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Picture of Dirty Flow Painting - Acrylic Magic!

Ever looked at those fabulous swirling marbled abstracts and wondered where you could get one? Looking for a project that is easy AND spectacular? Look no further! In this Instructable I will walk you through a basic dirty flow painting to blow your friends and family away. Its also pretty cheap if you have kids art supplies already in the house! The hardest part of this instructable was getting a good photo of the finished product that comes close to showing the depth and vibrancy of the colours.

Step 1: Making Your Flow Medium

Picture of Making Your Flow Medium

The secret ingredient of a good flow painting is the pouring medium. Acrylic paint is too thick to pour and move easily across a canvas, so you need to add a liquid to help it. The pouring medium also stops the colours from mixing together too much, and the bought ones often give a high gloss finish. You can buy plenty of pouring mediums, but it is just as easy to mix up one yourself.

The basic recipe is 50:50 water and glue. I used a candy tube and marked two even spaces on the side to measure out the water and glue. Measure in half glue and half water, then stir (or shake!) to mix.

jeanniel12 months ago
Great knowing about the flow medium! I've also seen vids showing effects from dragging a necklace chain across, too. Ultra-cool
guaps2 months ago
This is so cool! Two questions - would it work on a sheet of metal? And any thoughts/tips on how to do this on a large sheet (3'x8')? I'm thinking this would look really cool as a sliding door, but I have to do the door backing with thin sheet metal.
RCEM (author)  guaps2 months ago
I don't know! It would be fun to figure out though!! For a large area my first thoughts are to cover the whole area in a base colour then flip a bunch of dirty pour cups on it - it might be trial and error tho! I'll see if I've got some metal here to give it a try :)
guaps RCEM2 months ago
I'll test on a couple small pieces to see how it adheres to the metal and if it could withstand the wear and tear of being a door. Thanks for the great instructable!
This paintings look really great! The videos are really helpful for seeing the consistency that the paint should be. I'll try this with my kids over the holidays.
BarbaraG482 months ago
Awesome painting and project! I love the easy to follow instructions. Thank you very much. I will use this in my workshops!
RCEM (author)  BarbaraG482 months ago
thanks! it is pretty easy to get a great result :)
DLHN1232 months ago
The reason you cover the canvas with white paint is to help the pour flow across the canvas. Don't wait for the white to dry! It needs to be wet to work it's magic. It doesn't mix with the paint you pour on it and the only way you'll see white is if you miss a spot when tilting the canvas. It's so much fun and soooo addictive! Have fun and thank you for the tutorial.
RCEM (author)  DLHN1232 months ago
thanks for that :) I've used white paint (wet!) under the paint before and had lots of it show through. Maybe I'm just not using enough colour! damn.. I'll have to have another go :)
DLHN123 RCEM2 months ago
It's so much fun but it took me months to be good at it and I'm still learning. You don't have to use white as your base. You could use the prominent color you plan to use in your pour. If white is showing you may need to use more paint or change the consistency of the paint. Some people don't use a base coat but that causes the paint to roll over itself and you might lose colors you'd prefer to keep. I really love the colors you chose, your composition and your painting. Just have fun with it! :)
This looks like a lot of fun to make :)