Color Pouring Mediums (Gloss & Matte)


Color Pouring Mediums are based on 100% acrylic polymers and are used to extend acrylic paints for various pouring techniques. They may be blended with most acrylic paints, although GOLDEN Fluid and High Flow Acrylic paints are most suitable for pouring applications. CPM (Gloss) and (Matte) can be combined to create a range of sheens.

Color Pouring Medium (Gloss) dries to a uniform smooth, glossy paint layer; Color Pouring Medium (Matte) dries to a very flat, thin, and smooth layer.


GOLDEN Color Pouring Medium (Gloss) Features:

  • Resists “Crazing” (formation of crevices or valleys on an acrylic pour surface from uneven drying) better than other acrylic mediums. ( ).
  • Dries to a glossy, flexible, and level finish with moderate clarity. Note: not intended to be used alone as a clear layer, topcoat or varnish.
  • Use as a paint extender for pours or puddles.
  • As little as 20:1 medium to paint can be used for color glazes, or increase the paint amount to 3:1 (medium to paint) for more opaque color layers.
  • May be applied in wet film thickness up to 1/8” (3 mm).
  • Mixtures should be premixed and allowed to sit overnight before use and may be stored for future use (in properly labeled, tightly sealed HDPE plastic containers).
  • Color Pouring Medium (Gloss) dries thicker than Color Pouring Medium (Matte).

GOLDEN Color Pouring Medium (Matte) Features:

  • Mixtures can be used immediately. Air bubbles should dissipate during drying.
  • Resists crazing.
  • Improves leveling of paint mixtures.
  • Dries to a thin, smooth, matte finish.
  • Uniquely suited for large color fields.
  • As little as 20:1 medium to paint can be used for color glazes, or increase the paint amount to 3:1 (medium to paint) for more opaque color layers.
  • Mixable with Iridescent and Interference Colors for satin metallic effects.
  • Mixtures may be stored for future use (in properly labeled, sealed HDPE plastic containers).
  • Color Pouring Medium (Matte) dries thinner than Color Pouring Medium (Gloss).


GOLDEN Color Pouring Mediums (CPMs) may be used on a variety of painting surfaces that accept acrylic products. Most substrates commonly used by artists are acceptable. Each substrate has unique properties that impact the pour.

NOTE: Smooth surfaces produce the most uniform poured paint layers, while textured surfaces will remain more uneven after the layers dry, especially when using CPM (Matte). Surface absorbency plays a role in how uniform the pour will become. Use either acrylic mediums or paints to smooth and seal absorbent surfaces, allowing them to dry sufficiently before applying the pouring mediumsRefer to Preparing a Painting Support for additional information.

  • Canvas – Can result in uneven pours unless sealed. Stretched canvas can sag towards the center due to the weight of a thick pour. Ideally, use a backing board under canvas and seal the surface with acrylic medium before pouring.
  • Wood Panels – have increased risk of Support Induced Discoloration (SID). Hardboard and other wood-based panels are prone to bowing, warping, and raised grain.
  • Synthetic/Composite Panels- test for application and adhesion- cure time is increased, thick pours may bubble primer layers. (read Painting on Dibond).
  • Papers – most papers react to the water in acrylic products, causing them to swell and buckle. Although quality papers are likely to flatten out as they dry; this movement greatly changes the look of the pour. Seal the paper with acrylics prior to pouring to help minimize this movement.


GOLDEN Color Pouring Mediums are compatible with most GOLDEN paints and mediums but thicker products will also thicken the mixture when used in high amounts.

An excellent starting point for blending CPMs with paint is 10 parts CPM to 1 part paint. This ratio helps reduce the overall differences between each paint mixture, which results on uniform pours with clean borders between each mixture.

