and adhere to your painting surface.
Beyond this, Golden Pouring Medium is also non-yellowing, UV resistant, water resistant and flexible when dry, meaning that it won’t crack over time. To use the medium simply mix it with fluid acrylic paints in a 1:10 ratio of acrylic to medium, before pouring onto your canvas. Mix in a cup and leave covered overnight. This will reduce the amount of bubbles that build in the film when pouring.
Tri-Art Liquid Glass Pouring Medium
This medium offers excellent levelling and flow characteristics, and gives professional results.
It’s a non-toxic medium that proves glass-like results. It’s recommended to use this medium on rigid surfaces like wooden panel rather than flexible surfaces like canvas for optimum results. This is because it dries to an extra hard, level finish.
To use the medium, mix it with fluid acrylics to the ratio of 1:20 (acrylic paint to medium). It will create crystal clear, vibrant colours, that flow freely across the surface without crazing.
Tri-Art Liquid Glass Cell Flow
Tri-Art Liquid Glass Cell Flow Medium is a must-have for any fluid artist looking to create mesmerising cell formations.
This silicone oil disperses the paint beautifully and can provide amazing abstract effects that are both eye-catching and unique. It is perfect for creating cells and lacing effects that add an extra level of visual interest to your artwork.
To use it, simply add 1-2 drops of the medium to every 30ml of colour that has already been mixed with pouring medium. The less mixing you do, the bigger the cells will be.
When you’ve poured the colours onto the surface, use a palette knife to skim the surface. This will allow the silicone oil to rise to the top of the colour. Therefore, this releases the cells in those specific areas. Wipe the surface to remove any excess silicone oil once it has dried.
Floetrol is an additive that can greatly improve the results of your acrylic pouring artwork. This inexpensive product is a great substitute for more expensive pouring mediums and can help you achieve excellent levelling, increase flexibility and offer superb coverage of colour pigments.
In general, Floetrol should be added to your medium at a 1:1:2 ratio (distilled water to colour to Floetrol) but this may differ depending on the results you want to achieve, the type of paint you are using and what type of pour you are doing. For instance, if you are doing dirty pours or flip cups you may need more Floetrol as these techniques require a thicker consistency than other types of pours so adding more Floetrol will help you reach the desired consistency easier. You can also add silicone oil to the mix if you want to achieve cells.
Additionally, keep in mind that adding Floetrol can increase drying time so don’t forget to plan accordingly with this factor in mind as well. As far as clean up goes everything that was used with the addition of floetrol should be disposed off immediately since it becomes non-porous when dry.
Golden GAC 800
Golden GAC 800 is an incredibly popular pouring medium for acrylic painting techniques. It’s a water-based product with excellent flow characteristics. It helps reduce crazing and cracking while encouraging even paint drying. A great rule of thumb is to mix it in a ratio of 1:4 for Golden Fluid Acrylics or 1:3 or 1:2 for student grade acrylic colours to ensure optimal results.
When using this product, artists should remember to not overmix the combination as this could lead to air bubbles that can cause uneven thickness or crackling on the finished piece.
It’s important to note that GAC 800 can also be used alongside regular pouring medium to reduce crazing. So if you already have a pouring medium but want to add a little to the mixture to ensure the paint film doesn’t crack, the GAC 800 medium could be a good option.
Lastly, GAC 800 works great when used in combination with other mediums like silicone oil which can help increase the cells on the finished piece. Read out guide on the best supplies for acrylic pour painting, to find the best paints, tools and surfaces for fluid art.