Acrylic Dirty Pour

Sometimes it is hard to find an idea for what to paint next. This is the trouble I came across when thinking of what to do for my first piece of content here. I tossed ideas for a couple weeks, till I finally decided to do something that is fun, easy, a little messy, but really takes little technique. What else would be more perfect then a dirty pour. Not to mention I haven’t tried one in a while. I tried a couple different times till I got something I really liked. My second try we are just not going to really talk about. 😉

I have done a few pours in the past, when I really had no idea what to do. Once I tried just to dilute some acrylic paint with water, and pour it over a cup on to a canvas. It turned out alright, but this time I didn’t use just water. This time I used liquid silicone and Floetrol in an attempt to get a bubble effect. Here I am going to share with you the items I used, where I got them, pictures of everything, and the overall experience doing it.

I will say this, once you do one, you will want to do another….. And another………. And another.

Media Used

For this weekends project, I did have to go out to a couple stores to get what I needed. Really I only needed to go to one, but either way it worked out. First I went to Michael’s art supply store and picked up more paint. They had some pretty colors on sale which was my deciding factor on the ones I got. So when you try this, don’t feel like you have to stick to any one brand of paint. BUT so you do know, the brands I used were:

  • Basics
  • Artist’s Loft
  • Angels craft
  • Craft smart (this was the one on sale. I bought 8 bottles)
  • Americana

I also used a 16×20 and a 11×14 canvas. Both I was previously gifted, but you can get any sized canvas from your local art supply store or online. I also got a little palette knife and a 6 pack of little plastic bowls.

After searching aimlessly at Michael’s for some liquid silicone or the spray, I asked for a little help from another artist friend that has tried this project. She directed me to my nearest hardware store, which to me was Lowes. There I just picked up two things.

  1. Blaster silicone lubricant
  2. Flood Floetrol

I basically just got the biggest can and jug of both and went on my merry way. In all I spent $65 dollars, but if I am honest with myself I didn’t NEED more paint. I just really wanted it. Still, worth it though.

The Set Up

Honestly you can set this up anywhere with the right stuff. Just keep in mind that this will get very messy, and you will need lots of towels and if you are in side you should definitely put a tarp down. Unless you just have a paint room, and the floor doesn’t matter! In that case, I envy you.

For myself, I went outside and did this in my front yard. It was just one of those days you couldn’t pass up being outside. I have a little dice stool that I used to sit on, and one of those big tub containers that I used as a table. Typically, it is where my snake eats, but I figured “flip it up side down,” Perfect. Who cares if paint gets on it.

I spent maybe an hour doing everything. Set up, preparation, execution, take down. So I made sure that what I transported outside would be easily brought back in. Taken out too, that Tub was pretty useful caring everything out and in.


Once I had everything outside and set up to be there for a bit, I laid out all my paint and bowels and picked my favorite six colors. Now you don’t have to use 6 colors, in fact when I tried again the next day I used like 3 main colors and then mixed those colors with a like color in another dish. And honestly that way worked out better I think.

Anyways, after putting paint in the little bowels, and you will want to use a lot of paint, I added the silicone. And I just sprayed a couple spurts in each bowl. I did 2 in each for the first painting, 3 to 4 for the second one(that we are not talking about) and 5 to 6 for the last painting. For the floetrol I had a bad pouring method, which was just pouring from the big container. I recommend not doing that. I couldn’t get an even pour into each dish. I will probably try one more time to see if I can get the right consistency. I did find that with different paints I had to add more then others. The metallic pearl I used was already really watery so it didn’t need much, but a purple I used that was of a different brand needed more silicon and floetrol to be smooth enough to pour. So no matter what there will be some trial and error with this one, but no matter what it will be fun to do. if you have a really thick paint, I would add just a bit of water to try to help get a good consistency as well.

Then you just pour and swipe. You will want those paper towels handy and wipe your knife after each swipe or else it can make a muddy mess of color.


