The Ultimate Guide to Paint-Pouring Techniques

If you are trying paint pouring for the first time, you may be wondering how the artists make it look so cool. I have made searched the internet and tried these techniques to show you how it is done. 

If you have never done paint-pouring I suggest you start with my other post; “Paint-Pouring Basics”

Here is an alphabetically ordered list of techniques: 

Blown Pour- Use a straw to blow the paint around the canvas.  Commonly used for making flowers. 

Direct Pour-Pour the colors onto the canvas directly from the cup they were mixed in (pouring medium/paint/water) onto the canvas, pouring the colors in the places of choice.

Dirty Pour-Pour all your desired colors into one main cup, then pour the paint from the main cup all over the canvas. 

Dot Pour-Pour one color at a time in one spot of the canvas.  Starts with one color until you get a circle, then choose another color and pour it in the center of the circle you already formed.  Continue adding paint into your canvas circle until you get the desired amount of circles.
Dutch Pour-Pour the colors of choice into a circle (like the dot pour) or however you like and then use a blow dryer, if possible, with the flat attachment on it, to lift and blow the paint to the other places of the canvas.  It will have a splattered look.  

Flip Cup-use one main cup to pour all your colors of choice and then either flip the cup unto the canvas and lift the cup, or put the canvas over the opening of the cup, while it is standing upright and then flip the cup and the canvas together, then lift the cup. 

Flip & Drag-Flip a cup with paint in it onto a canvas (look at the Flip Cup technique) and then slowly draw across the surface of the canvas until you have achieved the desired look. 

Funnel Seeping-This method uses an item like a mason jar lid or a cookie cutter (symmetrical shapes like a star or snowflake) or a cup that has been cut open.  Pour your colors of choice into a single cup.  Place the lid or cookie cutter on a spot on your canvas, then pour the paint into the center of it. The paint will seep out from under the lid or cookie cutter forming a unique design.  

Kiss Ring Pour-Using two cups with contrasting colors of paint, make the two cups touch or “kiss” right before you start pouring.  You will get two different swirls on your canvas with a distinct line in the middle.  

Loaded Paper Towel- This technique uses a wet paper towel that has been dipped in paint.  Prepare your canvas with your base coat.  Add any colors to the canvas you would like.  You then pass the paper towel over your painting.  This allows the colors on your paper towel to trap the ones on the canvas and make “cells”.  You can also drag the wet paper towel over the canvas with no paint, for a Swipe technique.  

Pour & Scrape-Pour the paint onto your canvas and the scrape the paint from top to bottom or side to side.  You can use an old credit card, a paper towel, a paint stick or a jumbo popsicle stick to swipe the paint. 

Smash Pour-After pouring the paint onto your canvas, use objects to smash the paint and get it to smear on the canvas.  You can use a paper towel, parchment or other paper and I have even seen it done with a blown balloon. 

Spin Pour- Place your canvas on a rotation surface (cake decorating rotating plate or a fan turned upright).  Spin the canvas while you pour the paint.  The paint will spread out from the center of the canvas and create a “sun” look.  

Split Ring Pour-Divide one Cup in half by putting a divider in it.  The divider can be made with tape, or cardboard taped into the cup.  Split cups can also be purchased. Pour two different color paints/shades in the compartments of your cup then pour onto canvas.

Strainer Pour-Similar to the funnel seeping pour.  Place the strainer on a spot of the canvas.  Either use a cup loaded with all the colors you would like to use or pour a single color at a time into the middle of the strainer.  Take care to land the paint in the center or the design will be uneven.
String Pull-Cover your canvas with your base color. On a plate or paint palette pour a line of different colors.  Cut a piece of string and dip it in your line of paint.   Working while the canvas surface is still wet, lay the string on the canvas to look like waves.  Slowly pull the string off the canvas.  The paint will look like Cala Lilies.   

Swipe Pour-Make sure your canvas is prepped with the base color for this pour.  Using a paper plate cut in half or a clean dustpan, pour your paint colors onto this object.  Starting at one corner of the canvas, slowly tilt your pan or plate to let the paint flow off onto the canvas and continue swiping the plate until you reach the other corner. Depending on the amount of paint you load on the plate or dustpan, you may be able to do a couple of canvases, if you line them up.   

Swirl Pour-Pour from your cup with 2 paint colors onto your canvas, but while you pour move your cup/wrist in a circular motion.  

Waterfall Pour- Also known as the layered bottle pour.  Cut the bottom of a soft drink bottle and lay it with the opening down on the middle of your canvas.  Pour one color at a time in the center of the bottle.  The paint will flow down the valleys of the bottle creating a “waterfall” effect.   

If you know of other techniques not on this list, please let me know so I can add it! 
Thank you!


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