Best Acrylic Paint for Pouring

Various Acrylic Paints Used for Pouring

Over the last few years we have tried a lot of different acrylic paints in our pour paintings.  There are so many paint brands and textures to choose from that it can be a little bit overwhelming. 

When trying to determine which paint to use for acrylic paint pouring, there are lots of variables to consider;  cost, how well they mix with pouring mediums, availability in your area, the texture when dry, how well they mix with other paints, etc. We prefer Liquitex Basics for our acrylic pour paints with Arteza and Blick Acrylic paints close behind.

We will be reviewing many of the paints that we’ve used so you can make a better-informed decision next time you go out to buy paints for an acrylic pour.

If you want to save some time and go right to our preferred paint for acrylic pouring, click HERE.

Comparison Criteria

Before we get into the comparisons, we want to let you know the different items that we will be using for our paint analysis.   We will also only be doing comparisons based on how these paints work with acrylic paint pouring.  Other painting methods may have different requirements that are not as important to pouring artists.

In most cases, we have done our own testing with each of these paints.  We will also including some trusted information that has been provided by other acrylic pour artists from various websites and forums.

  • Cost ($) – This is the costs of paint per ounce.  Making this calculation uniform on a per ounce basis allows us to better compare when each brand packages their paint so differently.  These costs are only individually purchase paints.  Bundles of paint may be cheaper per ounce (see Discounts section).
  • Pigment Load – There isn’t a standard on how much pigment to binder ratio any paint has.  Therefore, this measurement will be a star rating from one to four with one being the least load and four being the most load.  The more pigment load in a paint the less you need to mix with your pouring medium.  Better pigment load generally produces more vibrant colors in acrylic pours.
  • Lightfastness (LF) – The lightfastness refers to how resistant to fading a color or pigment is.  This better the lightfastness is, the less likely it is to fade.  Artists that want to sell their paints should make sure they use pigments with very good lightfastness.  The American Standard Test Measure (ASTM for short) is the most common way to measure this in the United States (rated from I to V).  The smaller the roman numeral the better lightfastness the paint has.  Values in parenthesis means that a minority of some paints are assigned this value (eg. I (II) means most are I with some II).
    • Lightfastness I: Excellent lightfastness. The materials will exhibit no appreciable color change after being exposed to the appropriate equivalence of 100 years of indoor museum lighting. These materials are suitable for works that will be installed outdoors.
    • Lightfastness II: Very good lightfastness. These materials are suited for indoor exposure but should not be used for works that will be installed outdoors and receive heavy exposure to ultraviolet light.
    • Lightfastness III: Marginal permanence. These are “fugitive” materials that are not recommended for permanent works.
  • Mixability – This refers to how well the paint mixes with a pouring medium.  The amount of time it takes to mix and how well the final mixing result is are the primary considerations.  As an example, a paint that takes a while to mix but comes out to a perfect consistency would get a high grade while one that mixes quickly but doesn’t give a great result would not.
  • Availability – Can the paints be purchased in your local stores or do you need to buy them on the web?  While we can usually plan our paint purchases, that isn’t always the case so it’s nice to know where you can get each paint brand.
  • Discounts – Are here any regular discounts available or sets that can be purchased to save a little extra on this brand of acrylic paint?
  • What We Dislike – Those things that we just don’t really like about the paint.  No paint is perfect, but you should understand what the cons are so you can deal with them as you see fit.
  • What We Like – Those things that we love about the paint. 

Best Paint for Pouring Table

PaintCostSaleLFLoadRank
Liquitex1.00 – 2.000.50 – 1.00IM
Artez2.000.68 – 1.60IIIH
Blick1.00 – 2.000.50 – 1.00IM
Artist’s Loft1.00 – 1.130.50 – 0.68M
AL Flow0.310.16M
AL Ready-Mix*0.94*0.47M
Golden5.50 – 12.002.75 – 6.00IH
Sargent0.20 – .50M
Sax0.20 – .50M
Amsterdam1.00 – 2.00IIM
Utrecht1.00 – 2.000.50 – 1.00IM
Craft0.33 – 1.750.15 – .87L

Liquitex Basics ❶

Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint Used for Pouring

The Liquitex brand has been in the acrylic paint business since 1955.  They are pioneers in the water-based acrylic paint industry and are one of the most well-known companies in the industry.  The packaging for Liquitex Basics is in the midst of changing so you may see two different sets of branding over the next few months.