The first canvas I did turned out okay. It had a few small bubble effects, but mostly just had a pretty marble effect. The colors blended well and looks really cool in my opinion, but it was not a first try success for what I was going for. I used 6 colors and not enough paint for sure. I had to keep mixing more and pouring again. Which was rather annoying, but still fun because then I could fill in the colors where ever I felt they should go.

The second painting was just a mess. I used too much floetrol in all the colors, and thought spraying a quick spurt of silicone on the canvas would help with the effect……. I don’t know what I was thinking. I know, dumb. Even typing this I don’t know why I thought what I did. The paint would just spread away from the silicone and leave an uncovered spot. That and I used too much black and picked too many wrong colors that didn’t blend right. Again this one is just…. well it never happened.

The third try turned out better. I also did this one over the second one once it dried completely. Honestly I like this one best so far. I will try one more time, but so far this one has the gold. It has more of a bubble effect all over it, but they are small bubbles. Though on this painting, it had a cracking effect once dried. And it looks really cool. This one I used an off-white color, a blue and purple and then I mixed some blue and purple in one bowl, some white and purple in another, and then the blue with some other light blues, and a dab a purple. The 3 mixed paint bowels I didn’t mix 100% because I want it to pour with a color variation. The others I did mix everything thoroughly.

1st pour
3rd pour



Last try(s)

If I have not mentioned that doing the dirty pour is addictive, then let it be known…. It is.

I went to try just one more time to see if I could come up with something better. I did. And it looked so good I wanted to try again. That one came out really well as well.

What I did for these last 2 was perfect. I would pour the floetrol into the cap, and stuck about a quarter size into each dish. than a couple sprays of the silicon. Added my colors and some water. Mixed it well and added more silicone till I had some small bubbles in the paint showing. Then I just pour and spread, and honestly they came out pretty amazing. This is my opinion, but I tend to love most of my own art work, so you can decide for yourself if you like it or not.

I did this process for both painting so that I could make sure that I had it down. Now you can experiment with this and try whatever you want. I encourage it! and when you do try this for yourself, share it here! I’d like to know how yours came out, and what you thought of this whole project.

Also, if you think of anything else you want to see done, leave it in the comments and I will pick a favorite to try every weekend.

4th pour
Last pour





4 thoughts on “Acrylic Dirty Pour”

  1. I wish we could’ve seen your 2nd try, haha. You definitely convinced me to try this. I am a little confused on how you spread the paint out once you poured it. In your first painting it looks like you spread it with a tool. Did you tilt the canvas around a bunch for the rest of them? And were the dishes you used single cavity dishes or those dishes with like 10 small circles around the edge? I just can’t see paint pouring out of those since the ones I know are very thin in depth.

    Anyway though, very fun read, looking forward to attempting this at some point 🙂

    1. I should of taken a photo of the second try just for this moment. I be sure to share even my mess ups in the future. 

      the first try was spreading with just the tool, and the others i did tilt to help it spread better, but for the most part they created those designs themselves. i didn’t use enough silicone in the first painting so it didn’t take give the effect i was going for like the others did. 

      Yes, i used single cavity dishes. They worked great on smaller canvas, for the bigger ones i did have to go and mix some more paint to get everything covered. 

      I am glad you enjoyed it, 🙂 thanks for reading, and i hope you’ll share your creations here when you try it. I’d love to see how this turns out for others. 

  2. Hey McKenzie:

    OOOH! That looks like a lot of fun!

    I’ve got a bunch of old boards that could probably be the starting point for doing my own dirty pours. Visions of gloppy paint with lots of wild splatterings are dancing in my head.

    I do love your palette and the effects you got adding the silicone lubricant and the floetrel. I would think the challenge would be keeping the things from getting too muddy.

    Thanks for the direction….

    1. Thank you so much! It was a joy to do, and I did create one really bad mess. Thankfully once it dried I was able to pour over it again, and create something better. I found that the less colors I used, It worked better. 

      It would be really interesting to see it done over a board though. I think that is a great idea! 

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