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Can I Use Wall Paint in My Pours?

You may have some wall paint hanging around at home but it is worth thinking before you use it.

I have seen a few people using wall paint in their fluid acrylic pours so I just wanted to add my experience of using household emulsion in paintings so that people are aware of some pitfalls.

Of course art being art, you can use exactly what you want to in paintings, there really are no boundaries. Although you just need to be aware of the qualities of things that you are using and the repercussions of using low quality materials just to save some money.

When thinking about using things like wall paint you may think that there is no problem in using this kind of paint as it is widely reported that artists like Jackson Pollock used household paint. In fact in his case he used synthetic resin-based paints which are not the same as household emulsion.


Household paint tends to be much cheaper than quality acrylic paint and you may have some hanging around the house that is going to waste so it can be a very economical thing to be able to use. You can also get very similar effects when using wall paint in your acrylic pours so in that respect it doesn’t really make any difference.

However, house paint is only mean to last around 10 years or less so why would you want to create a painting that has a shelf life this short? 10 years is not very long in the life of a painting.

The things to think about mainly are if you are selling your work commercially and what kind of quality you want to your work. For example if you are selling your work through a gallery then you are probably going to want to show that you are using high quality materials rather than cheap house paint that does not have any guaranteed archival qualities to it. But even if you are selling your work through your website or at art fairs or exhibitions, you don’t want to be selling something that may not last as long as the buyer may expect.


As the quality of household paint is lower than acrylic artists paint, the painting may end up suffering from flaking or fading. However, it may be a while until this happens so if you only expect your paintings to be hung for less than 10 years then you may be OK.

One way of thinking about the quality is to take a picture off the wall that has been hanging in the same spot for a few years – you will probably see that the wall behind the painting is a different colour to the wall around it. Household paint will fade in time so your colours on your painting will also do this.

You may think about using the household paint as a base coat so that the actual color will not show. This is all very well but household paint is not made to have the right qualities to adhere properly (and for a long time) to the canvas (or whatever you are using to paint on). It will not withstand humidity or the flex of the canvas as it is not designed to do that.


The other problem with household paint is that it does not have the elasticity of acrylic artists paint. You can test this by painting on a piece of loose canvas with both paints. Leave the paint to dry and then try and roll up the canvas. In the case of the household paint it will quite possibly peel off the canvas as you roll it up. The acrylic artist’s paint should not. Obviously if your canvas remains tight and stretched then this should not be too much of an issue – but what if your client decides they want to restretch the canvas?

So, if you are going to use wall paint for your paint pouring then just have a think about what you want to achieve in terms of quality. If you do use household paint you should really advise your buyers of this fact so that they are aware that they are not getting a product that is designed to last.

Personally as an artist I want to provide quality work that uses the appropriate materials for the job. it is fine to use low-grade materials for testing and experimentation but if you want something to last then make sure that you use materials that do the job.

19 thoughts on “Can I Use Wall Paint in My Pours?

  1. Thanks for the information! I’ve seen a lot of videos that show the artist using house paint and was wondering about the durability.

    1. Hi Jane, yes I think it is a bit of a controversial subject! In fact I was pretty much bullied out of a Facebook group because someone insisted that house paint was fine to use and there were no downsides to it! If people are happy to use it when knowing all of the drawbacks then that is fine as ling as they don’t pretend that it is as good as artist quality paint 🙂

    1. Hi Denise, sorry I don’t know the difference in the chemical composition between house paint and acrylic paint but I think if you are in doubt and need the painting to be able to stand the test of time then it is probably best to use acrylic paint? Sorry I can’t be of more help. I know people do use house paint despite the drawbacks but it’s just not something I am willing to do.

  2. I am planning on doing fluid art on my concrete front porch (7 metres x 2 metres) so will be using exterior (uv stabilised) house paint but then covering with many coats of clear gloss. Exterior paints are designed to last 15-20 years so I should be happy with that.
    Like you say, you need to pick the right materials for the job and in this case, house paint is definitely going to be better than using artist quality paint.

      1. Would housepaint still last less than 10 years even if you seal it with some sort of sealant like resin or varnish

        1. That is a good question. I expect that it would last longer in terms of not flaking etc but I wonder if it would still fade a bit over time? I’m afraid I don’t have the answer and I guess it would take someone to test it and wait 10 years to see (or find someone who has done this ten years ago!). Also you need to remember that some resins will amber over time too so that would degrade the whole thing.

