Go With the Flow! Prepare to Be Amazed at What Fluid Acrylic Can Do


I love acrylic paint love it — but sometimes I'm going for a lighter effect or want to create a realistic water scene . The challenge is figuring out how to do it with acrylic.

Diluting acrylic paint in water isn't necessarily the answer: If you dilute beyond 50 percent, the paint won't cover your substrate evenly or adhere well. That's just frustration waiting to happen.

But there is a solution: fluid acrylic.

Just like regular acrylic, fluid acrylic works with paper, canvas and other types of surfaces. From pouring to dripping, fluid acrylic helps you do more with an already awesome medium. Just imagine...

1. Creating a Watercolor Effect

Fluid acrylic can look like watercolor paint, but it's permanent. This makes techniques like layering much easier. Fluid acrylic paint won't scrub off as easily as watercolor on canvas or paper, even yupo paper.

You can also add a flow-increasing medium (aka flow medium) to fluid acrylic, making it even more fluid. Flow medium also makes fluid acrylic extra absorbable; as the paint soaks into porous surfaces, it behaves even more like watercolor.

So, with the exception of lifting-off techniques, fluid acrylic can basically be used the same way as watercolor. You can paint washes, paint wet on dry, wet on wet, or layer colors. Cool, right?

2. Pouring

Pour fluid acrylic directly on your substrate — no brush needed. You can use this technique to create a painting, begin an abstract piece, or start a work that explores negative painting techniques .

Some pouring tips:

  • Move the paper or canvas to make the paint go in a particular direction.
  • Use medium to give fluid acrylic the right consistency for pouring. This will make the paint move more slowly, so it's easier to control.
  • Pour medium (gel medium, pouring gel or self-leveling gel) onto your substrate, add drips of fluid acrylic, then swirl the paint with a skewer or painting knife. The medium will become transparent as it dries.

3. Glazing

Glazing involves painting semi-transparent layers of color. Fluid acrylics are very well suited for this technique, as they can be easily combined with gel medium to produce a homogeneous, semi-translucent mix.

Because of its consistency, fluid acrylic makes it easy to obtain an even wash, without any brushstroke or thickness showing on the surface of the canvas or paper. So consider this type of paint your go-to for the bottom layer of color in a painting where you don't want visible brushstrokes.

4. Dripping

If you like drips, you'll love fluid acrylic because it's already liquid! Adding flow medium to the paint will produce even thinner drips. Try using a liquid dropper to get the control you want.

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Go With the Flow! Prepare to Be Amazed at What Fluid Acrylic Can Do