  • Cost – $1.00 to $2.00 per ounce retail
    • $.50 to $1.00 per ounce with common discounts/sales
  • Pigment Load – Medium-High
  • Lightfastness – I (II)
    • Almost all Liquitex Basics paints have a lightfastness of I with a limited few exceptions.
  • Mixability – These paints are a rich creamy texture that is slightly on the smooth side.  They require a little bit of mixing to break down the paint and to fully integrate with the pouring medium.  Once mixed, they retain their color and vibrancy.  We recommend a ratio of one part paint to two or three parts pouring medium (1:2/3).  Depending on the application, you may also use a little water to get the desired consistency. 
  • Availability – Liquitex Basics paints generally come in a variety of sizes and packaging.  The best value comes from the larger 8 to 16 oz containers.   Liquitex can be found at most craft and hobby stores and online. 
    • There are some negative reviews of the smaller 32 and 48 paint sets not having great consistency but because we are mixing our paint with a pouring medium, this is not as much of an issue like it is for a regular acrylic painter.
  • Discounts $.50 to $1.00 per ounce – Craft store coupons are the cheapest way to procure this paint.  We frequently see these paints for sale Buy One Get One 50% off.  If you just need a single color than use the one time 40 or 50% off coupons at a craft store.
  • What We Dislike – We have had two different tubes of phthalo blue come out chunky and separated.  We haven’t had it happen to any of the other colors.  Liquitex paints are not on sale as often as most of the other brands.  You can’t get all the paint out of the container without cutting it open and fishing it all out.
  • What We Like – This is a great all-around paint and our pick for anyone moving out of being a beginner painter and wanting to create works to sell.

Purchase Liquitex Basics Acrylics from a trusted online store.


Arteza Premium ❷

Arteza Acrylic Paint Used for Pouring

Arteza is a relatively new player in the acrylic paint market.  Over the last few years they have really come on to position themselves as a “by the people for the people” type of online arts and crafts store.  Arteza is aggressively marketing their acrylic paints and mica powders to acrylic paint pourers.

  • Cost – $2.00 per ounce retail
    • $.68 to $1.60 per ounce when purchase in bulk or with coupon.
  • Pigment Load – High
  • Lightfastness – III (II)
  • Mixability – Arteza paints come in small pouches similar to baby food pouches.  They have a thick smooth consistency.  Mixing will take a bit longer than other paints as the pigments and binder are more like a heavy body than a soft body acrylic.  However, once everything is incorporated, they work great as pouring paints.  We recommend a ratio of one part paint to two to four parts pouring medium (1:2/3).  Depending on the application, you may also use a little water to get the desired consistency as this paint is more like a heavy body acrylic.
  • Availability – As if the writing of this article, Arteza Premium paints are only sold online on their website and a few other distributors like Walmart and Amazon.
  • Discounts – There are almost always discount codes available.  You should always be able to get at least 10% off. Use code PB15PROMO to get 15% off your order until 07/31/2020.  
  • What We Dislike – Having to buy these online is not an ideal situation.  You can’t just drop down to the local craft store to refill when you want to paint that day.   The lightfastness III rating is a real downer for a lot of people although we still recommend this as one of the best mid-class paints on the market.
  • What We Like – These paints are by far the most vibrant that we have tested.  The colors practically jump off the painting surface.  They mix well and are beautiful to look at.  The pouches make it easy to almost every single drop of paint out of the container.

Purchase Arteza Premium Acrylics from a trusted online store.


Blick Studio Acrylics ❸

Blick Acrylic Paint Used for Pouring

Blick Art Materials is a massive company that specializes almost exclusively in art products. Blick Studio Acrylics are the in-house brand paints of Blick Art Materials.  These paints are high performance paints at value prices. 

