Simple Swipe Paint Pouring

Beach Paint Pouring With Elmer’s Glue Medium

Here are the instructions for the Elmer’s Glue medium method that we liked the best. This was not a dirty pour, but a swipe method which we found works better for thicker paints. Although we used the Elmer’s Glue and a thicker paint for this tutorial, you can always use a more fluid acrylic and whichever mixing medium you prefer (floetrol or liquitex pouring medium)


  • Wooden canvas (or canvas of your choice)
  • Artist’s Loft acrylic paint
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Distilled Water
  • Large disposable aluminum trays just a little bit larger than your canvas to place finished painting on
  • Large, deep casserole aluminum pans to pour the paint over. It’s important that they are sized so that your canvas can be propped on the edges for swiping or adding designs with your tools (trowel, toothpicks, spoons, etc.)
  • Plastic tablecloth or wax paper to cover the work surface
  • Disposable plastic cups
  • Disposable shot glasses
  • Disposable gloves
  • Aprons
  • Putty (used for hanging posters on painted walls) – Roll up 4 pieces of putty and place one underneath each corner of your finished painting and set it on your flat aluminum tray. This will allow the painting to dry without sticking to the tray. We purchased it at the dollar store.
  • Trowel, popsicle sticks or plastic spoons
  • Toothpicks
  • Straws
  • Gesso (white)
  • Treadmill silicone

Elmer’s Glue Pouring Medium:

  • 1/3 cup distilled water
  • 1 cup Elmer’s Glue (PVA)

Mix the glue and water well. Put it into an airtight container/jar and set aside. Please note that the Elmer’s Glue is not archival quality since the glue does contain some acid, but is perfectly fine to use for your own paintings or while learning. If you are selling your paintings, I would choose a different pouring medium.

Paint/Medium Ratio:

  • 1 part paint
  • 2 parts medium

*Make sure to double check the consistency of each color you mix. Here’s the video that helped us get the proper consistency.


Prep your canvas the night prior by adding a thin layer of gesso.

  1. Protect your work surface – Cheap plastic tablecloths or wax paper work great because you can just roll it up and throw it away.
  2. Put on old clothes or an apron – You’re rolling liquid paint around on a canvas. There’s definitely a chance of ruined clothing.
  3. Lay out your deep aluminum trays to catch the dripping paint. Make sure it will support your canvas while pouring the paint onto your canvas and to lay the canvas on while you make any extra designs in the paint with your trowel, toothpicks, spoons, etc. You can also use a wire rack on top of an aluminum tray if you would like.
  4. If mixing your own color, add the colors needed into a shot glass and mix. Just make sure you have a full shot glass of color or the amount needed to get the correct ratio.
  5. Use the shot glasses to measure your paint and medium ratio of 1:2
  6. Stir well with a trowel or plastic spoon.
  7. Add 6-8 drops of silicone per each ounce of paint. Using a popscicle stick, cut into the silicone and paint with an X so you don’t over mix the silicone.
  8. Place your paint cups close to your aluminum pan.2-IMG_6431
  9. Place your canvas over your aluminum pan, wire rack or whatever you’ve decided to use.
  10. Pour the sand colored paint along one long edge, about 1/3 of the way up the canvas.
  11. Pour the white paint along the edge of the sand color and then the turquoise color along the edge of the white. These 2 colors should take up about 1/3 of the canvas
  12. Pour the blue paint along the edge of the turquoise, covering the remaining canvas.1-IMG_6437
  13. Pick up the canvas and holding it so that the color stripes are horizontal to the floor, slowly rock the canvas up and down. You want the colors to move into the next color it’s against. Make sure you hold the canvas over your drip tray as the paint will be dripping off the canvas.
  14. Rock your canvas in a circular motion and continue to move the paint until you’re happy with the beach scene. Try to move it so that your sandy beach is higher on one side than the other.5-IMG_6443
  15. You can use your toothpick, trowel, or spoon edge to lightly swipe across the colours to create more cells, move the paint around or make swirls in the painting.
  16. Make sure you use your trowel or fingers to touch up any spots on the edge of the canvas that didn’t get coated with paint while you were moving the canvas. The edge of our wooden canvas was wider and when the paint flowed over the edges, it was beautiful.
  17. Set the painting on your level surface to dry. It will take up to a week to dry completely.

~C. Dolly~


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