The 10:1 ratio of CPM to paint can be adjusted depending upon the desired color intensity. Transparent glazes can be made with very small paint additions of 100:1 CPM to paint. A much higher 3:1 ratio of CPM to paint is still able to be poured, but depending on the paint line and color, the surface may not be as uniform as at the lower paint levels. For this reason, it is critical to test each mixture to decide if the dry pour properties are acceptable or not. For more information, please refer to this Just Paint Article.

Mixtures with other products and brands have not been fully investigated for use with CPMs; therefore testing will help minimize unsatisfactory results.

Color Pouring Medium (Gloss) mixtures should be carefully stirred until homogenous and then allowed to rest for 12-24 hours before use. This timeframe allows air bubbles (generated during mixing) sufficient time to rise and pop, resulting in smoother paint layers.

Color Pouring Medium (Matte) paint mixtures may be used immediately after mixing as most air bubbles readily pop during drying.

Mixtures should always be stored in clean, airtight containers to prevent contamination and drying out. Mixtures that sit for several days/weeks are likely to have some pigment settling and may need to be gently re-stirred before use.

Blending the gloss and matte CPMs is possible. The CPM (Gloss) dries to a thicker paint layer than the CPM (Matte). Therefore, mixtures will not only be different in their sheen, but also their physical thickness. Keep in mind that the type and amount of paint added to the CPMs will also affect the sheen.



Blends of Color Pouring Medium (Gloss : Matte) and their Average Glossometer Reading (at 850Reflectance)

Mix Ratio Gloss:Matte

Pure Gloss












Pure Matte
















Common Sheen name

High Gloss


Off Gloss

Semi Gloss

Semi Gloss

Low Luster







Dead Flat




Poured paint layers are fairly thick and therefore slow-drying by nature. They also tend to be greatly affected by movement, unevenness, temperature, humidity, floating dust, and air movement. Take the time to identify potential issues and reduce or eliminate them as much as possible.

  1. Seal the substrate surface if it is absorbent.  CPM Gloss absorbs in and can result in a blotchy, uneven layer.  CPM Matte can develop mud-cracking on unsealed, absorbent surfaces, especially when doing multiple coats.
  2. Temperature/Humidity – Ideal application and drying temperature is between 65-75° F (18-24°C) with Relative Humidity above 50%, or an otherwise comfortable room environment for your region.
  3. Contamination - Studio space, working table, and the substrate should be clean and free from dust and oily contaminants. Use very clean jars and cups for mixtures.
  4. Air Movement - Avoid areas with forced air (central air ducts, ceiling fans, fans blowing directly onto the painting). Likewise, do not use hair driers, heat guns, or fans to speed drying as this will very likely result in crazes and fissures in the pours.
  5. Level painting surfaces – The work table needs to be as level as possible. Even slightly off-level surfaces will mean the mixtures will move and result in crazing, changing patterns, and loss of product from the painting surface.
  6. Cover drying paint layers - Use a “tent” over a wet painting to help slow the drying process to help control crazing and dust from landing onto the paint layer.
  7. Prepare multiple tables or studio areas for the poured paintings – once the pour is complete, LEAVE THE PAINTING UNDISTURBED AS LONG AS POSSIBLE, ideally for several days.
  8. Allow paint layers several days drying between paint applications.


  1. Always test product mixtures and applications before working on the actual artwork.
  2. When doing multiple pours, be sure to have several clean and level tables ready to use to minimize moving pieces too early.
  3. Allow paint layers several days drying between paint applications.
  4. For best results seal your surface with a gloss medium before applying Color Pouring Medium (Gloss) mixtures (Preparing a Painting Support).
  5. Minimize foam in mixing by allowing mixtures to sit so foam can escape (Taming the Foam Monster). Gently stir products together. DO NOT shake mixtures vigorously.
  6. Color Pouring Medium (Matte) should be left undisturbed until the surface is uniformly matte. Glossy areas indicate water still needs to evaporate.
  7. Thinner films are less prone to crazing and dry faster. Tilting the artwork while working “stretches” the poured paint.
  8. Color Pouring Medium (Gloss) dramatically reduces crazing; however, there is still always a risk of crazing. Depending on studio temperature and humidity, allowing a pour to dry under a “tent” (see below) provides the smoothest surface with the least defects. 
  9. Temporarily tape the substrate edge to allow controlled tilting paint flow. This makes it easier to “stretch” the CPMs when creating larger color fields.
  10. Once the design is acceptable, place the painting onto inverted cups or other objects that allow it to be raised off of the table. Once the paint has leveled out, then remove the tape to allow excess paint to flow over the edges and create a more even layer.
  11. Do not create taped edges and leave them on during drying in order to create thicker pours (“damming”). This often results in defects and lipped edges.


