How to create a pour painting

Set aside your paintbrushes and get ready for a new way to make art!

With just plastic cups, you can create fluid abstract pieces that are one of a kind.

You simply pour paint over your canvases and tilt to let it flow into gorgeous, creative swirls and shapes. The possibilities and colour combos are endless, and the results just beautiful. It’s time for you to pour it on!

Pour painting
Chris L Jones

Why stop at one flow artwork when you can have three? This modern take on a traditional triptych – three carved panels that tell a story – uses canvases and pouring paint to create a flowing abstract design for a splash of bold colour on your walls.

Pour painting triptych
Chris L Jones

Gather your supplies

  • Pouring paints in 4 shades of blue
  • Small canvas

You’ll also need

  • Box
  • Plastic cups
  • Disposable gloves

Here’s how

Step 1

Prepare a paint box with 4 upturned cups. Pour paint into a plastic cup. Fill to one-third with light blue, then add the next colour, pouring it down the inside of the cup. The paint will marble.

Step 2

Step 2 How to make a pour painting
Chris L Jones

Wearing gloves, place canvas face down on cup, carefully flip canvas.

Step 3

How to make a pour painting Step 3
Chris L Jones

Lay canvas flat on work surface and hold cup in place and wait as paint runs down inside of cup.

Step 4

How to make a pour painting step 4
Chris L Jones

Hold canvas over paint box and tilt it from side to side so paint flows.

Step 5

How to make pour painting Step 5
Chris L Jones

Pour more paint onto canvas from bottle and tilt canvas. Sit canvas on cups in paint box.

Step 6

How to make a pour painting step 6
Chris L Jones

Use your finger to rub paint along canvas edges. Leave to dry.

Make your own pouring paint

How to make a pour painting
Chris L Jones

You can make your own pouring paint by adding a medium to acrylic paint.

Soft body or craft acrylics are better suited than heavy body acrylics.

Floetrol, from hardware stores, is a paint conditioner that extends the wet edge and keeps paint flowing.

Add it in a 1:1 ratio to paint in a cup, then slowly stir with a wooden craft stick until completely blended.

Adjust the ratios as need to achieve a pouring consistency.

Other inspirational ideas

Pour painting coasters
Chris L Jones


While you’re on a paint pouring roll, turn your attention to homewares. Use the same tilting method on coasters as you did on canvases, making sure the edges are covered.

Pour painting platter
Chris L Jones


Don’t stop at coasters, you can use the flow art technique on other homewares – cheese boards, serving trays, placemats – but just be mindful as the paint isn’t food safe.

Make a triptych

Pour painting triptych
Chris L Jones

You can make a much larger artwork using three canvases to create a triptych.

Sit three canvases side by side on upturned cups on a covered work surface.

As well as gloves, it’s a good idea to wear a paper painting suit as this method can get a little messy!

How to make a pour painting
Chris L Jones

Squirt white onto the canvases and rub it along the sides.

Pour over blues from cups, then use a hairdryer on a full blast on the cold setting to push the paint around the canvases.


Source: BHG