7 Surfaces You Can Pour Paint On (with tips for each)

Artists and crafters can create a vast universe of swirls and intertwining shapes and colors when they use a technique known as paint pouring. Through paint pouring, an artist is capable of creating colors and schemes beyond their wildest imaginations. But this method isn’t just for artists.

Something else to know is that just about anyone can do it, even without having any training in painting.
I have found that in most cases, acrylic paint is the best option for paint pouring.

This is because it is colorful, fluid,  and easy to mix. Mixing and flow are the key features that are needed for paint pouring. Some basic tips are universal no matter what you use as the paint pouring surface.

Cleaning and priming the surface beforehand will always produce the best results. Adding water to your paint and primer to the surface you are pouring paint onto will also give you the best paint pouring experience. Lastly, no matter the material you are using, you will need a reliable paint sealer to ensure your artwork remains intact and the paint does not chip away.

But just what are the best surfaces to use for paint pouring? Well, in the end, it all depends on the artist and their vision for the finished product. In reality, however, it is better to first figure out what you like to use as an artist and which surface will best suit your project.

Below,  I’ve provided a list provided to help you decide which paint pouring surfaces are the most ideal for your artistic needs. Each surface here has advantages and disadvantages, but all are capable of producing a magnificent scope of the imagination if you, as the artist, have the vision.


The most traditional of any painting surface is, of course, a canvas. Canvases are a reliable resource when it comes to paint pouring. Canvases are already made for painting so you would not have to worry about an unfriendly surface.

Using acrylic paint will produce stunning results on canvases as paint goes well to its surface. Paint adheres well to the surface and will stick without any need for surface preparation.

One downside of using certain types of canvases is the likelihood you will run into problems with the middle of the canvas bending because of the excessive amount of paint on top. Especially if the paint is pooled together on top of your canvas, the middle of the canvas will start to bend. This is very common since paint pouring is really an experimental kind of art.

You continue to add layer after layer of paint until you reach your desired results. Sometimes this does not always come easily and so you may have a lot of problems with your canvas depending on the kind you use.

Some tips for using a canvas are to elevate your canvas when pouring on it. This will allow the excess paint to run down off the sides of the canvas and create a pool underneath. If it’s not elevated, the excess paint will build up around the sides of the canvas making it hard to remove after you are done painting. This of course increases the chances of you ruining your artwork this way.

As for the buildup of paint on the surface of your canvas, make sure you use one with a triple wooden frame in the back. Many canvas boards have a recess of space in the back where there is no support for the surface. This is what causes depression in the center after a large amount of paint has been added on. Finding one with good support, therefore, is the key.

Lastly, before you begin painting on the surface of a canvas, make sure you do clean its surface. No matter the kind of painting you do, you should clean any dust particles or dirt that appears on your canvas. Doing this will assure a comfortable painting experience and that no dirt gets in your paint.

Wood & Furniture

Painting on wood surfaces has the potential to produce very beautiful experiments. Especially when using furniture. One exciting practice is to take an old piece of furniture that someone has thrown away and decorate it as a paint-pouring masterpiece.

Because the surface of most wood is hard and slick, the paint doesn’t soak in as fast which will give you the opportunity to lift the wooden furniture or surface you are using to let the paint run and blend together.

Some tips for getting the most out of your paint pouring experience on wood is to always make sure you clean the surface of the wood or furniture that you will use. Make sure there are not dust and dirt particles. Also using a smooth surface of wood helps because you will seal the wood. So if the texture is too rough, it may help to sand down the surface until smooth.

Sealing the wood with an artist’s gesso and also priming it for painting is critical because it prepares the wood for the best possible acrylic painting results.

Sealing will prevent moisture from warping the wood and causing it to bend which would later ruin your paint. Paint primer will enable the paint to contemplate the wood a lot better, enabling the paint to better hold to the surface of the wood or move easier on the canvas.

With the process of paint pouring itself, it is always best to first mix your pours before starting since they will not mix all that much on the surface. Starting with the surface you are painting on whether that is a table, board, shelf, etc. is key to getting the intricate colors you are envisioning.

Once you’ve poured your paint onto the surface, you can now tilt the wood or move it so that the paint will scatter across the surface. This can be done gently so that no paint will get on your clothes and so not all of your paint will end up on the floor.

