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The acrylic pouring technique enjoys continuing popularity. The most important material for this is the paint pouring medium. It makes the paints pourable and ensures that they dry without cracks. In this article, we will show you which pouring media are available, what the advantages and disadvantages are, and give you many tips and tricks for creating perfect pouring art.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Pouring Medium?
- 2 Are There Differences Between Pouring Media?
- 3 Our Top Picks – The Best Pouring Medium at a Glance
- 4 Which is the Best Pouring Medium?
- 5 Pouring Medium Alternative
- 6 DIY Pouring Medium Recipe
What is a Pouring Medium?
A pouring medium is an additive used to create a thinner, free-flowing consistency in acrylic paints. The pouring medium is an essential component in the production of acrylic pouring artworks. It helps to increase the ink flow and reduce the viscosity of heavier inks while maintaining color, texture, and opacity. A paint pouring medium does the following:
- It reduces the viscosity of heavier paints without thinning the paint.
- It improves the flow of the acrylic paint and allows easy spreading on the canvas.
- It ensures that the color, texture, and opacity of acrylic paints is retained, unlike water, which dilutes the pigments.
- It delays the drying of the acrylic paints, leaving more time for the actual acrylic flow technique
- This prevents cracks from forming when drying too quickly
As a newcomer to acrylic pouring, you might ask yourself if you can just use water for your pourings? This only works up to a certain point. Water costs almost nothing, but it dilutes the color pigments. This has the consequence that on the one hand the colors are less brilliant and on the other hand the adhesion of the pouring liquid is no longer there. This is because the binding agents are also diluted. The smoother the painting surface, the more important good adhesion becomes.
Moreover, water cannot be completely mixed with acrylic paint, so the mixture can be uneven. In addition, the surface tends to crack when drying.
Water is therefore not suitable as a substitute for a good pouring medium for acrylic paint, and should only be used in small quantities, if at all.
Are There Differences Between Pouring Media?
Yes, there are indeed serious differences between the individual pouring media. On the one hand, there are different consistencies. The thicker the paint pouring medium, the sooner you have to dilute it with water. These products are then better suited for rather thin acrylic paints, while a more fluid pouring medium is more suitable for thicker paints.
Another property is the gloss level. If an additive is incorporated into the product, the surface will have a uniform gloss level regardless of the acrylic paints used. This makes an additional layer of final varnish unnecessary, as the surface already looks very good and the colors come into their own.
Also, the hardness of the surface is another criterion. This differs between products. Some dry out very hard and inflexible, while others remain rather soft and sometimes even sticky. This can be very annoying, as even fingerprints can be left on the surface, or there is the risk that that objects can stick to the surface. Damage then results when removing the object.
The protection against fading also varies. UV light can cause the colors to fade. The acidity of the medium can also make a difference, as the paints can also fade or change with increased acidity.
Last but not least, the flow behavior and the drying time are different. While some media flow very nicely, others are more difficult to distribute evenly. Some products dry overnight, while other media take up to a week to dry at least the surface.
So you see, the differences are quite significant. Depending on the desired properties or effect, you can use different pouring media for your purposes, or combine them with a mix that has the best properties for you.
Our Top Picks – The Best Pouring Medium at a Glance
Looking for the best pouring medium? Well, there are various different types and brands on offer. Below we have highlighted some of the top choices.
Which is the Best Pouring Medium?
There is now an almost unmanageable number of pouring media. Some have truly unique features, others have the same product with different labels and brand names, even though the content is exactly the same. We present to you the most proven products that we have tried ourselves and that we like to work with. So you will certainly have a good starting point for your first attempts. By the way, you can also mix the individual products in order to get further combination possibilities.
The products that fall under the category of professional paint pouring medium were specially developed for use with the acrylic flow technique. In addition to the above-mentioned positive characteristics, these professional products also offer the advantage that your works of art retain their color brilliance for many years since the paints are not attacked by acid or similar substances contained in the product.
Test Winner: Floetrol Pouring Medium
Floetrol is actually not a classical acrylic pouring medium. It is a means to improve the flowability of all kinds of paints and to make the paint more economical. In addition, paint with the addition of Floetrol should flow better and produce a more even surface. This is exactly what you want to achieve with acrylic pouring, right?
Floetrol pouring medium does exactly what it is supposed to do. It liquefies the acrylic paint, ensures good pourability, and dries up without any problems and without forming cracks. It is colorless in a liquid state and dries transparent.
We like to use Floetrol as a pouring medium. The color separation here is sometimes one of the best of all, as it does not produce muddy shades. The cell formation is good but not the very best, and hardly any air bubbles remain after drying. However, the painting should be varnished afterwards to get a uniform gloss level.
Second Place: LIQUITEX Pouring Medium
The Liquitex Pouring Medium was one of the first professional acrylic pouring media that came on the market. This artist quality liquid medium contains an acrylic polymer with high resin strength and has been specially developed for the acrylic pouring technique.
- Liquitex is known for its high-quality artist products
- Easy to process and dries to a silky gloss
- Very good cell formation without air bubbles
Liquitex is always one of the most popular choices for artists. With its quality consistency, finish, and fluidity, this pouring medium is ideal.
We are very convinced by Liquitex – it is one of the most widely used products on the market: the colors are very rich and the painting remains brilliant even after drying. Many beautiful cells are created and there are hardly any air bubbles. But the most ingenious thing here is the surface after drying: It is beautiful with an even shine.
Third Place: U.S ART SUPPLY Pouring Medium
The U.S Art Supply Pouring Medium was developed to provide high quality at an affordable price. It is also very suitable for beginners, as it is easy to mix to the right consistency. If you additionally use the matching U.S Art Supply acrylic paints, you will achieve great results without much practice.
Fourth Place: SARGENT Art Pouring Medium
The Sargent Art Pouring Pouring Fluid is a very high quality pouring medium. Not only is it quality, but it also has a particularly good price-performance ratio. In any case, this pouring medium is worth trying out.
Pouring Medium Alternative
Clear liquid adhesive has become particularly popular here as a pouring medium for acrylic paint alternative. This product is relatively cheap and gives excellent results. Due to the somewhat tougher consistency, you should enrich the mixture with a bit of water.
In addition to the professional products specially developed for this purpose, you can also use alternative pouring media. These usually work just as well and are often a bit cheaper. However, the durability of your pictures might not be as good.
Some of these alternative casting media may contain components such as acid, which can cause the acrylic paints to fade over time. However, there is no direct knowledge about this at the moment. Therefore, there is no reason not to use these media. In addition, there are many other factors for durability, such as UV light and environmental influences.
DIY Pouring Medium Recipe
You can also make an inexpensive DIY pouring medium recipe with great results by yourself. You can mix your very own acrylic pouring medium recipes here. Besides vinyl glue as a cheap base material, you can get the best results by adding a professional product.
We can recommend these acrylic pouring medium recipes for you to try out:
- 1 unit of vinyl adhesive
- 1 unit of Liquitex Pouring Medium
- Some water
- 1 unit acrylic paint
- 1 unit Liquitex Pouring Medium
- 1 unit of Floetrol
- 1 unit of acrylic paint
- 1 unit Solo Goya Pouring Medium
- 2 units of vinyl adhesive
- 0.5 part water
- 1 of unit acrylic paint
Every artist swears by a different pouring medium for acrylic paint. We recommend that you try a few different products and you will quickly find out what works best for you. Also, the application or technique is crucial: There are pouring techniques where cells are unwanted. Here you don’t have to use special products with cell formation. It is also a good and inexpensive idea to produce your own pouring medium. Enjoy your acrylic pouring!