A pouring medium is an additive used to improve paints. It allows for a smoother pour, improves the consistency and also the overall integrity of acrylic paints. Therefore, it acts as both a diluting agent and a binder. It helps a mix of acrylic paints to act more uniformly, and also allows them to dry and finish without cracking, separating or fading. In other words, pouring mediums make acrylic paints easier to work with. They also make acrylic paints more suitable for fluid art!
But wait, why not use water instead of a pouring medium? Well, you see, the thing about water is that all it does is simply dilute. Not only will the colors of your acrylic paints lose their intensity, but the binding agent of the paints will also weaken. This means that they won’t adhere well to canvases or any other surface you’re going to do fluid art on.
Moreover, water doesn’t blend well with acrylic paint either. It’ll result in an uneven consistency, and possible flaking/lifting of the paint when it’s dry. So yeah, your artwork won’t have the same vibrancy, consistency and quality they should have. They also won’t last as long as they normally do.
Therefore, a pouring medium is the better choice when it comes to fluid art! They will provide the smooth, liquid-like consistency you’re looking for, while also keeping the integrity and vibrancy of the paint intact. They also may extend the drying time of acrylic paints, which allows you to work on your painting for a longer time. Best of all, pouring mediums have the ability to strengthen paints and prevent cracking and crazing.
*Crazing is a condition in which hairline cracks develop in the clear coat of two-stage paints.
It should be noted, however, that not all pouring mediums are the same. There are glossy mediums which provides a glossy finish to your artwork, matte mediums which give a matte finish, so on and so forth. Some are all-purpose mediums, and while some are create specially for the purpose of being used in art. Besides that, pouring mediums have different medium-to-paint ratios. Some pouring mediums also require a little water (which, we know is confusing because of the previous cons we’ve listed out, but don’t worry! The water added to pouring mediums that require them won’t negatively affect them and your artwork).
If you’re a beginner to fluid art, you can make your own pouring medium by following this recipe by Mont Marte:
*All of the following products are available at our store!
- Mont Marte PVA Glue – 3 parts (300ml)
- Mont Marte Acrylic Gloss Medium – 1 part (100ml)
- Water – 1.5 parts (150ml)
- Mont Marte Acrylic Retarder – 37.5ml
*You can refer to this video tutorial to better understand their recipe!
The resulting pouring medium should be a similar consistency to pouring cream when you let it run off a palette knife. If it is the correct viscosity, it will run in a continuous flow when you lift the palette knife out of your mixture. If it is too thick, add a small amount of water until you achieve the desired result. Keep your mixture in an airtight container and store in a cool, dark place.
*PVA Glue can be used as a pouring medium as it does all the basics of a pouring medium well. It’s slightly acidic, though, so your resulting paintings wont have a long lifespan like archival pieces do. Nevertheless, it’s good for beginners who are just starting out!
Want to try art pouring? Check out our tutorial ‘DIY Basic Acrylic Pour Fluid Art with Mont Marte Products Only!‘ here!
- “Acrylic Pouring Medium Guide: Everything You Need To Know”, Acrylic Pouring, 2017 <https://acrylicpouring.com/what-is-a-pouring-medium/> [Accessed 6 March 2019].
- “How To Make Pouring Medium”, Mont Marte, 2017 <http://www.montmarte.net/creativeconnection/lessons-and-tips/show/how-to-make-pouring-medium> [Accessed 6 March 2019].