Pour Painting Technique: Creating Cells

Create gorgeous cells in your paint for an impressive effect
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No two pour paintings are alike. This tutorial will show you how to use the swipe method in a pour painting with silicone oil to create gorgeous cells in your paint for an impressive effect.


  • Stretched canvas
  • Tri-art acrylic paint
  • Liquitex pouring medium
  • Tri-art silicone oil
  • Long flat painting knife
  • Plastic cups
  • Stir sticks


How to use silicone oil to create cells in pour paintings

Step 1: 

Prepare your canvas and work area as you would for any pour painting. Make sure your surface is level, protect your table with a drop cloth or plastic and elevate your canvas on upturned plastic cups to allow the paint to flow over the edges.


Step 2: 

Mix your colours in separate cups with pouring medium, a splash of water and a few drops of silicone oil. A little goes a long way and even a small amount of silicone oil will create cells. Mix well adjusting ratios until the paint is a fluid but viscous.


Step 3: 

Pour all the colours (except white) onto your canvas one by one, making sure they overlap in some areas. Pour a thick line of your white paint mixture at the far end of the canvas.

Step 4: 

With a wide flat spatula or painting knife, gently drag a thin layer of the white paint over the other colours. Do not scrap. You only want a thin layer of the white to cover the other colours. You will immediately see the cells form and the colours pop through the white.

Step 5: 

Tilt your canvas to allow the paint to flow to the edges. Wipe your spatula and swipe the white paint over the surface again. Be sure to wipe your spatula between each swipe to avoid muddy colours. Let your painting dry on a level, dust-free surface.



Clean up with soap and water.