• Elisabeth Bachmann

How To: Swipe Technique for Acrylic Pouring

I absolutely adore the swipe technique. For this technique, you need acrylic paint (soft body), Floetrol, Liquitex pouring medium, silicone oil, canvas, a butane torch, and something to swipe with. I have used paper towels, and the plastic wrapping my canvases come in.

Step 1: Mix your paints.


Your paints should be the consistency of warm honey. It’s hard to precisely measure the ratios because it varies by brand and even color for individual brands. For example, the red and blue in these first canvases are from the same brands, are the same age, and have been kept in the same condition. However, the blue required far less medium than the red. Start small, and keep adding medium until you get the consistency of warm honey. I typically start with 1 part paint, 2 parts Floetrol, and a dash of Liquitex pouring medium.

Step 2: Add silicone.

I use approximately 1 drop of silicone oil per small mouthwash cup. When you add silicone, you need to remember to clean off your canvas before you varnish and clean off any acrylic skins before making jewelry.

Step 3: Put base paints on canvas.

Pour stripes of paint across your canvas. You can tilt slightly to get the color to go over the sides of the canvas. Make sure there are no air bubbles or blank spots, except where you plan to start the swipe. I typically use the top or bottom of the canvas, but you can leave the spot wherever you want.


Step 4: Add the color you will swipe with


Add more paint than necessary to the empty spot and allow it to drip over the side of the canvas that has yet to be covered.


Step 5: The swipe


Take a paper towel, and dip it into the paint you want to swipe on the canvas. Be careful not to grab any of the colors you do not want to swipe. Carefully pull the paper towel across the canvas. Lift, and make sure it doesn’t drip on your art.

Step 6: Torch

At this point, you should start seeing cells form. If you want more cells, use a butane torch to activate the silicone. Move quickly across the canvas from a decent distance. You do not want to burn the paint (or catch anything on fire).

I have burned paint, but never have I caught anything on fire. That being said, whenever you mess with fire or anything flammable, make sure you have a fire extinguisher readily available and know how to reach emergency services if a crisis were to arise.

Step 7: Optional

Tilt if you want but recognize it will not tilt straight, and the cells will be distorted.


Step 8: Wait.

Let your painting sit until dry. This can take a bit if there is high humidity. Floetrol typically makes a painting dry matte, so that’s what I keep an eye out for.

The first swipe was done Dec 2019. The two in the second image were done July 2020.


I hope y’all enjoyed this tutorial. Please let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions, questions, or other methods!

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