Dirty Pour Acrylic Art
Using Testors Marbling Medium
If you’re looking for inexpensive ways to add art and color to your walls, Dirty Pour Acrylic canvases are impressive. They only require one basic skill we learned as toddlers – how to pour. You don’t have to limit this technique to canvases, but applying it to dimensional objects requires a bit more patience.
This very trendy craft requires acrylic paints, a brush and containers. There are many YouTube videos describing how to apply a dirty pour. Some recommend other mediums plus water to thin the paint along with additives like 100% silicone oil to create interesting cells in the marbling.
If you’re looking for “simple”, I suggest Testors Marbling Medium, which is available at Michaels. In this tutorial I will talk about different pouring techniques using this medium and also show you my actual tests results with and without the medium.
Slip into your disposable gloves for this project!
step 9 - Allow the canvas to dry for approximately 24 hours. The canvas needs to be level especially as it dries, otherwise the paint may shift.
On the left canvas below, I used both airbrush paint and craft paint. I mixed Testors Coral Cove and French Vanilla craft paint to create a light peach color. I added the medium to it. Then I layered Aztec (Testor’s airbrush paint) white pearl, Aztec copper, and the peach in a container. I poured it onto the canvas and noticed I could not control it very well with tilting.
I pretty much had to let it do it’s own fluid thing. It was very wet, probably because the airbrush paint is very thin compared to craft paint. This was a nice effect. But after having done a lot of pour art lately, I felt the whole thing was too fluid. While it marbled, it was super fine marbling.
On the right canvas, I used the same colors in the same quantities but added the medium to the airbrush paint. I got a very different result. It’s obvious to me (and probably you) that the medium does more than just thin the paint. I’m not a chemist but it seems to separate colors in a very dramatic way. In the first test I think the white and copper were mixing too much, and not allowing more dynamic contrasts.
Pouring paint from the container onto the canvas creates interesting patterns. But experiment with objects that might cause resistance and send the flow of paint in different directions. I used a plastic tool for this canvas meant to support thread spools on my Serger sewing machine. The many cuts in the plastic created detours for the paint that were immediately visible as I started to pour.
Other Mixing and Pouring Tips
The Marbling Medium packaging suggests pouring one color onto the surface followed by another. The paint resistance example above is just one more creative way to challenge that method. Here are other ideas for mixing and pouring:
• Combine the colors then pour them from one container into the center of the canvas.
• Place a small colander or other object on the canvas then pour the paint into it for some interesting patterns.
• Pour combined colors through a short cardboard tube held against the canvas. Let the paint rest for a minute then lift the tube. You can also do the same with several tubes on a canvas.
• Pour the paint onto the surface in a swirling pattern allowing colors to overlap each other.
• Paint edges of a canvas with a solid contrasting color then pour the multi colored paints in the middle. Don't allow the poured paint to move beyond the solid color.
• Keep in mind, if you don’t like the look of what you’ve done on any canvas, just add another color and tilt.
• You may consider your project complete when dry. But if you prefer to protect and finish your work you could spray on one of Testors’ Lacquers like GlossCote or DullCote.