Pouring Medium: What Is Best All-Around and Good Substitutes

If you’re interested in paint pouring, there are a few terms and practices you should be aware of. For example, what is a pouring medium, and what is it used for?

A pouring medium is a liquid substance that is used to change and improve the consistency of acrylic paints. It allows the acrylic paint to flow more fluidly. It is used to bind and dilute the paint. Pouring mediums have multiple finishes, and some forms of glue can be used as a substitute.

Most acrylic painters will use some kind of pouring medium to make their paints easier to work with. But does a pouring medium affect other components of the acrylic paint?

What is a Pouring Medium?

A pouring medium is a liquid substance that improves the consistency of acrylic paints and allows them to pour in a more fluid-like manner. They are typically used with fluid acrylic paint, which has a consistency that is very similar to heavy cream and makes them thinner without compromising the color and vibrancy of the acrylic paint. A pouring medium is typically used with fluid acrylic paint to create poured paintings.

When a pouring medium is used with acrylic paint, it acts as a diluting agent and a binder. This means that although it thins out the acrylic paint, it improves the paint’s ability to bind to other acrylic paint and the surface that it is poured onto. Notice how when you see poured paintings, the colors are often mixed together and are not separated. This is aided by the pouring medium that the artist used.

A pouring medium improves the overall integrity of acrylic paints, so the paintings they are used on will last longer than paintings without a pouring medium. It also prevents cracking, separating, and fading of the paintings when they dry. Basically, pouring mediums make pouring paintings easier to create, and makes acrylic paint easier to work with.

A pouring medium also helps the paint create cell effects, which is a key feature of poured paintings. Pouring mediums make the acrylic paint have a more water-like consistency without compromising the color or structural integrity of the paint. The pouring medium also allows your paint to flow over the canvas.

One thing to be aware of is that some pouring mediums can change the finish of acrylic paint. While you can get a pouring medium that does not influence the finish of the paint, you can get a pouring medium with a glossy or matte finish.

If you do not want to purchase and mix a pouring medium into your acrylic paint, but want to create poured paintings, then it is possible for you to get acrylic paints with pouring medium already added to them. However, they are typically found in large quantities, so you may not want to purchase one if you are only planning on creating one poured painting.

Does the Pouring Medium Affect Dry Time?

A pouring medium does not affect the dry time of acrylic paint. Some people think that it slows down the drying process, but that is not true. It does not influence the amount of time that it takes for your poured paintings to dry.

Instead, the quality of the paint, the thickness of paint that you apply, and the consistency of the paint will influence how quickly the whole thing dries. Extreme temperatures and humidity will also influence the drying time of your painting.

It takes 24-48 hours for poured paintings to dry, but it can take up to 72 hours if the conditions are particularly moist. Beyond that, it usually takes 7-14 days for the painting to cure.

If you think that your painting is not dry, then it is best to leave it alone and let it continue to dry. Leave your poured painting in a dry, cool, flat place where dust and bugs are not likely to disturb it.

Does Paint Blend and Flow Better With a Pouring Medium?

The simple answer is yes, a pouring medium does make acrylic paint blend and flow better. Pouring mediums make acrylic paint thinner and more water-like inconsistency, as opposed to the standard heavy cream texture. But it does so in a way that does not compromise the paint’s color and texture, so it still acts and looks like acrylic paint.

A pouring medium makes the paint flow easier and lets you change the direction that it flows in so you can create cool and different patterns. If you did not use a pouring medium, it would be harder to create effects in the paint, and it would simply flow down the canvas slowly.

If someone does not add a pouring medium to acrylic paint, then the paint flows thickly and is not as easy to adapt as acrylic paint that has pouring medium added. If the paint is too thick on the canvas, it will take longer to dry and cure, and it will take more materials to create a poured painting.

Best Pouring Mediums

Liquitex Pouring Medium is one of the best pouring mediums on the market. It ranges in price from $7-$70, has many different finishes to choose from, and you can get either a small bottle or a large bucket, depending on how often you use a pouring medium. It has 4.7 stars on Walmart.com, which is a pretty high rating compared to a lot of other brands.

Tri-Art Liquid Glass Pouring Medium is a great pouring medium to use for poured paintings. It ranges in price from $8-$15 and is rated 4.5 stars on Google. However, these pouring mediums are colored and will influence the color of your acrylic paints. If you want your paints to stay vibrant after the pouring medium is added, I do not advise using this brand of pouring medium.

Pouring Medium by Artist’s Loft is one of the best pouring mediums on the market. It will not influence the paint’s color and comes in a variety of sizes from a 16.9 OZ bottle to a 64 OZ jug. It ranges in price from $12-$40 and is highly rated by customers.

U.S. Art Supply Gloss Pouring Effects Medium is a highly rated pouring medium. However, it mainly comes in a 32 OZ bottle, so it may not be the best choice for you if you are only planning on doing one or two poured paintings. It also comes in a glossy finish rather than a matt one, so make sure that you want your painting to have a glossy finish before purchasing this product.

