dirty pour painting

Dirty Pour Painting Technique

Are you looking for an easy and unique way to create abstract art pieces? The dirty pour acrylic pouring technique, which is also called the straight pour, is method of acrylic pouring that involves mixing multiple colours together in one cup before pouring it onto the canvas. The result is a mesmerising array of colours and shapes that will give your artwork a stunning finish. Read on to find out how to perform this technique as well as some tips for getting the best results.

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What is the dirty pour technique?

The dirty pour technique is an acrylic pouring technique that involves mixing multiple colours together in one cup before pouring it onto the canvas. This creates a unique and unpredictable pattern as the different coloured paints mix together, resulting in abstract shapes and textures.

Supplies for the dirty pour painting technique

For a comprehensive list of acrylic pouring supplies, check out our guide!

Dirty pour painting instructions

  1. Start by preparing your workspace. Cover your working area with a protective covering and wear gloves and an apron to protect yourself from paint, as hardened acrylic paint is hard to clean. Also, make sure that your canvas or painting surface is level and clean. This will ensure that the paint flows smoothly and evenly on the surface.
  2. Choose colours: When selecting colours for your dirty pour painting, keep in mind that different colours mix together in unpredictable ways, so it’s best to experiment and have fun. Use a variety of colours that complement each other to create a harmonious blend. You can choose to use both light and dark colours to create contrast.
  3. Mix the paint: Mix the acrylic paint with the pouring medium and silicone oil, using one cup per colour. If you’re using Golden Pouring Medium and Golden Fluid Acrylics, mix paint to medium in a 1:10 ratio. Silicone oil is used to create cells in the painting. Add two drops of the oil into your colours, then mix gently. The more you mix, the smaller the cells will be.
  4. Pour the paint into a larger cup: One by one, pour each colour into a larger cup or jug. Alternate the colours, pouring a small amount at a time. Leave a little of your base colour (such as black or white) left over in its original cup.
  5. Start the pour: Once you’ve mixed the paint, pour it onto the canvas in a continuous stream. You can pour the paint in different directions or create patterns as you pour. Create a stream of zig zags, lines or circles. Make sure to cover the entire surface of the canvas.
  6. Tilt the canvas: Tilt the canvas in different directions to make the paint flow and create interesting patterns.
  7. Cover the edges: Use some of your leftover base colour to fill any bare sections of canvas around the corners or edges. You could also use a palette knife to move paint over the edges to achieve an even finish.
  8. Pop air bubbles: Use a heat gun or a torch to pop any air bubbles in the painting. Hold the heat gun about 6 inches away from the surface and move it around in a circular motion.
  9. Let it dry: Let the painting dry for at least 24 hours. Once it’s dry, you can add a varnish to protect the painting and give it a glossy finish. Hang it up and enjoy your beautiful creation.

Tips for creating a dirty pour painting

  • Experiment with colours and use a variety of shades to create contrast.
  • Use three or more colours to create exciting tonal variations.
  • Select a base colour such as white to provide white space and contrast in the piece.
  • Don’t overmix the silicone oil (if you’re using it) as this can cause the cells to appear smaller.
  • Use a dust cover to cover the painting while it’s drying, to prevent the buildup of dirt and dust in the paint film.


Dirty pour painting is an exciting and unpredictable technique that can create beautiful works of art. It’s easy to learn, fun to do and requires minimal supplies—all you need are some acrylic paints, pouring medium, silicone oil and a canvas. With practice, experimentation and patience you’ll be able to master this unique technique in no time! Read our other guides for more pouring techniques like flip cup, puddle pour or Dutch pour. Whatever your style may be there is always something new to explore when it comes creative expression through dirty pour painting!