flow painting

Fluid Painting and Fluid Art – Instructions from A-Z

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Fluid painting, also known as flow painting or liquid art, is an exciting and unconventional form of abstract art. This technique, which has been gaining increasing popularity, creates one of a kind artworks and opens up a whole new world of creativity. No matter what age or level of skill, anybody can enjoy fluid painting. Interested in finding out more? Our full guide below covers everything you will need to know about fluid art.



What is Fluid Painting and Fluid Art?

Fluid painting and fluid art refer to “liquid painting” and “liquid art” respectively. Instead of using brushes or spatulas as other painting techniques do, the paints are applied to the painting ground in a liquid state. The results achieved are to a certain extent unpredictable, which is a big part of the fascination of this painting technique. All flow painting techniques are especially suitable for beginners. There are also many techniques and materials for advanced painters to discover though. The fluid painting techniques can be divided into three categories:

  • Acrylic Pouring: Here acrylic paints are used, which are liquefied with a pouring medium.
  • Alcohol Ink: Alcohol inks are used here, i.e. inks based on alcohol.
  • Resin Art: Resin art uses epoxy resin, a two-component resin which is mixed with paint and cures completely within a few hours.

With all three fluid painting styles, you will achieve completely different results. Below we will introduce all three techniques, give you a step-by-step guide to get started, and show you which materials you need.



Acrylic Pouring – The Acrylic Flow Technique

For acrylic pouring, acrylic paint is made more fluid with the help of a pouring medium. This is done so that the paint can be poured onto the canvas. Either the colors are poured on top of each other or already layered in a container before pouring. The applied paint can be spread by tilting the painting surface and thus influence the result.

Other additives such as silicone oil can be added to the mixture of acrylic paint and pouring medium to achieve exciting effects such as cells or gradients.

fluid art


Acrylic Pouring Basics


What Does Acrylic Pouring Mean?

In acrylic pouring, acrylic paints are poured/polished onto a painting surface, usually a canvas, and influenced by the movement of this surface. This is done so that the layers of paint run into each other. Besides the mixture of acrylic paint, pouring medium, and water, you can create beautiful abstract art with silicone oil.


What Are Cells and How do I Create Them?

Every acrylic paint has a certain density, which is composed of the pigments used, as well as the binding agent and solvent. When you apply the different layers of paint, the underlying paint pushes upwards at a lower density. This is how exciting cells are created. You can additionally increase the cell formation by adding silicone oil.


What do I Need Silicone Oil For?

The individual ink layers should not mix too much, otherwise, cells cannot develop. Therefore you can add a small amount of silicone oil or hair oil to the individual colors. This reduces the mixing of the colors. Heat causes the silicone to rise and form even more cells – and you will get the desired result.


What is a Final Varnish and What do I Need it For?

Apply the final varnish after your acrylic pouring paintings have dried. It ensures that your paintings are protected from mechanical effects. The varnish also helps to protect your artworks from UV rays, so that they retain their brilliant colors for as long as possible.


Manual with Product List for the Acrylic Pouring Technique

For your introduction to acrylic casting, we have created an acrylic pouring guide including a material list.



Alcohol Ink – Fascinating Effects With Alcohol Ink

Alcohol ink is a fascinating fluid painting technique. You can create stunning, colorful works of art with it. Alcohol inks are alcohol-based products that are applied on a waterproof surface. You can apply these with a pipette, atomizer spray bottle, or stamp.

The special thing about this is that you can change the alcohol colors with alcohol again at any time and thus create exciting effects and color gradients. This technique is especially recommended for beginners, as you only need alcohol inks and a waterproof base to get started.

how to make fluid art


Basics For the Alcohol Ink Art


Alcohol Inks

Different brands of alcohol inks are widely available. The Tim Holtz Ranger Alcohol Inks are often used and generally considered as the best. These are available in over 60 colors and additionally in various metallic tones. Other recommended alcohol inks are available under the name Piñata by Jacquard, which offers some great cheaper sets for beginners.

You can also use the refill bottles for Copic Marker. All of these alcohol inks are alcohol-based and very suitable for our purpose. If you want to add accents to your alcohol ink pictures, you can do this with alcohol ink markers – for example, the Sharpie markers, which are available in many different colors and with different sized tips. In many art supply stores, it can be very difficult to buy alcohol inks. Therefore, the easiest way to order them is online.


Blending Solution / Isopropyl Alcohol

In order to have more technical possibilities, you will also need a blending solution. This liquid helps you to brighten and mix your colors. As a cheap alternative, we recommend pure isopropyl alcohol with 99,9% alcohol content. You need a lot of it because you apply this liquid similar to a watercolor painting  – first on the painting surface as a base before you apply the color.


Yupo Paper and Other Painting Surfaces

For painting with alcohol inks, you need a waterproof base – unlike many other painting styles. Yupo paper, a synthetic paper made of polypropylene, is suitable for this. This is waterproof and tearproof and is therefore ideal for use in the alcohol ink technique. You can also use a universal painting surface as an alternative.


Manual with Product List for the Alcohol Ink Technique

Every beginning is hard. We have therefore created a detailed Alcohol Ink manual for you so that you have a simple and successful introduction to this fascinating painting technique.



Resin Art – Casting with Epoxy Resin

For resin art, special epoxy resin is used. This consists of two clear components that are mixed together and hardened by a chemical reaction within a few hours. You can add solid color pigments or liquid ink to the still liquid mixture to color it. You can influence the applied resin by blow-drying or by tilting the painting ground. You can pour several layers of resin on top of each other to create 3D effects.

With resin art, you can cast different shapes or jewelry besides the classic paintings. Working with epoxy resin requires some practice, but you can create breathtaking works of art with it.

fluid art painting
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Resin Art Technique Basics

The trend to use epoxy resin in the synthetic sector has its origins in the USA, Canada, and Australia. Resin art is still little known in many parts of the world. This is a pity because you can create some unbelievably beautiful works of art with resin, which fascinate people by their luminosity, shine, and depth.

To achieve this, color pigments in powder or liquid form are added to the resin. Depending on the type of painting surface, paint, and techniques used,  you can achieve very different results. Even as an advanced artist you can always discover new things here. So if you like to experiment, you will love working with epoxy resin. With resin, you can also protect your drawings, photos, and pictures, which you have made with other painting techniques – giving them a beautiful shine.


If you were wondering how to make fluid art, then this article should have covered the different basic techniques. Fluid art painting is an exciting and creative pursuit that always achieves new results. We hope that you have a better understanding of how to do fluid art painting, and are inspired to start creating your own unique artworks! 


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