  • Cost – $1.00 – $2.00 per ounce retail
    • $.50 – $1.00 per ounce discounted
  • Pigment Load – Medium-High
  • Lightfastness – I (II)
  • Mixability – These paints are very similar to their more expensive Liquitex counterparts.  They are on the thick side compared to other soft body acrylics.   They take a little extra time to integrate with a pouring medium, but the finished results are quite nice.
  • Availability – Individual colors of Blick Studio Acrylics are only sold by Blick as far as we can find.  The multiple color packs are sold in most major retailers.  Blick often has discounts that can be used when purchasing their paints and we’d always expect to pay 30-50% off retail.  There are also quite a few retail Blick stores in the United States.
  • Discounts – Blick frequently has coupons to get anywhere from 20% – 50% off a single item and occasionally a % of your entire purchase.
  • What We Dislike – We don’t particularly like the packaging as it is difficult to get the last bit of paint out of the 4oz and 8oz tubes.  Waiting for the right coupon is also a pain sometimes. We wish the website was easier to navigate.
  • What We Like – They are above average at everything.  If you wait for one of the good coupons (40-60% off) this is one of the best value paints out there for fluid acrylic artists.

NOTE: Blick also has educational quality acrylic paints.  We decided not to list them on this post as we haven’t had any experience with them, and we already have some pretty good educational acrylics with the Sax and Sargent brands. 

Purchase Blick Studio Acrylics from their trusted online store.


Artist’s Loft Academic Acrylic

Artists Loft Paint Used for Pouring

The Artist’s Loft brand is the in-house brand of Michael’s Craft Store.  These paints come in three different qualities including Academic, Artist, and Professional in soft body acrylic paints.

  • Cost – $1 to $1.13 per ounce retail
    • $.50 to $58 per ounce with common discounts or larger container pricing.
  • Pigment Load – Medium
  • Lightfastness – NA – Info not provided by manufacturer, but we guess III for most with some II.
  • Mixability –We recommend a ratio of one part paint to two parts pouring medium (1:1/2).  Depending on the application, you may also use a little water to get the desired consistency. 
  • Availability – Individuals paints are sold exclusively at Michael’s stores and on their website.  You can find overpriced private seller items on Amazon.  The larger sets of paints can be found on Amazon and many other retailers.
  • Discounts – With Michael’s you should be able to get a 40% off coupon for single items. These paints go on sale Buy One Get One 50% off frequently. There are also numerous 25% off entire purchase of your order sales that can usually be combined with the BOGO sales.
  • What We Dislike – We don’t like that the lightfastness is not divulged by Michael’s.  However, most student grade acrylics will last longer than a normal painter’s lifetime so it shouldn’t be too much of a worry.  Most of the paints seem to be less pigmented than other brands so keep your paint to pouring medium close to 1:1 or 1:2.
  • What We Like – These paints are affordable, and readily available online and in the Michael’s stores.  Michael’s also has new coupons every day.  We recommend signing up for their rewards program, so you always have the latest deals available.

Purchase Artist’s Loft Academic Acrylics from a trusted online store.


Artist’s Loft Flow Acrylic

Artists Loft Flow Acrylic Paint Used for Pouring

The Artist’s Loft brand is the in-house brand of Michael’s Craft Store.  The Flow Acrylic are soft body paints that are more liquid than their other paints and generally come in much larger containers.

