Acrylic Pour

Here are instructions for creating your own acrylic pour paintings. I do these a bit differently than most people. As with most of the painting info on this site, I try to focus on keeping things accessible and affordable.

Acrylic Pours on a Budget

Perhaps it is due to my years volunteering at The DI, but I’m always looking for the most economical methods to create art. I will share what I’ve learned over the years so that others can try it for themselves.

Ingredients for Affordable Acrylic Pours

  • acrylic paint
  • white glue, also called school glue or polyvinyl acetate
  • distilled water, but plain water works
  • optional additives
    • canola oil
    • dish soap
    • rubbing alcohol
    • hair spray
    • white sugar (see Gloss entry below)
  • canvas
  • small paper cups (4oz) – be kind to the planet, avoid plastic
  • larger paper cups (16oz) – be kind to the planet, avoid plastic
  • wooden stir sticks – be kind to the planet, avoid plastic
  • push pins
  • large tray – a cat litter bin is perfect

Where To Buy Affordable Paint

Paint is expensive. It’s definitely the costliest part of acrylic pour painting. I’ve researched acrylic paint prices extensively. There’s absolutely no cheaper place to buy acrylic paint than Dollarama. The little 4-ounce bottles they sell for $1.50 are actually cheaper by-the-ounce when compared to even gallon jugs of acrylic paint online. Strange but true. Following are a couple other options that end up being the same price. As of 2018, Michael’s is stocking some larger bottles of acrylic paint that are about the same price by-the-ounce as the 4oz bottles from Dollarama. Look for the 1qt (.94l) bottles of Artist’s Loft flow acrylic. Also, you can get some colours of Apple Barrel acrylic paint on Amazon for the same per-ounce price. The price varies tremendously by colour, but you should be able to find some colours for $6/16oz, which works out to the same price as Dollarama. If you ever encounter a less expensive place to buy acrylic paint, please contact me.

Where To Buy Other Ingredients

Michael’s sells packs of 40 8×10″ canvases for $65, and packs of 20 16×20 canvases for $65. These are definitely the best buys for these size canvases.
You can get a gallon on Amazon for $15. Michael’s sometimes has gallons for $30, but you won’t find it cheaper than the stuff from Amazon. Search for “AmazonBasics All Purpose Washable Liquid Glue, 1 Gallon Bottle”.
distilled water, canola oil, hairspray, rubbing alcohol
grocery store

Paint Mixing Ratios

These ratios are for the style of liquid acrylic that they sell in 4-oz bottles at Dollarama and similar loonie stores. For other types of paint, you’re on your own. I use approximately the following ratios:
  • 2 parts acrylic paint
  • 2 parts white glue
  • 1 part distilled water
Mix it very well.

Gloss On A Budget

Acrylic paint tends to look better with a gloss finish. I was trying to come up with a way to create that using homemade, affordable ingredients. I managed to find a solution that works reasonably well. As always, I’ll share my results.
  1. make thick sugar solution
  2. with the paint mixing ratios from the section above, replace distilled water with a sugar solution. The solution should contain as much sugar as you can dissolve in the water before it starts to pile up on the bottom of the container. This is what’s known as a saturated solution.

Examples With Additives