Acrylic Pour Cells Recipe – A Guide For Great Cells

Acrylic cells Acrylic Pour Cells Recipe

Acrylic pouring is an interesting and fun technique to create fluid paintings.  Cells are a fascinating possibility unique to acrylic paint. You’ll need a great acrylic pour cells recipe to get the best results.

For artists who are still finessing their acrylic pouring skills, creating cells can be a tough task. Many artists struggle to make cells where they are needed. Even if they manage to create cells at will, they can’t control their size.

In this post, we will share with you an acrylic pour cells recipe. In reality, there are more recipes and methods!  These recipes or techniques allow you to create a cell in your acrylic pours for turning them into a stunning piece of art.

Don’t want to read the entire article and need a short answer on how to create cells in acrylic pours?

Here’s a quick answer:

You can create cells in acrylic pours by using paint colors with different densities, or by using a torch over the paint, or adding silicone oil to the pouring mix.

pastel cells Acrylic Pour Cells Recipe
Cells are tedious to paint by hand, but exciting to create using an acrylic pour cells recipe!

How Cells Are Created in Acrylic Pour Paints

It is important to understand how cells are created during the pouring activity. Acrylic pour cells are formed when there is a gravity gradient between the paint colors.

Different color pigments have different densities. Each color may have different specific gravities for various colors of the same type of paint. The size and number of cells are primarily determined by the level of difference between the color densities.

In short, you need to work with different acrylic paints with significant specific gravity differences to create acrylic pour cells.

Remember though, that most of the fun of acrylic pouring is the surprising way it will turn out.  Always experiment with one of these recipes or techniques on a sample surface.   Total predictability is an alien concept when creating art via acrylic pouring!

Now, let’s look at the different acrylic pour cell recipes in detail.

Acrylic Pour Cells Recipe 1: Vary the Consistency and Density of the Paints

Using paints with different consistency and density is the most popular way to create acrylic cell pours.

You can change the density of the paint by adding acrylic medium.  There are several price points and qualities available.  To read all the varieties and help pick the one for you, read the details in Choosing The Right Pouring Medium.

These are the steps you have to take for creating cells by this method.

  • Pour the least dense paint on the bottom
  • Pour the denser pain on the top

Wait for some time, and you will see cells will begin to appear in the pour.

So, what’s happening here? How do two paints overlap each other, resulting in the creation of cells?

When you pour the denser paint on the least dense paint, the denser pushes itself down. This raises the least dense paint to the top. Consequently, the downward movement of denser paint and upward movement of least dense paint result in the creation of acrylic pour cells. Sort of like an elevator transporting goods from floor to floor.

How to Find Out Which Paint Is Denser?

You can’t tell about the density and consistency of paint products by just looking at them. To find out which paint is more or less dense, you need to look at their labels for their respective values of specific gravity.

The paint with higher specific gravity boasts higher density. Most top-of-the-line acrylic paint manufacturing companies mention the specific gravity of their products on the label.

If the specific gravity of paint is not mentioned on its label, you need to measures its mass on a weighing scale. A kitchen scale is ideal for this.  The paint that weighs more will have a higher weight with a lesser gram/kg value for the same volume.

Acrylic Pour Cells Recipe 2: Use a Burner or Torch

This is the second acrylic pour cell recipe considered effective by acrylic pouring experts. In this cell creation method, you don’t play around with paint densities. Instead, you use a burner or torch to create a cell after the application of your total pouring mix.

The Type of Torch Needed to Create Acrylic Cells

Since you might have to buy a burner or torch particularly for creating acrylic pours, you must know the type you will need. Instead of sifting through the burner/torch marketplace and getting lost, you could use a chef’s torch for the job.

You will find it easily in a kitchen appliance store. You can also order it online.  A chef’s torch is a handheld beam burner that uses either butane or propane to create the flame. Chefs usually use these torches to sear steaks and make crème brûlée.

chef torch acrylic cells pour recipe
Not just for Creme Brulee!

Using Chef’s Torch to Create Acrylic Cells

Apply the acrylic pour mix onto the painting surface and start waving the beamed flame of the torch over the area where you want to create the cells. However, take these things into account when you want to use a chef’s torch to create acrylic pour cells.

  • Make sure the flame from the torch is 4-6 inches away from the surface.
  • Don’t keep the flame on one particular surface for too long. Continuously wave it in the patterns to avoid over-torching. If you end up torching the surface for too long, it can result in a slightly yellow tinge on the surface. In some cases, over-torching also creates dimples instead of cells. In a worst-case scenario, over-torching can completely destroy your acrylic pour artwork.
  • Make sure the torch is filled with gas before you start working on the acrylic pour. Running out of gas in the middle of the job won’t let you get finer results with acrylic pour cells.

Reasons for Using a Burner or Torch to Create Acrylic Pour Cells

There are three main reasons for using a chef’s torch to create acrylic cell pours.

  • A chef’s torch gives you better control of creating acrylic cell pours. You can choose the area of the artwork where you need to create the cells when you work with a torch.
  • Many times, a finished, dried acrylic pour artwork develops bubbles. These bubbles can spoil the look of the entire painting. By using a chef’s torch, you can rule out the creation of those bubbles.
  • A chef’s torch is the best tool to create acrylic pour cells when you need them in smaller sizes and a large number.

People who have shaky hands while handling heating equipment should avoid using a torch to create cells. Also, this acrylic pour cells recipe is not a suitable option when you want to create larger and fewer cells.

Acrylic Pour Cells Recipe 3: Use Silicone Oil

This is another popular method used to create cells in acrylic pours. In this recipe, you essentially use silicone oil as an additive with the paint to create cells.

This method is quite effective when you want to create cells in an acrylic pour using a single color. Silicone oil is a widely available product that you can easily find online or at roadside hardware stores at very reasonable prices.

How Silicone Oil Create Cells in Acrylic Pours?

We all know that acrylic paints are water-based. In other words, their medium is water.

We also know that water and oil don’t mix. So, when you add silicone oil to water-based acrylic paint, the two media start pushing each other away, resulting in the cell formation on the acrylic pour.

Preparing an Acrylic Pour Mix with Silicone Oil

Different acrylic paints and different silicone oils will react differently to create cells in different sizes. Therefore, there is no way to provide the single best recipe for an acrylic-silicone mix. Nonetheless, you should start with the following quantities. After that, continue experimenting to come up with the best composition for your cell requirements.

  • Mix one part of acrylic paint with 1.5 parts of the pouring medium and spread it on the canvas or any other painting surface.
  • Add 2-3 drops of silicone oil in the spreading paint where you want the cells.

Fiddle with the quantities of the ingredients to determine which composition works best for you.

Issues in Creating Acrylic Cells with Silicone Oil

Many acrylic pour experts don’t advocate the use of silicone oil for creating cells. Its use in acrylic pours eventually results in the yellowing of the artwork. In other words, an acrylic pour painting where cells are created by silicone oil can’t really be considered an archival piece of work.

If you don’t mind whether your artwork has archival quality or not, you can use silicone oil to crate acrylic cell pours.


We hope that this comprehensive guide on acrylic pour cells recipes helps you add more details to your artwork. While using paints with different consistencies is the optimal solution to create cells, use a chef’s torch if you need more precise results with small-size cells.

You can also opt for silicone oil for creating cells when you want to experiment or don’t want to have the expense of a chef’s torch.

Anita HC

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