  • Cost – $.31 per ounce retail
    • $.16 per ounce with common discounts.
  • Pigment Load – Medium
  • Lightfastness – NA – Info not provided by manufacturer, but we guess III for most with some II.
  • Mixability –We recommend a ratio of one part paint to one part pouring medium (1:1/2).   Depending on the application, you may also use a little water to get the desired consistency. 
  • Availability – Individuals paints are sold exclusively at Michael’s stores and michaels.com as far as we can tell.  You can find overpriced private seller items on Amazon.  The larger sets of paints can be found on Amazon and many other retailers.
  • Discounts – With Michael’s you should be able to get a 40% off coupon for single items. These paints go on sale Buy One Get One 50% off frequently. There are also numerous 25% off entire purchase of your order sales that can usually be combined with the BOGO sales.
  • What We Dislike – We don’t like that the lightfastness is not divulged by Michael’s.  Most student grade acrylics would be lightfastness II or III which would have them keep close to their natural colors for a few decades in normal inside light.
  • What We Like – For colors that you use a LOT, especially for things like base coats, we highly recommend these paints.  You can get so much more for your money compared to any other paints of similar quality with the Artist’s Loft Flow Acrylic Paints.   Stock up on your black and white for sure.

Purchase Artist’s Loft Flow Acrylics from a trusted online store.


Artist’s Loft Ready-Mixed Pouring Paint

This is a new addition to the Artist’s Loft brand.  The ready-mixed pouring paint can be poured directly out of the bottle with no additional pouring medium or mixing.

  • Cost – *** $.94 per ounce retail – See What We Dislike below for additional details.
    • *** $.47 per ounce with discounts – See What We Dislike below for additional details.
  • Pigment Load – Medium
  • Lightfastness – NA – Info not provided by manufacturer, but we guess III for most with some II.
  • Mixability – No mixing required.
  • Availability – Individuals paints are sold exclusively at Michael’s stores and on their website.  You can find overpriced private seller items on Amazon.  The larger sets of paints can be found on Amazon and many other retailers.
  • What We Dislike – As was mentioned above, the cost of these paints is quite bit more compared to others when using a budget pouring medium like glue-all or floetrol.  If you are using a name brand pouring medium, the price comparison is much more reasonable.  There is a limited color selection although you can definitely mix them together.  These pends tend to be more transparent than most and some techniques like a flip cup get varied results.
  • What We Like – These paints have created some of the most beautiful multi-layer looking acrylic pours that we have seen. The colors are vibrant, and the paint dries with a natural sheen which doesn’t require any additional finish if you so choose.   

Purchase Artist’s Ready-Mixed Pouring Paint from their trusted online store.


Golden Fluid and High Flow Acrylics

Golden is another well establish paint manufacturer.  They started in the 1980s after the passing of their founder, Sam Golden, they become an employee owned company.  Golden is a trusted brand and the preferred paint for many artists outside of the pouring community.

  • Cost – ***$5.5 to $12 per ounce retail – see What We Dislike below for additional details.
    • $2.75 to $6 per ounce discounted.
  • Pigment Load – High
  • Lightfastness – I (II)
  • Mixability – These paints are quite fluid and hold a lot of pigment.  Golden recommends mixing between three and ten parts of pouring medium to one part of paint (1:3-10).  These paints are meant to be mixed and they integrate quite readily with all the pouring mediums we have seen them used with.  Because they are so pigmented it make take a little longer to full mix.  Little or no added water is generally needed with these paints.
  • Availability – Golden paints can be purchased at almost any craft store.  They are very expensive compared to most other commonly used paints in acrylic pouring so definitely make sure you are using a coupon every time you buy Golden paints.
  • Discounts – With craft stores, you should be able to get a 40% off coupon for single items.
  • What We Dislike – These paints are by far the most expensive paints on this list.  Even with the paint to pouring medium ratio being much higher than other colors, the paint still comes out to be double or triple other brands.
  • What We Like – You can’t beat the quality of paint you get with Golden.  You always know you are going to be the best paint on the market with the best pigments and lightfastness possible.  There are a ton of colors to choose from and they are meant to be mixed. 

Purchase Golden Fluid and High Flow Acrylics from a trusted online store.


Sargent Acrylics

Sargent Art is the “leading supplier of quality art materials to the educational and retail markets throughout the United States” (About Us at sargentart.com).  Sargent takes great care in making sure their products are nontoxic and is an excellent economical pick for art materials.

