Acrylic paint pouring is a very arbitrary art form which iswhy it is considered abstract art. Pourartists rely on the different paints to act in a certain way as they are put onthe painting surface, so they get the results they are expecting. Unfortunately, poured acrylic paint rarelydoes exactly what you want it to. Pairthis variability with the expense of painting surfaces like wood or canvasesand fluid acrylic pouring can become quite a drain on the pocketbook. There is a way to recoup some of these costsby reusing old pours.
Can you pour over an acrylic pour? You can absolutely pour over an acrylicpour. This can be done while the pour isstill wet or after the pour has completely cured (usually 2 – 3 weeks). Some additional cleaning and preparation mayneed to be done before re-pouring a painting.
We will be deep-diving into all the different variables thatneed to be taken into consideration before redoing a failed pour painting.
Table of Contents
Why Reuse a Painting Surface?
We have found that one of the most expensive pieces of anacrylic paint pour is the painting surface.Canvas, wood panels, tiles, etc. can be a good portion of the costs of apour painting. Re-using these materialscan save quite a bit of time and money in the long run when done responsibly.
There are materials like paper (see our article on pouringon paper) that are not nearly as expensive and are probably not work theeffort of waiting till they are dry to repour.Re-pouring over a wet pour would still be a viable way to save a failedpour, even on paper.
Don’t feel bad about redoing your paintings. Keep in mind that even artists of old, likePablo Picasso, painted multiple different times on their paintingsurfaces.
Pouring Over a Wet Painting
The easiest way to save a failed pour is to do so before itdries. When the paint is still wet onthe painting surface there are a few options that you can take: scrape and repour, pour directly over the previouspour, or add paint to select sections.
Scrape and Repour
Scraping all the paint off the canvas or painting surface isan easy and effective way to salvage a failed pour. This method does waste the paint that wasused but allows you to re-use the canvas without needing to wait for the paintto dry.
When scraping, use a palette knife, a cake spatula (offseticing spatula), or a drywall putty knife to pull all the material off thepainting surface. Make sure to get allthe paint off the sides and the bottom also.
Our paintings are generally on thumbtacks, cups, or ceilinghooks so the paint puddling underneath after it is scraped isn’t aproblem. If there is going to be to much paint left underneaththe painting, consider moving it to the side or scraping up into a containingand disposing of it before re-pouring.
At this point, there is no need to let the canvas dry. Some people prefer to wait an hour or two sothe paint dries, but we don’t think it is necessary.
Pour on the newly “cleaned” painting surface whenever youare ready. You might need to take someextra care to paint make sure the old paint stains are completely covered withthe new paint if the color pallet is drastically different on the second pour.
NOTE: If you had oilor silicone in your pouring mixture, you may want to review the Cleaning Off Oiland Silicone section below.
Pour Directly Over the Previous Pour
If you’ve finished with your pour and you decide you don’tlike it, you can simply prepare more paint and pour over the top of yourwork. The previous pour will essentiallybecome your “base layer” and can be tilted completely off the canvas or selectparts can be kept as a background to the new pour.
When you pour over a wet pour, keep in mind that the newpaint will most likely react with the old paint on the edges. If the new colors you have selected are ofdifferent densities, you could end up seeing some of the old paintings bubblesup through the new paint.
You can Google “pearl cells” to see some paintings where theeffect was done intentionally with some beautiful results. These types of cells are less likely to beseen when using similar paints for both the first and second pours.
Don’t Wait too Long to Re-Pour
If you decide to pour over the top of a previous pour, makesure that you do it in a reasonable amount of time. The sides of a pour painting begin to dryalmost immediately. Waiting even an hourafter the first pour might result in a dried paint texture showing up on theedges and sides of your new painting.
Make Sure You Tilt Off Excess Paint
When you pour over an existing pour while it is wet, you aregoing to end up with double the amount of paint. Leaving too much paint on a canvas will mostlikely cause it to crack and craze. Additionalinformation about cracking and crazing can be found in our post Why is MyAcrylic Pour Cracking.
Add Paint to Select Sections
Another way to salvage a bad pour is to add small sectionsof additional paint rather than re-pouring the whole thing. Pour over the areas you dislike and eithertilt, blow, or scrape the new paint to create a new look.
Try using complementary colors in this mini re-pour sectionsto add contrast and interest to a failed painting.
Pouring Over a Dried and Cured Painting
Sometimes you like the look of your acrylic pour paintingright when it is finished but something happens during the drying process that ruinsthe painting. Or it might be acommission that the customer ended up not liking. Because acrylic paint is essentially plastic,once it is dried it becomes a great surface to paint on again.
When considering pouring over the top of a previously dried pour,the first thing you need to do is to make sure that that the paint has fullycured. Sometimes the top layer of paintmay be dried but the underlying painting may still be wet or still besemi-solid.
Pouring over a painting that hasn’t fully cured could causethe painting to peel or bubble as the underlying painting is still outgassing theliquids inside of it. You should wait atleast 2 weeks for smaller paintings and a few weeks longer for larger ones beforere-pouring.
Our article HowLong Do Acrylic Pours Take to Dry gives additional insight into this issue.
Cleaning Off Oils and Silicone
If any kind of oil or silicone is used in the painting, thismust first be completely cleaned from the painting surface. If these are not properly cleaned, the newpour will not adhere to the old pour and could cause peeling and flaking.
The steps you use to clean a painting would be the samesteps we recommend before finishing a painting.Read more about these steps in Waysto Finish an Acrylic Pour.
Filling in Cracks and Crazes
Any surface imperfection that shows on the original pourwill more likely show through on the new pour.This includes crack, crazes, slight bumps from a section where the paintwas thicker when drying, and any air holes that developed.
These surface abnormalities can be fixed in a few differentways.
- Add small amounts of paint into any crack, airholes or low areas. Use thicker paint for cracks with some depthand thinner paints for small cervices. Paintwith or without pouring medium can be used.
- Modeling paste or thicker painting mediums canalso be used. These may require some manipulationto flatten the top surface after they are inserted into the cracks.
If you don’t mind the look of these imperfections or therearen’t any that are substantial enough to require remediations then go aheadand get your pour on again. You will beable to see some of these imperfections through the new painting.
Do You Need to Gesso with a re-pour?
In most cases, gesso is not required for a re-pour. The only exception we would give is for veryglossy finishes. These finishes mayrequire a light sanding with very fine-grit sandpaper to give some texture tothe surface or you can paint on a coat of gesso. This will ensure that the new pour hassomething to adhere to.
That’s a Wrap
That last piece of advice we would like to give on pouringover an acrylic pour is to not do so more than once or twice. The more layers of paint that are added, themore likely there will be a problem with the finished result.
Painting over an acrylic pour is a great way to save sometime and money. We recommend that youpractice on some junk painting surfaces before doing any re-pours for piecesthat are meant to be kept for long periods of time.