  3. I agree with the comments on exterior house Paint. We are a dealer for Dulux paints and the exterior paint has amazing elasticity and is super durable over time. Interior on the canvas I would worry about but now I’m going to try it and see what happens.

    1. Hi Carolyn, I don’t personally use house paint as I don’t believe for paintings that you sell that it is archival but obviously if you are just trying things out when using it then that doesn’t matter. So my advice would be to try out small paintings with and without a torch and see if it gives you better results – it may well be that using the torch on house paint will also have the same effect and let some of the colours that may be below the surface through – so it is worth giving it a try.

  4. I am also new to pouring. I am learning that 100% acrylic house paint tend to be exterior. House paints can be latex or 100% acrylic. I just bought some 100% white acrylic house paint and i will try it with ones I have. No primer was mixed with it.

  5. I have been painting for many years, both artistic painting on canvas and house painting, furniture painting etc. Also I work at a home improvement store in the paint department for a few years and understand the limitations and appropriate applications of the different paints for various different art projects as well. Or at least I have a better then average understanding. It is true that interior acrylic latex paints with primer (really it is not primer, it’s basically a substance that helps paint adhere to the wall surface and gives it a certain amount of thickness). Part of the equation to why acrylic art paints are better is the amount of pigment that is used in coloring it. Also the type of pigment used helps it keep it’s vibrant color longer then typical house paints. There are some tints used with house paints that do actually extend the fading process by a few years, like the Chroma water based tints vrs the basic universal tints. That is one aspect, also using the right paint for the right job and preparing the surface properly so the paint sticks well, which helps with flaking issues. Exterior paints are definitely going to be the better uv protection and the most elastic, but also realize they have more chemicals in them to withstand the weather, heat and cold etc, so the off gass’s may be an issue if you are doing art for indoors. If you do choose to use an interior paint, please be sure to get a good quality paint for better uv protection etc, and if available use the Chroma Water based tint (you can buy online if you mix your own). Prepare your surface by using a bonding primer, vrs a basic kilz primer, bonding primer stick to about anything and acts as a glue for the paint so that it is much less likely to flake or peel over time. For furniture, use a furniture paint, which is made to flow better, stick better and last longer in general, it is a special formula water based enamel paint that will last years. Again use a bonding primer for longevity and to inhibit flaking. Using a good quality clear coat will help also…I use polyacrylic by minwax with all of my projects. To be honest I like the way these paints pour and work for projects I am doing, but for fine art I prefer artist oil or acrylic paints. Happy painting!!

  6. In addition to ShanLeah’s info, I’ve seen fantastic results using house paint in between layers of artist acrylics to astonishing result. I’ve heard many comment on it’s ability to pillow, but you can also use it to stack textures in a similar fashion as using a metallic by using semi or glossy house paint in between layers of flat acrylic. And they retain that difference even after finishing.

    It’s also a little known fact that many hardware stores sell color returns at extremely reduced prices. Sherwin Williams also use to do it but I’m not sure if they still do. I once bought an entire 5 gallons of a nice cool white for $5, literally. In this way it’s fantastic for beginning pourers as well as to use to learn new types of pours before using more expensive paints.

    You can also get pigment free “paint” to use as a pouring medium which has all that color free goodness of conventional pouring mediums. Keep in mind one of the most used mediums (Floetrol) was invented for use on houses.

  7. Hmm house paint IS acrylic paint… And it does stand the test of time. Plus, there’s the fact that people that are buying art pours and the like are not connoisseurs of art. They aren’t investing in a hand made oil painting. smh art pouring has helped people release their creativity and paint when they’re not really artists & can’t draw stick figures.

    All of the magic happens because of the density of the paint, the different densities of the paint, some more thick, some thinner, some more viscou, it’s all an experiment. The best that you can do is bring art knowledge to the medium to create something that looks like you know what you’re doing and I think you should stop worrying about wheth that the paint was mixed from a tube, from a kraft bottle from Walmart, or from a can of house paint which by the way, a gallon of house paint can cost over $80. There’s nothing cheap about it.

    1. Yes house paint is acrylic paint but not in the same way that artist acrylic paint is created. But yes, it has it’s place if people want to use it, I totally agree. Just don’t expect the colours to last a long time or the paint not to potentially flake off. It’s great for experimentation and having fun for sure.

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