How To: Pour Painting on a Table - Negative Space Method

This blog will guide you through a negative space pour painting onto a table. Roll up your sleeves, let's get to the fun! If you read the previous blog and watched the video you will see I painted a small canvas as a test of the negative space technique. I am using Dixie Belle Paint for all three colors on the client's table. Because of the test, the painting and table should match together well, with the painting acting as a nice accent piece. Unlike a dirty pour or flip cup technique, the negative space pour painting is more predictable. This is especially true if you test your recipe and use the same technique. The recipe for doing negative space pouring is a 1:1 ratio of paint and floetrol on all three colors. These three colors mixed in the 1:1 ratio are the colors that are poured into the pvc pipe as shown in the video. Only the pouring mixture that goes into the pipe gets one drop per ounce of silicone. I stir in the silicone gently for 3-4 seconds. The mix for the base coat for this technique is 2 parts floetrol and 1 part metallic silver top coat, no silicone. You will need approx. 1 ounce of base coat for every 10 sq. inches of table.
The metallic silver top coat from Dixie Belle has a deep pearlescent luster. Beautiful. The whole table is covered by pouring and waterfalling the base coat over the edges. The result is a thick wet base for you to drop your pvc pipe onto and begin layering your colors. The reason I don't brush on the base coat is because brushing does not produce an even layer of paint like the pouring method shown.
Next you can start layering your 1:1 pouring mix into the pvc pipe. I use a lot of different sizes of pvc. As you will soon see, if you run out of paint, you can re-pour on the fly as often as you want or need. Also notice that I am using the metallic silver top coat as one of the three colors in the pvc pipe. The trick is to hover and glide the pipe while dispensing the paint. Hence the practice piece. You can glide the pipe over the whole piece or stop and start in different locations. The choice is yours, go for it! Once I lay down a band of color, I torch it to bring out the cells. Then I may pick up the piece and tilt to stretch or move the paint, but not always.
First run, before the torch.
After the torch, cells begin to form.
Now I am ready to do the second and third run using the same method. Slow and smooth. After you lay down all the paint you have a lot of options. You can blow the paint around gently with a straw. You can drag through the paint with a palette knife or toothpick and pull color out into the negative space. Or both. You can tilt the piece and shift all the paint around the table top. The piece is only finished when you are done. When that time comes, keep your piece level until it dries completely. This one sat for two days before I moved it off the table. After four days when it was completely dry, I brushed on three layers of Gator Hide from Dixie Belle, allowing it to dry between coats, . Gator Hide is a tough polyacrylic that repels water and works excellent. It is my go-to sealer after the paint is dry on any table or wood surface.
At the clients pleasure I painted the table legs Amethyst from Dixie Belle Paint. I have experimented with lots of acrylic and waterbased paints and it is superior when it comes to painting or pouring on wood furniture. The pigments are strong and do not mud up like cheap craft paint. And for me that is a plus and one less thing to worry about. Good luck and have fun.
Before and After Photos


  • Lovely job and good explanation of technique. Thank you
    I am surprised you were able to seal the paint after only 4 days of curing and drying. You don’t anticipate any problems with cracking or peeling?

    Ronne Cosel
  • Absolutely LOVE the way this turned out….great video and great before and after pix!!! Thank you so much for sharing.


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