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Using Leftover Craft paints for Acrylic Pour

Using Leftover Craft paints for Acrylic Pour main article image
Posted on February 5, 2021 by Catherine Ortega

I’ll be honest, I am not a painting Pro, but I am adventurous, curios and creative.  And in the making/crafting world, that is all you need!  With that, I wanted to paint a large piece of wood that I used as a craft table top, (because plain wood is so boring). I had so many bottles of different craft paint that I knew I wanted to use up, but I had no idea on how to incorporate them into an acrylic pour.

Craft paints for acrylic pour

Using craft paints for an entry-level acrylic pouring is a great idea because they are cheaper than standard, ready-made acrylic pouring paints. Craft paints can be used but they need a little help to do their job because they don’t have a binder in them or as much pigment so you need to mix them with some kind of pouring medium. For all the sciency stuff, each individual craft brand lists their ingredients on their website.   

The first time I used good old Elmers Glue as my pouring medium. The first step is to mix 30% water to 70% glue.  Then mix one part of the water/glue mixture to one part of your paint. When mixing this, you want it to look like meted ice cream consistency.

The second time I tried a different paint concoction. I bought pouring medium and mixed it 3/1 with paint and added a few drops of rubbing alcohol.

How much paint do I need to make an acrylic pour?

How much paint is needed depends on how much is being planned to use. Think of what you may want in your design – more blues, less white? More can always be made on the fly.

And for the number of colors, normally less is best. 3 colors and black and white look stunning but again, it is up to the individual. Black and white breaks up the colors. Just be cautious with black, it can drown out the other colors if too much is used.

One more thing I have found different opinions on putting what is called a “flood coat” on first to “help” the pour paint move across the canvas more freely. I do like it and I have used that technique twice. Just pour enough on your canvas, tilt it around to cover the canvas. White is usually the preferred color but black is another option. Use 2 parts paint/glue mixture and one part pouring medium.

Here is the process of the second attempt using the pouring medium.


  • Plastic, garbage bag or something to protect your work area
  • Disposable cups to hold up your art and to use for pouring (20 or so)
  • Popsicle stick, tongue depressors or something disposable to stir (We used paint sticks snapped in half)
  • Paints, of course
  • A large bottle of white acrylic paint
  • Your canvas- wood, canvas for painting, etc.
  • Pouring Medium (I used Deco Art)
  • Gloves

How to do a paint pour

Acrylic pouring techniques

Now that the paint is mixed,  we laid out the plastic painter sheet, we put the cups upside down and placed our canvas on top of them-this lets the paint fall off the edges. There are several ways to pour.

‘Dirty cup’ or ‘Flip cup’ – This is when the paints are all added into one cup then the cup is flipped and lifted.

‘Tree ring pour‘ – The paints are all added into one cup and poured in slow circular motion in the middle of the puddle Then you can move the paint around from the cup of using the canvas to tilt it, as my son did here.

‘Puddle pour’ – Puddles are poured onto the canvas alternating between colors. Each puddle is poured in the center of the last.

‘Swipe’ – Pouring the paint onto the canvas in lines, then using something like a comb or towel to swipe over the canvas and drag the colors.

‘Blow pour’ – This method involves adding paint to the canvas then blowing it around with a straw or a blow dryer you can achieve stunning flowers with this method.

There are also different ways to do dirty pour such as pouring the colors into a cookie cutter or colander on top of the canvas which has a really cool effect. You can look for online videos for some of these amazing pours. We attempted 3 of these pours.

After the paint is mixed to desired consistency, put the “FLOOD COAT” on the canvas if desired.

Now comes the fun part! My sons helped out and made some amazing art and had a lot of fun creating.

Tree ring pour

Some just let the paint come out of the cup in one spot, or zig zag or swirl the paint around from the cup. My son had several cups of paint poured into different areas and the tilted the canvas.

Paint Pouring Techniques

Puddle pour

This was my 12-year-olds creation. He took his time and waited in between pours to let the paint set up a bit. Just be cautious with littles, they tend to use A LOT of paint.

How to do a paint puddle pour

Dirty cup/Flip cup

I flipped the canvas on top of the open cup and then flipped the cup and canvas over.  The weight of the paint will lift the cup and slide it around. You can leave it this way or just lift the cup up like I did.  See the cells in the third pic? That is what the pouring medium offers you. Nice but not necessary, depends on desired outcome.

Dirty Cup Flip Cup Paint Pouring

Below you can see more final pictures of our acrylic pour.

Paint Pouring

Leave the painting to dry for 24-30 hours then stand back and be amazed!!! Remember art is trial and error, love and hate, and canvas after canvas until you get what you like.

Try pour painting and see how easy it is and how affordable this method is. 

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1 Comment

March 1, 2021

so pretty and colorful!

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