how to: fluid painting

by Jessica

This post is sponsored by Creativ Company.

For the Monthly Makers theme that was “Paint/Colour” I experimented with creating abstract art using acrylic paints diluted with water. (You can check that out here!) Since then I’ve wanted to try it again, but it requires quite a lot of room and an area that’s safe for splashings of paint, which means I just haven’t done it in a while. But I finally got the opportunity to start again and have spend a few months playing with this technique!

I used our dining room this time, and to make it paint safe I purchased a gigantic wax-cloth to protect the table. And it worked! So that’s a pro tip from me.

This is an amazing activity to do together with friends (I have since I started working with these tried it out with both my sister and Mikaela and they both found it a lot of fun – which it is!) and I thought I’d give you some advice about how to do it yourselves!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • acrylic paint
  • water
  • cups or bottles to mix the paint with water in (I use plastic cups but reuse them!)
  • something to mix with
  • canvases
  • a spray bottle (optional)
  • something to protect the surface you’re working on

When it comes to choice of paints I would advise you to pick something that isn’t too expensive because this takes quite a lot of paint! Pick some colours you like (or mix them yourself!) and just start playing around. I think it’s really pretty to mix in some metallic paints in it!

You can find paint and canvases to use for this project on Creativ Company’s website!

The most important thing to have when doing this though is a PLAYFUL ATTITUDE. Hehe. But honestly, this technique is at its best when you don’t have TOO MUCH of a plan and when you just let yourself follow along with the process! Like we got so messy and had so much fun with this (my sister started painting with her hands and just swooshing the paint around <3).

The process of fluid painting!

  1. Protect the surface you’re working on.
  2. Lift the canvas off of the surface using upside down cups under all four corners.
    This will stop the canvas from sticking to the paper/cloth under it when it dries!
  3. Mix acrylic paint with water.
    The ratio depends on the consistency of the paint you start with, but people seem to agree that the consistency you should aim for is that of melted ice cream. If it’s to watery the colours will mush together while it dries and turn out brown and muddy, and if it’s too thick it just wont blend.
  4. Pour the paint onto your canvas.
    I find that I get the best results if I pour the general shapes I want from the beginning and bigger areas of the same colour at once, but you can get cool effects by pouring thin lines and dots and stuff. Experiment!
  5. Tilt the canvas.
    To get the marbly cool patterns you just start tilting the canvas.
  6. Blow on the canvas.
    Blow on it just using your mouth, a straw or a hairdryer or just anything. This will move the paint around in different ways!
  7. Spray the canvas with the spray bottle.
    This can give really cool splatters and tiny marble patterns! Be careful though as this splashes paint everywhere haha.
  8. Keep experimenting – but know when to stop!
    My best advice (to myself and you) is to not get carried away with how FUN it is to watch the paint move around and pause to look at the painting while you’re working to know if it’s looking good and if it might be time to just stop. I’ve ruined my pieces many times by just adding more paint and tilting and tilting until it’s way too messy. Then again, if you just want to have a freaking enjoyable time – screw this and just enjoy it!
  9. Let it dry.
    It can take a while (especially if you’ve used a little too much paint or water (I’ve never done that of course because I’m a pro…….)) but be patient.
  10. Varnish it!
    Make sure it’s completely dry before you do this!! I was really disappointed the first few times as the wet paint was so rich in its colour and depth and when it dried it just looked matte and bland. And then I realised that I could just varnish it! It doesn’t look exactly the same (unless you varnish it like 50 times but who has time for that!) but it improves it a lot. Most importantly it makes dark colours really DARK again.

Bonus tips:
If you want to get different effects you can supposedly achieve cool ones by using alcohol and silicone, but I’ve never done so myself. Some people also mix paint with resin in some way which looks AMAZING but then again I know nothing about how this works. If you want to explore this further I would recommend the group on Facebook called “Let It Flow” which revolves around fluid painting!I also experimented with actually pouring varnish onto the canvas to make the paint blend with something that dried clear, which resulted in a way glossier end result! This is actually my favourite one I’ve made! Here’s what it looked like wet.

And here it is dry! 

My sister blew a lot on her canvas, both with and without a straw and she got these smaller patterns and general amazing result. 

Here’s her entire one!

I would really recommend this technique, it’s so meditative and fun at the same time! And while my results have varied (some have been a bit meh) I’ve kept improving and I really love the effect!!

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Wilda July 7, 2017 - 10:08 am

WOW så vackert! Gillar detta så mycket!!! Måste testa när jag kommer hem!

Tegan July 7, 2017 - 10:24 am

These are so beautiful! I love your favourite one, it definitely looks like a gorgeous sea painting!!

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[…]    Jessica visar hur fluid painting går till. Så jäkla häftigt och […]

Mikaela July 19, 2017 - 9:27 am

Det var sååå kul att testa det här med dig <333

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Tina Mcgowan October 10, 2018 - 5:00 am

What kind of varnish?


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