Cell development and other patterns are also related influenced by the various pigment densities of the paints. Lower density pigments will rise or stay on the surface of a pour, while higher density pigments will sink downward.

By layering high-density pigments over low-density pigments, instability can develop in fluid paints in the right circumstances and create cellular patterns in the pour. GOLDEN Pigment Density listings


Pouring acrylics will always have a large degree of uncertainty; it is difficult to completely predict the way paint mixtures will respond to being in contact with other mixtures. Due to differences in viscosity, pigment density, and other factors, changes from wet to dry paintings are likely. Minimize the unknown by taking good notes (and photographs) of paintings before and after mixing paints and applying them. The more similar the mixtures are to one another, the more consistent a pour will behave.

While we do not wish to discourage artists from pushing the envelope of their creativity, we do not advise using additives that are not proven suitable for long-lasting artwork.

Current popular techniques presented on social media show recipes using a range of various commercial products in order to create special effect patterns in artwork, such as “cells”. Inadvertently, these additives may unknowingly cause paint issues such as poor film formation, inadequate adhesion, or a surface difficult to varnish or recoat. It is unknown if mixing these materials into acrylic paint films will cause short-term and long-term problems. If their use is desired, thoroughly test mixtures and try to minimize their use.

These non-artist material additives include:
  • Silicone oils
  • Housepaint conditioners/additives
  • Health care products
  • Lubricants and automotive cleaners

NOTE: If you do wish to try some of these techniques, use additives that will completely evaporate from the paint film, such as isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. Test this by applying some of the material onto a clean glass surface and see if it evaporates or a residue remains after a reasonable waiting period.


Each studio environment is different and can change throughout the year. Therefore, the amount of time necessary to allow for drying also changes and is unique for each studio situation.

Allow at least 3 days (72 hours) for proper curing before applying additional pours.  Avoid moving fresh pours during this time frame as well.  Insufficient curing time between pours and/or moving the work to an unlevel surface will often result in surface defects such as “crazes”, sags or bubbles.  In drier climates, this timeframe may not be necessary but it is always best to wait 72 hours, when possible, rather than risk ruining the artwork.  Force-drying pours is not recommended.

Tenting – airflow and drying cause stress to build upon the surface of the pour leading to possible crazing. Using a tent to create an elevated humidity environment allows for these stresses to dissipate as a material dries, creating a surface less prone to defects. A material such plastic sheet may be draped 3 to 12 inches above the paint surface without touching the pour. Pieces should cure under the tent overnight or longer.


Clean tools with soapy water immediately after use and avoid allowing paint to dry in brushes or other tools.  


Color Pouring Medium Product Properties

Binder Composition

Acrylic copolymer MMA/BA

MFFT (Minimum Film Formation Temp.)

49° F (9.5°C)

Tg (Film Hardness)

13°C / 55F

pH Range



The above information is based on research and testing done by Golden Artist Colors, Inc., and is provided as a basis for understanding the potential uses of the products mentioned. Due to the numerous variables in methods, materials and conditions of producing art, Golden Artist Colors, Inc. cannot be sure the product will be right for you. Therefore, we urge product users to test each application to ensure all individual project requirements are met. While we believe the above information is accurate, WE MAKE NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, and we shall in no event be liable for any damages (indirect, consequential, or otherwise) that may occur as a result of a product application