Creating Cells with Silicone

I came across this method of getting cells with silicone a couple of year ago and although I have used it in the past I don’t in any way profess to be an expert at it! Having used paint and water for nearly 15 years I have been experimenting with using silicone as an additive to the paint to create ‘cells’ within the painting. I now mostly just use paint, water and Floetrol as I find silicone hinders the resin going on top of the painting smoothly.

I will share with you here some videos of the experts doing this so that you can see how it is done.

There are a few options it seems as to what you can also add to the paint and the type of silicone you can use. The cells also depends on the consistency of the paint so you might want to experiment with different consistencies if you are not getting the results you are looking for.

I started off using the silicone spray as I saw someone using that and it was easy to get hold of at my local DIY store. However, I subsequently bought the treadmill silicone oil and that also gives some good results – in fact you can really use either of them and it is really just personal preference as to what works best for you.

In addition to the silicone you can add water to the paint as well as PVA or a pouring medium of your choice like Floetrol or Liquitex pouring medium.

I have been using Liquitex pouring medium and also Floetrol in some of my paintings but they are expensive in the UK (although Floetrol seems much cheaper in the US) so it may be worth trying out various other options to see what works best for you in terms of both cost and results. Floetrol can be good to produce cells even without silicone. Check out the products page to see all of these options.

Some people swear by ‘torching’ the painting after you have poured it in order to get the cells. You can use a kitchen chef’s torch or a burner (or I use a hairdryer too). The theory is that the heat brings the silicone bubbles up to the surface. Others say that they can get the cells without heat of any kind!

Annemarie Ridderhof is probably the top person on YouTube creating videos of paint pouring with cells and this is one of the videos that I think gives really amazing effects using the silicone by pouring it out of a cup:

You could also try the ‘swipe’ technique. Both of these techniques give slightly different results and I am also trying to get the cells by using a slightly different method, by using the method I have always used but by adding silicone to the paint as well.

This is a video from Bakerboo paints that creates some really nice cells on three different surfaces using some sandy colours. It’s interesting how they move the cup around the canvas before removing it to let the paint free!

Here is a video I did that used a hairdryer to create some nice cells. The painting is now sold.

You can get some really beautiful effects with the silicone added to the paint so give this method a try if you haven’t already – you may need to do some experimenting on cheap canvases to get the paint to the right consistency and the right amount of silicone to produce cells.

If you want to try this then check out the products section which will give you an idea of what to buy to try out this method.