Creating Cells with Floetrol

When creating fluid acrylic paintings it is possible to get some nice cells using various additives to the paint. One of these additives that can give good cells (and this is the one that I use most often) is Floetrol which is a proprietary product that is designed to help with paint flow for water based paints. What the manufacturers probably didn’t realise when creating it was that it could become an excellent additive for paint pouring! So if you want to create cells with Floetrol then it’s probably one of the best things to use.

You can use Floetrol as a pouring medium together with your acrylic paints. I find that it does tend to thicken the paint a little bit so I also add water to the paint to get it to the right consistency.

How much Floetrol should I add?

A close up of cells in a painting using Floetrol

You can add as much or as little Floetrol as you like to your paint. I tend to add between 10 and 25% of the total volume of liquid paint but I know that other people add more than this so it is worth experimenting with different quantities to see what kind of results you get. Obviously don’t add way too much as this may make the paint more transparent as you would not have so much of the pigment present. You may also not get any better results by adding more Floetrol.

You can use Floetrol with silicone as well or just use it on its own. I find that I get really good results with Floetrol when I swipe a painting. This can produce some really nice cells even without the silicone. I tend to not always go for maximum cells but as an example this painting was produced with just one of the paint colours using Floetrol:

Wave painting using Floetrol
acrylic paint and floetrol
You can get nice cells with Floetrol

I find that I get good cells in particular when I use white paint (without Floetrol in it) together with coloured paints that do have Floetrol.

It is sometimes necessary to swipe the painting either in places or totally to get the cells to appear or you can tip the painting around. Some people use a heat gun to get the cells to appear but I don’t find this makes a lot of difference.


Where can I get Floetrol?

In the US and the UK Floetrol is available online and in various stores. You can buy Floetrol in the US on Amazon here and you can buy it on Amazon in the UK here. Interestingly Floetrol is made by 2 different companies in the US and the EU. In the US it is made by Flood and in the EU it is made by a company called Owatrol and manufactured in France.

Originally both companies were owned by Flood but now Owatrol is completely separate so there is no guarantee that the product is exactly the same on either side of the Atlantic. However, the product has been in production since the 50s and there don’t appear to have been any changes made to either product so possibly it still is the same or at least not greatly different.

Owatrol also sell their Floetrol product in the US under the name of Easy Flow which is the same recipe as the EU version of Floetrol so if you buy that in the US then you are pretty much getting the same thing.

Example Video

Here is a good example video of the kind of cells you can get using Floetrol. It’s worth watching and listening to this video and then you can figure out how to add your paint to the canvas to get the best effect of cells. Often it is worth checking out what other people do and then modifying that to suit your style, colours and canvas size. It is quite a long video but it really shows the process involved.