  • Cost – $.20 – $50 per ounce retail
  • Pigment Load – Medium
  • Lightfastness – NA – not provided by manufacturer
  • Mixability – The paint come in a thick paste that is slightly more liquid than the other academic or level 1 acrylic paints.  They are easy to mix but don’t have a lot of pigment, so we recommend mixing two parts medium to one part paint (1:1/2)
  • Availability – Sargent paints can be purchased at almost every online retailer including Michael’s, Blick, Amazon, and Walmart.  We could not find any store near us that had it in stock.  The 12 bottles of 16 oz paints seem to be the best deal to get the $.20 per ounce pricing mentioned above.
  • Discounts – We don’t see any regular discounts for Sargent Acrylics although purchasing larger containers does bring the cost per ounce down considerably.
  • What We Dislike – These paints are not very highly pigmented and therefore don’t stretch as far when mixed with a pouring medium.  We also have heard that they don’t flow as well as other paints, even when mixed although we haven’t experience this ourselves.
  • What We Like – The price is by far the best asset of this paint.  Since they are made for educational purposes, they are durable and non-toxic.  You might consider buying your basic colors that you use in large batches like black and white to save some money on base coats and filler paints.

Purchase Sargent Acrylics from a trusted online store.


Sax True Flow Acrylics

This is a brand we were only recently introduced to.  These paints are also used for educational purposes and are sold in fairly large quantities because of this.

  • Cost – $.20 – $.50 per ounce retail
  • Pigment Load – Medium
  • Lightfastness – NA – not provided by manufacturer
  • Mixability – These paints come in a thick creamy paste.  The colors mix well it doesn’t take long to get them fully incorporated into common pouring mediums.   Because of low pigment amounts you should mix them no more than one part paint to two parts pouring medium (1:1/2).
  • Availability – These paints are only sold online.  They can be found at all the major retailers and craft supply stores.  Because they are made for educational purposes they come in sizes from 16 oz (pint) up to gallon sizes. 
  • Discounts – We don’t see any regular discounts for Sax True Flow Acrylics although purchasing larger containers does bring the cost per ounce down considerably.
  • What We Dislike – You can’t pick these up in a local store as they are only sold online.  The paint isn’t very highly pigmented to they don’t stretch as far as other paints do.  The manufacturer doesn’t provide the lightfastness rating so we are assuming they are III or less and that the colors will fade gradually over time.
  • What We Like – The value for the quality of the paint is one of the best on the market.  Artists like Olga Soby at Smart Art Materials have nothing but good things to say about the paints.  While we don’t recommend these for paintings that you are going to sell or that you want to last for decades, they are excellent paints to use for practice and to supplement where necessary.

Purchase Sax True Flow Acrylics from a trusted online store.


Amsterdam Acrylics

The Amsterdam paint brand is owned by Royal Talens, a Dutch paint manufacturer that started operating in 1899.  The Amsterdam brand was introduced in 1976 and has been a staple in the student acrylic paint scene ever since.  Royal Talens has a presence in New Jersey and Massachusetts in the United States.

  • Cost – $1.00 to $2.00 per ounce retail
  • Pigment Load – Medium-High
  • Lightfastness – III (II)
  • Mixability – These paints are average in their consistency.  They are a little more fluid than other brands but mix well with mediums and water. 
  • Availability – These paints can be purchased online in most major retailers and in-store at some arts and craft stores.
  • Discounts – If you can find them in your local craft stores you can use their 20 – 50% off discounts.
  • What We Dislike – These paints are average compared to their counterparts.  They do not go on sale themselves often, so distributors discounts are the best way to get them on the cheap.  Their lightfastness ratings leaves a lot to be desired as most paints are only lightfastness III.
  • What We Like – The Titanium white is a staple for most acrylic paint pourers.  This color gets used as the primary cell creator in the Shelee Art blooms technique.  Some of the beautiful colors they provide are not available with other brands.

Purchase Amsterdam Acrylics from a trusted online store.


Utrecht Studio Series Acrylics

Utrecht Acrylic Paint Used for Pouring

New York based Utrecht, named after the founder’s high school in Brooklyn, has been doing business in the Art world since the 1950s.  They were acquired by Blick in 2013 and continue as a premium brand of art supplies.

