Are you looking for a beginner-friendly craft project that’s absolutely adorable? This leopard pour welcome sign is just the ticket! Not very artistic? No problem! It’s impossible to make a bad acrylic pour. Pour art, distinguished by its appealing swirls and abstract designs, is an extremely relaxing and satisfying craft. The color and design options are endless, and the abstract nature of paint pouring makes it the perfect medium for beginners! This leopard pour art craft would make a great personalized gift or would be a great project for a large group, like a crafty friends’ night! Here’s a step-by-step guide for creating your own creative pour!
Prepping Your Project
You will need to gather a few supplies for this project, but you should be able to score all of it at your local craft store, or on Amazon. Your list doesn’t have to be exactly like mine. In art, there’s always wiggle room, but here’s a basic setup!
- A variety of acrylic paints (See next section for my choices)
- An 18”-24” flat circle for your base – I chose to use a 24” wood round from our local craft store
- Popsicle sticks for stirring, scraping paint out of cups, and making minor adjustments to the painting
- Disposable cups for pouring and for mixing colors
- Cheap plastic cups work, or if you want to avoid plastic, glass jars work perfectly,
- A pouring medium to mix with the acrylic paints (more on that in a minute)
- Some type of drop cloth or disposable option to keep your workspace clean
- Cups or a block that can be used to elevate the sign so the paint can drip off freely
- UV protectant spray sealant
- Paint marker
- Vinyl “Welcome” sticker
Choosing Acrylic Paints
Choosing your acrylic paints should be easy! For this project, I used acrylic paints from Hobby Lobby. If you’re a beginner, go for cheap, bottled, craft acrylics. They work perfectly for this type of project.
For the base, I used DecoArt Americana Pearls Acrylic Paint in the color Snow White. This color has the perfect off-white pearly finish. I also used this white to add the details on my leopard spots.
For the black “banner” in the middle (that we will later write “Welcome” in), I used DecoArt Americana Pearls Acrylic Paint in the shade Lamp Black. This black is the most pure black I can find with a shiny finish, and it’s perfect for this project. I also used this shade for part of the spots as well.
Speaking of the spots, I found the most perfect (to me) bronze—also by DecoArt. It is the Extreme Sheen Metalic Paint in the shade Antique Bronze. This bronze has such a beautiful and smooth finish. For my tan, I will be using DecoArt Acrylic Paint in the shade Warm Beige.
For my brown, I used DecoArt Acrylic Paint in the shade Dark Chocolate.
Do your own thing!
Don’t get too caught up in my color selections, make sure to change and customize the colors to your liking. If you’re “extra” like me though, consider getting the DecoArt Galaxy Glitter Acrylic Paint in the shade Champagne Stardust for an eye-catching touch! This glitter paint is my favorite because it is loaded heavily with the most tasteful pieces of glitter.
For a little help choosing the correct colors, take a look at “Choosing Paint Colors for Acrylic Pouring.” Keep this one handy! It’s the ultimate guide to understanding color pairing and choosing the right shades every time!
Choosing Your Circle
I used a 24-inch blank wood round, pre-sanded for this project. Personally, I live pretty far off the main road, so I want a larger sign to hang on my door. If you live in an apartment or are making a sign for a bedroom or bathroom, I’d recommend sizing down to an 18-inch round.
If you’re having a hard time finding a round wooden sign perfect for this project, there are plenty of other things that can be used instead. Some of these ideas include a cheese ball container lid, a popcorn tin lid, or even a Frisbee. This project should be low-stress, and there’s nothing more satisfying than repurposing a useless object and finding a new life for it.
When creating pour art, it is definitely recommended to use a pouring medium. Pouring mediums are designed to thin acrylic paint to a more easily pourable consistency. Elmer’s glue, or any brand of liquid school glue, is a great budget-friendly option!
Typically, the ratio for pour art is 1 part paint to 2 parts pouring medium. This can vary depending on the original quality of your paint though. You’re aiming for a warm honey consistency. I usually eyeball this measurement, but you’re more than welcome to measure it out if you would like!
I also like to use Master’s Touch Acrylic Flow Medium from Hobby Lobby. This pouring medium has a gloss tint so will give our piece of art the perfect shine when we are finished.
Confused about pouring mediums? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered! Take a few tips from “How to Thin Acrylic Paint for Acrylic Pouring.”
UV Protectant Spray Sealant
With any project that will be exposed to the sun, you want to use a UV protectant sealant spray. For this project, I chose to use the Krylon UV-Resistant Acrylic Coating in Clear with a Gloss finish. I found this coating at my local Hobby Lobby. This sealant can be used on wood, metal, wicker, plastic, glass, plaster, ceramic, paper, paper mache, and dried/silk flowers. I like materials with multiple purposes, and I’m just not sure how it could be more versatile.
Spray sealants are also the easiest for beginners as paint-on sealers take some practice to avoid streaking. This sealant protects surfaces from damaging UV light rays and is also non-yellowing. Aside from that, it’s also moisture-resistant. Which, being outside, is a must! The gloss will also add depth and a hardened finish.