Color Pour Pouring Medium is highly rated by consumers and comes in multiple sizes. It is one of the best pouring mediums on the market, and will not influence the color of your acrylic paints. It ranges in price from $7-$40 and comes in a variety of sized bottles.

DecoArt Pouring Medium is a highly rated pouring medium and is one of the best ones on the market today. However, it is more expensive than many other alternatives. It ranges in price from $20-$34, so if you are on a tight budget it may not be the best choice for you.

Pouring Medium Substitutes

Unicone Art Silicone Oil is a great product to use if you are creating a poured painting and want to have a lot of cells on it. It can be used with a pouring medium, or it can be used as a pouring medium.

Flood Floetrol Additive is typically used with latex paints. It fortifies acrylic and latex-based paints, so it can be used as a pouring medium substitute, but it is typically used with indoor and outdoor painting rather than artwork.

PVA glue or polyvinyl acetate is a very commonly used pouring medium alternative. Other liquid glues are also effective, and very budget-friendly. However, do not mistake it for school glue because the glue marked “school glue” will not work as a pouring medium alternative. It will change the color and texture of your paint.


Book Binders Glue is considered to be a neutral PH alternative to the regular PVA glue that many people use as a pouring medium alternative. However, it is slightly more expensive than many alternatives and is mainly available in small bottles with a small, precise tip.

If you do not want to purchase a pouring medium alternative, you can always make your own. source

Materials Needed:

  • 3 parts PVA Glue
  • 1 part Acrylic Gloss Medium
  • 1.5 parts water
  • 37.5 ml of Acrylic Retarder

How to Make Pouring Medium:

  1. Mix the PVA glue, Acrylic Gloss Medium, and water together in a cup.
  2. Once it is mixed, it should be a similar consistency to pouring cream.
  3. If the mixture is too thick, add a little bit of water until you get it to a consistency you want to achieve.
  4. Mix your pouring medium into your acrylic paint, and have fun creating art!
  5. Keep any leftover medium in an airtight container.
  6. Store it in a cool, dark place and use it again when you are out of your favorite pouring medium.

Can Water Be Used As A Pouring Medium Alternative?

Water should not be used as a pouring medium. If you use water as a pouring medium alternative, it will change the consistency and pigment density of the paint.

While water can be used if you are painting with acrylic paints, it should not be used with acrylic paint being used for poured paintings. Poured paintings have to dry evenly, and the water will make it less likely for that to happen.

While using water as a pouring medium can create some interesting effects in the paint, water will also make your paint less vibrant, which will influence the end product of the painting.

It also dilutes the paint’s binding agents, so it will not stick to the canvas as well as it would have if you used a different pouring medium, especially when the paint is still drying. The last thing you want is a space on the canvas because you used water as a pouring medium alternative.

Water should also not be used as a pouring medium because it will not completely mix and bind to the paint, so they are likely to separate and will cause the paint to have an uneven consistency.

This may cause the paint to flake, lift, and crack on the canvas as it dries, which means that you will likely have to throw the painting away, which is a complete waste of time and materials.

Water causes acrylic paint to act like watercolor paints, which does not bode well for your poured painting. If you are intending to paint with watercolors, but only have acrylic paint, then feel free to add water to it. But do not use water as a pouring medium alternative.

Can I Thicken Acrylic Paint?

It is possible to thicken acrylic paint if you have added too much of the pouring medium. Just use corn starch.

How to thicken acrylic paint:

  1. Mix 1 1/2 cups of water with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in a saucepan.
  2. Heat until it is a thick solution.
  3. Let it cool.
  4. Once cool, add the solution to the paint until you get the desired consistency.
  5. Mix your paint colors, and create your poured painting!

If you add too much of the cornstarch mixture to your acrylic paint, simply add more of the pouring medium that you have chosen to use until you achieve the consistency that you want.

Can Pouring Mediums Be Used With All Paints?

Pouring mediums should not be used with paint types other than acrylic paints. Pouring mediums make the paint that it is added to thinner and more malleable in a way that does not change the paint’s ability to stay on the canvas.

If pouring medium is added to other paints, it will influence the paint’s ability to dry. Especially if you are applying the paint to a surface other than a canvas.

If you add a pouring medium to paint and then apply it to a wall, the paint will drip and create a mess, even if you apply it with a roller or paintbrush.

The paint on the wall will also likely be inconsistent, and you will have bare patches of the wall, and it may be hard to cover with new paint without a pouring medium because the consistency of the paints will be different.

Some things that can be used as pouring medium alternatives are meant to be used with other paints. For example, Flood Floetrol Additive can be used as a pouring medium, but it is meant to be used with indoor and outdoor latex paints.

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I'm a hobby enthusiast with a real love for painting miniatures. I also happen to run this site and write the majority of its content!