  • Cost – $1.00 – $2.00 per ounce retail
    • $.50 – $100 per ounce retail
  • Pigment Load – Medium-High
  • Lightfastness – I (II)
  • Mixability – These paints are a step up from the Blick Studio Acrylics.  They are medium body acrylics and are slightly thicker than their Blick counterparts.  They do take a little extra mixing but the final results is work the extra effort.
  • Availability – These paints are only sold at Blick retail stores and the Blick website.  We also recommend you always buy these when they are on sale.  If the price of these are less expensive than the Blick version we highly recommend that you select Utrecht.
  • Discounts – Blick frequently has coupons to get anywhere from 20% – 50% off a single item and occasionally a % of your entire purchase.
  • What We Dislike – These paints still come in metal tubes.  While we haven’t had one rust on us yet, that is still a very real possibility if they are kept in a humid or hot location.  We wish the website was easier to navigate.
  • What We Like – These paints are gorgeous.  They come in the larger 8oz sizes and they list out the pigment, vehicle (binder), lightfastness, and opacity/transparency on every tube unlike some of the other student level acrylics. 

Purchase Utrecht Studio Series Acrylics from their trusted online store.


Craft Paints

Craft Acrylic Paint Used for Pouring

Craft paints include brands like FolkArt, Craftsmart, DecoArt Americana, Apple Barrel, Martha Stewart, and many others.   We do not recommend ever using dollar store paints for anything other than practice.   

We are not going to review each brand of craft paints, but we did want to give some general information about these acrylic paints since they are the ones used by many beginner acrylic paint pouring artists. 

We don’t have any real issues with using these paints to get started with acrylic paint pouring. We used them and continue to use them in certain circumstances (think metallics and sparkling colors).

However, outside of some of the metallic and iridescent paints, we still recommend using one of the brands above for any work you plan on keeping or selling.

  • Cost – $.33 to $1.50 per ounce retail
  • Pigment Load – Low
  • Lightfastness – NA – Generally considered the worst lightfastness of all acrylic paints due the lesser quality pigments used and poor pigment load.
  • Mixability – In general, craft paints mix quite easily with all pouring mediums.  We don’t recommend mixing anything more than one part pouring medium to one part paint (1:1).  Some water may need to be added to get the desired consistency.
  • Availability – These paints are available in almost every craft store and at most retail stores like Walmart. 
  • Discounts – Craft paints are frequently on sale at Walmart and most major craft stores. Large economy packs with 10+ paints are also cheaper to purchase.
  • What We Dislike – The paints have very little pigment and no real information on how long they will last in directly sunlight.  The lack of pigment means that higher quality color with generally overpower any craft paints they are pair with.
  • What We Like – Craft paints easy to work with and help give beginner acrylic paint pourers a great place to start without breaking the bank.  Some of the specialty craft paints are much more cost effective than buying mica powders or other additives.  Everybody must start somewhere, and these are a great landing point.

Purchase Craft Acrylic Paint from a trusted online store.


Video Review of Best Paints to Use for Acrylic Pouring

Conclusion

Ultimately we chose Liquitex because it is relatively inexpensive, has very good lightfastness ratings, is easy to buy online and in local stores, and has a history of quality.

We love the pigment load with the Arteza but the lightfastness is really a problem for serious artists that want their work to last.

Blick puts out a great product but they are more difficult to buy on a whim if you don’t have a Blick Art Supply store in your area.

Picking the paints that you use for your acrylic paint pouring projects is a highly subjective practice.  How easily the paints are acquired, the costs in your local area, shipping requirements, and other factors make a definitive answer to “the best paint brand for acrylic pouring?” nearly impossible.

We provided our opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of the common acrylic paints that we have experience with or that we have trusted reviews about.

What paint do you use for acrylic pouring?  Leave your answer below and help the community find new and exciting paints to use in this amazing abstract art acrylic paint pouring.