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If you’re just learning about acrylic pouring, you may be wondering about how to thin acrylic paint so that you can use it for this beautiful art form. Well, wonder no more! I’ve got all the answers you need.
Plus I’ve also made a list of ALL of the different mediums that I have found online as a handy reference tool for you!
Can you thin acrylic paint with water?
Okay, so your first inclination when you think about how do you dilute acrylic paint for pouring very well might be, “Well, I’ll just add water to it!” And this makes sense when you think about what we do for cooking and things like that, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work quite like that for acrylic paint.
Acrylic paint is water soluble, meaning that it is dissolved by water. So you can understand why you wouldn’t want to add too much water. Now, you can add small amounts of water, but the absolute max that you would want to add is about 50:50 water to paint.
If you add too much water to your paint, you run the risk of it not sticking to the surface you’re trying to paint. You can also run into cracking because the water will evaporate and cause your painting to dry too quickly.
So how should you thin acrylic paint for pouring?
Well, you need to use what’s called a medium. A medium will help your paint flow while keeping the adhesive properties of your paints. There are three main types of mediums that you can use for thinning acrylic paint for pouring: professional medium, household paint conditioner, and PVA glue.
Professional mediums have been formulated for acrylic pouring or were formulated for thinning paint and people have started using in larger proportions for acrylic pouring.
In general, professional mediums have been designed to retain the color of the paint, prevent cracking and crazing during drying, improve the flow of the paint, and provide protection and durability to your painting. Professional mediums are also generally non-yellowing.
So, with all of these benefits, you may be asking yourself, “Why would one choose anything else as a medium?” Well, for the most part, the only downside of professional mediums is the cost.
Household Paint Conditioner
To combat the issue of the higher cost of professional mediums, many fluid artists turn to something called household paint conditioner. Household paint conditioners were originally developed to reduce brush strokes in latex house paint and to thin latex house paint for use in paint sprayers.
However, household paint conditioner, Floetrol in particular, has also become super popular in the acrylic pouring scene and is a great way to thin acrylic paint for pouring. In fact, this is what I use to thin my paints as well.
The best thing about household paint conditioner is that it is super accessible, being that you can get it at almost any hardware store and that it is very affordable, especially in comparison to professional mediums.
The one drawback to household paint conditioner as a pouring medium is that it generally produces a matte result in the dried work, but you can use a gloss varnish or epoxy after your painting is dry to achieve that glossy look.
The third way you can thin acrylic paint for pouring is by making your own medium. The main ingredient in this process is usually some sort of PVA glue. Like the household paint conditioners, the main benefit to making your own medium is price and accessibility.
As with the household paint conditioner, the one drawback to PVA glue as a pouring medium is that it generally produces a matte result in the dried work, but, again, you can use a gloss varnish or epoxy after your painting is dry to achieve that glossy look.
The other thing that I might be concerned about with PVA glue is yellowing, so I would pay attention to each product and what they say about yellowing.
In the table below, I only included two brands of PVA glue, the most common that I see used, Elmer’s Glue-all, and one that I will be trying soon that has a neutral pH and is archival, meaning that it won’t deteriorate and discolor. There are a ton of other options for PVA glue though, so feel free to explore that further.
About These Reference Tables
Each product you use for a medium will give you a different result while pouring. I have not tried all of these, but I wanted to gather all of the options for you in one convenient place to aid you in comparing and contrasting and to make your life a little bit easier.
As far as the star ratings, these were gathered from the retailers and averaged and are out of 5. If you are looking at something like the household paint conditioner or glue, you are probably seeing mostly ratings for the product as it was intended to be used, not as a pouring medium, so keep that in mind.
Be sure to read reviews and do your due diligence before buying anything. There are also quite a few acrylic pouring Facebook groups where you might want to ask for product reviews and recommendations.
The prices are for the size indicated, but for most products there are a variety of sizes available at different prices. Prices may also be different at the time you’re reading this from when I posted this.
Click each retailer to shop that particular retailer for each product. (Most of the links in these tables are affiliate links, which means if you purchase I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.)
|Product||Retailers||Price (U.S. Dollars)||Size||Star Rating|
|DecoArt Pouring |
|Pebo Studio Acrylics|
|US Art Supply Gloss|
Pouring Effects Medium
|Mont Marte Premium|
Acrylic Flow Medium
|Sargent Art Acrylic|
|Sargent Art Acrylic|
|Novaplex 233||Nova Color||$13.50||1 quart|
|Novaplex 235||Nova Color||1$13.00||1 quart|
|Solo Goya Pouring|
Fluid Acrylic Medium
|Vallejo Pouring |
|Tri-Art Liquid Glass|
|Artist’s Loft |
|Hand Made Modern|
Paint Pouring Medium
|Jerry’s Artarama||$13.99||250 ml||5|
|Jerry’s Artarama||$13.69||500 ml||4.4|
|Impresa Products Pouring Effects Medium||Amazon||$24.99||32 oz.||3.4|
Household Paint Conditioners
|Product||Retailer||Price (U.S. Dollars)||Size||Star Rating|
|Flood Floetrol||Amazon||$6.97||1 quart||4.7|
|Flood Floetrol||Home Depot|
|Wagner Paint Easy Latex Paint Conditioner||Amazon||$13.98||32 oz.||4.6|
|XIM Latex X-Tender Flow and Leveling Additive||Amazon||$27.85||1 gallon||4.3|
|Product||Retailer||Price(U.S. Dollars)||Size||Star Rating|
|Elmer’s Glue-All||Amazon||$14.97||1 gallons||4.7|
|Lineco Neutral pH Adhesive||Amazon||$10.18||8 oz.||4.3|
Go Forth and Pour!
Now that you know how to thin acrylic paint for pouring, you’re all set to get started experimenting and creating beautiful art!!
I’ve gotten quite a few questions from people looking for mediums in different places around the world, and I think your best bet would be to look for either PVA glue or a water-based latex paint conditioner at a hardware store.
If you’re pouring for the first time and would like more explanation on materials, processes, and terms, you can head on over to my Beginner’s Guide to Acrylic Pouring. You can also head over to my Comprehensive Guide to Acrylic Pouring Techniques for more information on all of the different techniques.
And If you’re curious about colors and color theory as it relates to acrylic pouring, head on over to my post about Choosing Colors for Acrylic Pouring and grab your FREE printable Color Wheel and Color Scheme Guides.
As always, check out my updates on Facebook and Instagram and feel free to peruse Homebody Hall for more fluid art tips, tricks, and tutorials! Also head over to Youtube and subscribe to get my videos sent to you as soon as they come out!!