Here is an awesome example of paint pouring using a wooden surface:


Paint pouring on glass is a unique process because this allows for there to be different patterns visible from both sides of the glass. This is the only surface that allows for visibility from both sides.

The process of paint pouring on glass happens in a pretty similar way as it would with any other surface. So long as you continue to use acrylic paint which is the recommended option. The only thing you want to remember is that of the unique visibility glass offers you.

As for tips, if the glass is clear and visible from all sides, try using rich vibrant colors when painting. This allows for light to continue to pass through, enabling you to see the magic of what you have created from different angles. Selecting the right piece of glass might as well be the most challenging part of the whole process.

It all depends really on the kind of project you are trying to produce. Clear glass objects will allow you to see different patterns from different angles on the final product.

However, you might also want a darker or opaque look. So these are things to consider when selecting the right glass piece for this project.

Before painting, just as before on the wood and canvas, you should clean the surface. With glass especially, there can be a lot of dirt and grime that sticks to its surface. You want to clean this off really well to assure that your paint will flow smoothly on the surface.

A tip to follow while pouring paint is to also raise the glass above the ground or wherever you are painting. Just as before with the canvas, you want to avoid paint build-up around the edges.

Finally, just like the wood, you must seal your final painting. Especially with glass, it is very easy for dirt to stick to its surface. Also, the paint will chip off with time from a glass surface. Adding a fresh coat of seal will enable that the finished product will last and also allow for there to be a “finished” look.


Metal is an interesting choice for paint pouring since it is common for paint to not stick to metal, chipping off when it has dried. Acrylic paints, however, will stick to most metals and the best part about that is you will not need any preparation of the surface for the paint to stick.

According to leftbrainedartist.com, it is a good technique to first pour paint onto a small section of the metal piece you are using, and after letting it dry you can see if the paint will chip off. If the paint has dried well, then you will know you can paint pour on the rest of the piece.

If you are using a metal object in which the paint is just not sticking and continues to chip off every time you try to pour paint on it, you can repeat some of the steps used before for both the glass and wood, such as sanding it down and cleaning the surface.

Ceramic Tiles

Paint Pouring on tiles produces wonderful results that are very unique since the paint dries really slow on the surface of tiles, creating unique patterns and color schemes. Tiles are also relatively cheap and affordable for any aspiring artist. typically, tiles are a good place to start for paint pouring.

Some tips about pouring onto tiles are that they do not need to be coated with gesso before you pour paint on them. this is because the paint pouring process uses a lot of paint. With so much paint build-up on top of your tile, the moisture will remove the gesso and cause it to bubble up underneath.

Although unique textures can be produced this way, it may not be for everyone’s artistic vision and they may be expecting something else. Therefore, the better results actually come from pouring straight onto the bare surface.

Once you have finished with the paint pouring, it is important to seal the tiles. Polycrylic gloss finish is always great for using on acrylic paint. AcrylicPouring.com recommends this kind of six-inch tiles which you can decorate and display on your desk somewhere. For bigger tiles and coasters, it is recommended to use and heat and water finish to seal the tile.

Vinyl Records

Paint pouring on old vinyl records is a great way to save money on art supplies since you can find them at thrift shops and goodwill stores. Most of them will sell for very cheap. At the same time, the paint pouring experiments you can have with vinyl records are very unique since their texture creates beautiful patterns that can only be achieved from using an old record.

One of the reasons for this is because vinyl records have a very smooth and slick surface, so the paint will flow easily and can get all over the place if you are not careful. Therefore, when you pour paint on a vinyl record, you should have a drying station set up underneath it already so you won’t have to move it.

Moving it will most likely cause you to lose the design you created while pouring paint. In the worst-case scenario, it is very easy to drop a vinyl record to where it can break on the floor or ruin your painting completely.

Clay Pots

This is a fun way to decorate the flower pots in your garden to potentially brighten things up. Paint pouring on clay pots is easy and doesn’t require much preparation for the paint. Using a paint primer is an option for those that let the paint flow more fluidly over the pot.

Much of the process for pouring paint on ceramic pottery is the same as before. What works best is to have the pot placed upside down when you pour paint on it. Make sure you have steady support under it to straighten as you paint. After you have finished paint pouring, as always don’t forget to add the sealer to the finished product.

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print


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!