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Tutorial : How to Make Acrylic Dirty Pour Coasters

Remember Wendy of Shades of Clay?  I wrote about their awesome cabezel polymer clay molds before.  This Canadian supplier also sells all kinds of mixed media supplies.  Wendy sent me some MDF coaster blanks and suggested I have fun with acrylic dirty pours.

Well!  I certainly did and now fully understand why so many people enjoy this creative art form.  This is the absolutely first time I have done acrylic dirty pours. If I can do it, so can you. Serendipity comes into play as you are never quite sure what will appear!

Many acrylic dirty pour artists enjoy scaling up for bigger canvases. Me? Coasters are a good beginning before I try scaling down to jewelry - tutorial is now out here. The bonus is you can use up the leftovers of bigger pours for jewelry.

I got help getting started from the Julie Cutts, the Australian artist behind Pouring Your Heart Out with this basic acrylic pouring on coasters tutorial.

Here is what I used to make the pouring medium.  Water, white craft/school glue (Elmers is another example) and a latex paint extender.  Most pourers use the Floetrol paint extender brand.  I got a different brand which also worked.

I used Julie's formula, for every 100 mL, this is the proportion : 60 mL white craft glue, 30 mL water and 10 mL paint extender. I actually doubled this formula for 6 coasters.

Then I mixed 30 mL of the pouring medium to 30 mL of acrylic paint - a 1:1 ratio.  You can use acrylic paints that artists use but it is cheaper to just use the little bottles of craft acrylic paints. In the video, Julie used 3 shades of blue, black and white. I used 2 shades of blue, a metallic grey, black and white.

Once the cups are prepared, I added 2 drops of a lubricant to each container.  Some people use pure silicone oil - like that used for treadmills.  Others use coconut milk hair serum  - the major ingredient for this serum is dimethicone. Dimethicone is often used in medicine and in cosmetics and hair products - makes hair shiny and smooth.  The lubricant promotes the formation of cells in acrylic pours.

Many acrylic pourers use puppy training pads to contain their messes. I just made do with layers of newspaper on top of a garbage bag.  It is important to have the coaster blanks on something like a plastic cup or small container. This is to allow the paint to overflow and cover the sides.  All this makes for messy work, so gloves are recommended!

As in Julie's video, I proceeded to pour small amounts of the paint - pouring medium mixes into small medicine cups, layer by layer until I got about about 25- 30 mL worth. Then the fun began when I dumped the lot onto a coaster and moved the paint to the edges. I favored the patterns I liked by tilting the coaster so I got more of those!

I also sprinkled some glitter on a couple of the coasters. See the video at the end of this post where the instructor shows how to create a faux geode with an acrylic pour artwork, glitter and metallic flakes.

I used a paint brush to touch up when the paint mix did not quite cover all the edges.

Once done, the coasters have to be protected otherwise the paint will come off with time.  Julie discovered that KBS DiamondFinish Clear Coat works best for use with hot mugs when she tested it and several others out. The aerosol can is less costly.

Resin also works very well.  I used Brilliant Resin from Little Windows simply because it was what I had on hand. While this resin is super for the other coasters I made (see links below), it is NOT a good resin for spreading like this.  If you are going to resin the coasters you make, consider using Art Resin which is an excellent resin which artists use for protecting canvases.

Brilliant Resin is a doming resin so I had trouble getting it to spread across the coasters and down the sides.  It has greater surface tension than Art Resin so it tends to pull back from the edges.  I had to apply 2 layers of resin to make sure I filled all the gaps especially at the corners and edges. Hmm, round coasters might be easier!

I also had several knobby bits of resin left on the underside of the coasters.

Out comes the power sanding tool to make these resin bits all quickly disappear!  I wore a wear a dust mask and worked outside for this step.

A damp cloth soon gets rid of all the dust.

An easy way to finish the backs is to use self - adhesive cork squares or round ones if you are using round coasters. I had a cork sheet so I just sprayed adhesive on the backs of the coasters and then stuck each down. A quick trim with a pair of scissors and I was done.

I managed to get a bit of glue on one of the pieces. No worries!  The boo-boo came off with Flitz which is great for polishing resin and keeping it nice and shiny. (Little Windows offers a 15% discount : use BG1516.I have tested Flitz out before.

With Glitter

No Glitter

How to Embellish Any Pour Into a Gorgeous Geode Style

Before You Go:

I used my iPhone 8+ with the Camera+   app. I used  the Orangemonkie studio which comes equipped with LED lights - for artificial light photography in my windowless basement studio. The Foldio2 is particularly affordable. I use the Foldio3 because I need the room for tutorial photography.  Some of the above tutorial pictures as well as the final project ones were taken in natural light. 

My online class Easy Guide to Smartphone Jewelry Photography is now available. Read more about it here.  


This blog may contain affiliate links. I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links. This goes towards the support of this blog and to provide resource information to readers. The opinions expressed are solely my own. They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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  1. Stop already. I can't keep up with all of your new ideas. I want to try each one of them. Is that a bad thing?

    1. Of course not! You will never know what you will enjoy doing. Besides you will always have different ideas for gifts!

  2. My goodness Pearl! How many coaster sets do you have now?! :0)

    Awesome job. Awesome tutorial!

    1. Thanks! The coasters end up in my house or as gift sets!!

  3. You can tape the bottom of the coaster using cellotape or masking tape and then put them on transparent plastic sheet before the pouring the resin. This will help control the spillage

    1. I considered that but was too lazy to add strips of masking tape to all 6 coasters. Might have been easier if I bought WIDE masking tape!

  4. Because we are all stuck inside I came back to have a look at your acrylic pour tutorial. I figured because we're in Canada you would have a different way of going about it since Floetrol is not available here.

    I totally missed that geode pour by Ann at the bottom last time. I think it's a perfect tutorial on it's own for all of sitting inside.

    However - I'm finding because I don't have the pouring medium here at home that it's also unavailable for the time being on Amazon. No surprise there. Everyone is filling their time and their houses with their creations I suppose and the supply is not a necessity either.
    Still a great tutorial by Ann. I have tons of gemstones I could use!

    1. Check again. It is there. You can get Floetrol locally too but it is usually sold out because a lot of people do acrylic pours. Or you can try another brand of latex paint extender from a hardware store like I did.


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