Now that you’ve gathered your materials, let’s make some art! Here is your step-by-step guide for creating your very own Leopard Welcome Sign Pour Art!
Start by finding a clean, well-ventilated area that inspires you. Prep your area by laying down a protective covering. For this project, I have chosen to use plastic tablecloths for their easy disposal. After prepping the table cloths, in my pour area, I placed 3 or 4 disposable cups upside down to elevate my circle. I prefer to wear gloves, so I will track these down at this time as well.
If you choose any extra materials, now would be a good time to get those ready. I purchased pre-mixed glitter acrylic paint for this project, but if you didn’t, I would make sure the glitter I have looks good with the paint color by testing it on a scrap of paper or wood. If I planned on using a paint pen for the “welcome” on my welcome sign, now would be the time to open that up and make sure it is primed. If using a vinyl “welcome” sticker, I would go ahead and locate that now. Make sure your workspace is well-lit and comfortable to move around.
Don’t forget to ventilate!
When finding the perfect workspace, be sure to keep ventilation in mind! I prefer to work outside as much as I can when creating art because nature is incredibly inspiring to me. The breeze also provides the perfect amount of ventilation. If I am working inside, I place myself near a large window with a fan blowing the air straight out the open window.
I began by stirring two ounces of my base color—Snow White—with four ounces of my mixing medium in a large disposable cup with a popsicle stick. Stir well but not vigorously. You don’t want air bubbles.
Next, mix two ounces of the Lamp Black shade with four ounces of my mixing medium in a separate cup.
Stir one ounce of bronze with two ounces of the pouring medium in a separate cup.
After the bronze, mix one ounce of the beige with two ounces of the pouring medium in a different disposable cup.
Next, mix one ounce of the brown shade with two ounces of the pouring medium.
Lastly, mix 1/2 an ounce of the glitter paint with one ounce of the pouring medium in a small disposable cup.
First, I poured the Snow White mixture all over the top and bottom portions of my circle, leaving the middle “banner” blank, or allowing the white to dry completely before pouring a black banner across later. Be sure not to use all pearl mixture as this is the paint you will use for the “welcome” on your sign and fine highlights on the leopard spots.
Next, pour a straight line of black down the middle of the board, or make it wavy, however you like. I went for a thinner section of black in the middle so the leopard print can really pop!
After pouring the base white and black colors, tilt the board side to side until you’re happy with the outcome. If you need to, use popsicle sticks to help you smooth out and move your base layer around to your liking.
Time for spots!
Once you’re happy with this placement, it’s time to move on to the spots. Starting with your lightest color first, you want to make multiple small pours on the white base areas, avoiding the black center. In the sample photo, I used only the Antique Bronze for my leopard spots. However, you can also alternate with beige and glitter spots for a more intriguing pattern. Feel free to make these spots as big or as small, as few or as numerous, as you would like!
Add some pizazz!
After putting the first layer of spots down, I go in with a small disposable cup full of the black mixture and begin to slowly pour details around every brown spot. Once done with this, I go back with a small amount of the pearl mixture and place a tiny amount of it onto the black, detailing the spots to create the perfect highlights.
After I’m done pouring, I take the end of a toothpick to create swirls inside of my spots. Starting in the center of my spots, I will drag the toothpick outward toward the white base area until I am happy with the result.
If you have any leftover paint, you’ll use it to create the “welcome” in the middle of your sign. You’ll need to allow your base to dry first. Cover your paints with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge so they don’t dry out while you’re waiting for your pour art to dry.
Allow your pour art to dry in a well-ventilated workspace, undisturbed, for at least 24-48 hours before attempting to add your “welcome” to the middle banner area. Some pieces may take 72 hours to dry fully.
Once my pour art has dried, I usually take the pearl mixture and freehand the word “welcome” in the middle of the black banner.
I prefer to free-hand paint because I feel it is most personable, but feel free to choose another option. If you aren’t comfortable with hand-painting, grab a paint pen or marker! If you’re not comfortable with your penmanship at all, feel free to create or purchase a vinyl “welcome” sticker!
This is your chance to customize. It doesn’t have to be a welcome sign. If you’re sign is a gift, consider using their last name, or a personalized message! After adding your chosen verbiage to your sign, be sure it dries completely before moving on.
The last step is to add a UV protectant sealant coat before placing your pour art outside. Please follow the directions on the UV protectant you chose.
Hanging Your Art
After curing for at least 24 hours, you’re ready to hang your amazing new sign. The great thing about the wooden circles is that you can easily use a staple gun to attach twine, copper wire, black ribbon, or even decorate chain to your piece for hanging. Get creative and make it your own here!
Go Forth and Pour!
I hope you enjoyed this step-by-step guide to creating an adorable leopard pour art door sign. Remember, tutorials are great, but they aren’t law! Branch out with the colors and design elements that you love. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Paint scrapes off! It can be sanded, painted over, or repurposed, so go all out. You can’t go wrong as long as you’re having fun!
For more incredible paint projects, check out our section of seasonal projects for funky fall creations, spirited Christmas art, and much more!
Happy pouring folks!