How to do an acrylic ring pour.   

One of the art forms I discovered and really came to love is acrylic paint pouring. There is a lot of information all over the internet about acrylic paint pouring.  This can make it confusing and difficult to know where to start.  So I would like to help you to know what you will need to get started in this craft to create your very first acrylic paint pour.  I will do this by showing you how to do a ring pour.

I don’t even know what I was searching for, but there I was, sitting in front of my computer watching other people pour paint onto a canvas. Something about this was very intriguing to me. What could be difficult about pouring some paint on a canvas? It just seemed like something I would be able to do. Sort of like when you see a really pretty flower arrangement at a craft show and you think to yourself “I could make that!” And then you don’t. But this was different. I watched so many YouTube videos and now it was time to give it a try. So I set out to the craft store to get some supplies.

What would I need?

This was the next question. What supplies would I need to create a ring pour. There were things I would need that I never even knew existed. But that would make sense because up until recently I had not heard of paint pouring much less how to do a ring pour. The following is a list of what I needed to begin.

  • Acrylic paints (I used Apple Barrel craft paint)
  • Paint conditioner such as Floetrol. This helps to thin the paint and helps it to flow more evenly. You can technically use water too. (other options are for another article)
  • Cups – Plastic or paper cups are perfect. The number of cups needed will depend on how many paint color choices you have. You need one cup per color. In the picture below of the ring pours I used 3 separate cups, one for each ring pour.
  • Stir sticks – Popsicle sticks or craft sticks (tongue depressor)
  • Canvas
  • Something to cover your work space. This is going to get messy!!
  • Painters tape (I use the blue painters tape)

That being said, all of these items listed were necessary for me. But let me tell you, your options are endless when it comes to what you could be using to do a paint pour. But this is paint pouring for dummies so we won’t get into all those choices, for right now anyway.

Setting up the scene!

Okay, we have all the necessary supplies, so now what.

It’s really nice to have a nice large even work area. Even is more important than large but both are nice. Once you do your first pour you find out real quick if your space is even. Often times there is a pretty good amount of paint left on the canvas. If your space is uneven you are at risk for your paint shifting and this could potentially create an unflattering painting. Or flat out ruin it all together. It also can create a mess under your painting. All of those scenarios can be very frustrating to have happen.

There are a few things that can be done to prepare your canvas. Sometimes the canvas may not be as taught as you may like. If it’s not taught the paint is at high risk for pooling in the center of the painting. If you spritz a little water onto the canvas and then take a blow-dryer to it, that will stretch a canvas quite nicely. Then I will usually tape off the edge of the back of the canvas because after the painting dries and you peel the tape off, you have a nice clean canvas back.

Canvas after a pour.  You can see how the tape protects the back of the canvas.

The next thing I do is add push pin to the back four corners of the canvas.  In the photo below there are three sizes shown. The medium size as shown in the picture is my favorite. The large one like in the photo have a thick needle on them which makes it difficult to stick into the wood frame of the canvas.

Now your canvas is ready for some paint!

Basic tree ring pour!

So now you have your canvas all set. It’s time to get the paint ready. This is where the water or Floetrol (paint conditioner) comes in. Normally you would use approximately one part paint to 2 parts Floetrol. This will depend on the consistency of your paint. So mix each cup thoroughly. The consistency should be that of maple syrup. Once the paint is all mixed you are ready to layer the paint in each cup for the ring pours.

You can layer the paint in each cup however you wish. Once you have the paint in the cups you are ready to pour it onto the canvas one cup at a time. You could also get each cup ready just prior to pouring the paint. Once pouring, start in the center of the ring and just pour the paint in small circles to create the rings.

Do that as often as you wish and you are done.

This is a tree ring pour with three rings

Manipulating the paint on the canvas!

Once you have the paint on the canvas it’s now time to manipulate it. Pick up the canvas and tilt it in all four directions one at a time. As you gain experience doing this, you will develop an eye for how you want to manipulate the paint on the canvas.

The end result may scare

Or it may leave you in awe


The first few pours I did left a lot to the imagination. It can take some time to get a feel for the paint on the canvas. There are many variables to consider which I will discuss later. Don’t be scared, you will see improvement in no time at all. Some pours may just be for learning purposes only! Hence the reason this article is paint pouring for dummies.  We have to start somewhere!

In Conclusion

Now you know what you will need to get started your first paint pour. It can be intimidating at first but it can also be so rewarding. Anyone can do this with some practice. It’s really a lot of fun! You can soon go from paint pouring for dummies to paint pouring for the novice! Just have fun with it!

Fun Fact!

Once you are done with your painting it can take several days to dry.  Do not touch it until you are absolutely sure it is dry!  You may be tempted, but don’t do it!  If it isn’t completely dry and you touch it, there is no going back.  Have fun!

You can check out my designs in my ebay store at

If you enjoyed this article please feel free to leave a comment below. Visit my Instagram where you can see some of my very own pours.


2 thoughts on “How to do a Ring Pour. Paint Pouring Basics!”

  1. I love this idea! I’m not a super-crafty person, but I’m always looking for ideas to try with my kids. I’m sure my girls would love this. Any tips for trying this with kids?

    • Hi Carla,
      Thank you so much for checking out my site and taking time to comment.
      Paint pouring with children is so exciting because everything always comes out a masterpiece!
      My 10 year old granddaughter has done many paint pours with me. She has a blast!
      I got her a paint smock and she is sure to wear it anytime she is painting. Paint pouring
      is a fun messy craft. It’s like baking with them, they can measure and pour. And kids love
      getting their hands messy.
      Let me know if you have any questions if you decide to have fun with this craft!
      I’m happy to help.
      Take care,


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