Paint (Pigment) Density and Why it's so Important for Cell Formation!

When it comes to acrylic pouring and creating cells you can achieve this in two ways.  One is with silicone which I will cover in a different post.     

The other is by varying the paint densities within your pour.  To do this you need to understanding the density of the pigment's that are used when creating the paint mixture. 

The only issue, not all companies share their pigment densities! However, I recently came across a great blog that not only shares the different pigment densities of their paints, it also explains how a higher density mixture and a lower density mixture affect your pours!

So instead of creating an ind epth blog post explaining this, instead I will include a link to their blog for you to read 😊 it's definitely worth a read!

The only much as I love Golden products.....they can be expensive especially when you are starting out!  So one way I have gotten around not knowing the different pigment densities with other paint brands is in two ways.

The first is that I use the pigment density chart that you can find in this blog as a rough (and I mean rough) guide to understand which paints are generally going to have higher density pigments and which are going to have lower density pigments.

Why I say I use this as a rough guide is that the paint's density can also be altered by the amount of binders paint companies put into the paints.  So what does this mean and why do they do this? 

The expensive part of the paint is the pigment so, in order for paint companies to produce cheaper paints, they reduce the quantity of pigment used and increase the quantity of binders used as the binder is cheaper than the pigment. 

This is why I say that I use this chart as an indicator but not an absolute way of being sure of my paint densities, unless the paint company I am using has made the pigment densities clear by producing a chart similar to what Golden has done in the link I provided above. 

The other way I alter my densities in my pour is by actually varying the consistency of each of the colours I use in my pours.  What does this mean? 

Well to ensure I create cells without using silicone instead of using a 1 : 3 ratio i.e. 1 part paint to 3 part pouring medium, across all the colours I select.  Instead I vary these ratios regardless of the colour/pigment I am using. 

For example if decide to do a flip cup pour and I want to use four colours, I will alter each colour ratio i.e.:

Colour 1 with have a 1 : 2 ratio,

Colour 2 will have a 1 : 3 ratio,

Colour 3 will have a 1 : 4 ratio and

Colour 4 will have a 1: 5 ratio.  

The reason why I do this is because the denser paint will drop through and lighter paint with rise to the top of my pour.

Then, when I layer my cup I ensure that colour 1 (my densest colour) goes into my cup first as it will be the heavier paint which means, when the cup is flipped, it will drop through to the bottom. 

I then ensure that my lighter paints i.e. colour 4 or 3 will be layered on top of colour 1 as these are lighter so they will rise to the top of my pour once my cup has been flipped over.

I have found that this a great 'hack' around create cells without my needing to use silicone, particularly if I am unsure of the paint density of the brand of paint I am using for my pour.

So I hope this information has helped clear up how you can create cells without needing to use silicone!

If you are new to pouring and would like to have a more in depth understanding of this art medium,  I have just recently launched my e-course titled Acrylic Pouring/Fluid Art for Beginners on Udemy which teaches you all I know about acrylic pouring/creating cells, using or not using silicone, pouring mediums etc - it's pretty comprehensive and definitely worth checking out!

Udemy link

In the meantime - happy pouring 😊