How to Make Skins From Acrylic Paint


Acrylic skins are layers of mixed acrylic paint and pouring medium. Skins can be made in thin or thick layers and can have a multitude of colors within their designs for endless creativity. You can use skins in a variety of multi-media craft projects, as they add colorful interest to collages or can substitute for a plain background for other painting projects. Because the skins are flexible, they can stretch a little bit and conform to multi-dimensional pieces, like sculptures. When attached to printer paper, a skin can even be fed into the printer to receive digital or edited images.

Things You'll Need

  • 4-millimeter plastic sheeting
  • Plastic mixing containers
  • Liquid pouring medium
  • Palette knife
  • Acrylic gloss varnish
  • Paintbrush (optional)
  • Toothpicks (optional)
  • Double-stick insulation tape (optional)
  • Lay out a sheet of 4-millimeter construction or plastic sheeting.

  • Drop a small dab or glob of acrylic paint into a plastic mixing container or bowl. Use a different bowl for each color. You do not need much.

  • Pour liquid pouring medium into each color's container. Add in small amounts, stirring the medium into the acrylic paint. The liquid will be thin, but the colors should still be vibrant. You can adjust the amount of color pouring medium for a specific color or texture.

  • Pour the acrylic paint and medium mixture out onto the plastic. Spread and thin the mixture out with a palette knife. Add swirls, designs and color mixtures by blending the paints together with tools like brushes, toothpicks or palette knives.

  • Let the acrylic skin dry overnight. As the acrylic paint and pouring medium do not stick to the plastic sheeting, you can peel the acrylic skin off the plastic and use it for your next paint or color craft project.

  • Stick the acrylic skin to your artistic surface with acrylic gloss varnish.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plastic sheeting is available at home improvement stores. Liquid pouring medium is available at craft and paint stores.
  • Make sure there are no wrinkles or creases in the plastic, because the acrylic paint will conform and dry to those shapes, instead of being smooth and flat.
  • To create thick layers, use thick double-stick insulation tape to create a frame for the paint. Then, cut the acrylic skin away from the tape with a utility knife. For printing, keep the skin 1/16 inch thick or thinner.
  • Use different mediums to create a variety of skins. Soft gels or glossy gels are clear and good for printing, while semi-gloss gels prevent the skin from sticking to the paper when printing. Use an acrylic ground for a warm skin and a liquid matte medium for a thin, clear skin.

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  • Photo Credit goache - peinture à l'huile image by iMAGINE from
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