Apparently this method of painting is very popular for customizing guitars. After watching videos of guitars being swirl-painted in a water bath (like this one), we decided to try the same method on paper and canvas.
It was so much fun! Give it a try! Affiliate links are included in this post for your convenience. Read more about affiliate links here.
SUPPLIES FOR SWIRL PAINTING
Bucket (large enough to lay canvas or paper across or deep enough to submerge)
Heavy paper like card stock,
Canvas (we used 8×10 canvases which fit in our bucket well)
*IMPORTANT UPDATE: after some readers had failed attempts with various kinds of paints, I am linking directly to the kind of enamel paints we used – Testors Enamel Paint – commonly used on models and crafts. If you don’t buy this particular kind, make sure you do not get water-based paint – it doesn’t work for this application.
• Fill a bucket with water and drip enamel paint onto the surface of the water (1)
• Gently swirl the paint (2 & 3), and then dip a canvas or paper into the bucket.
• The swirled paint sticks to the canvas or paper, creating a unique piece of art (4).
We started swirling with a stick, but found that a piece of kitchen string pulled the paint without combining the colors too much. We held each canvas by a corner, dipping it slowly into the water and moving towards the paint on the surface of the water. Before pulling the canvas out of the water, we used a paint stick to “pull” the remaining paint in the water to the side so the canvas wouldn’t get double dipped when it was removed from the bucket.
In between batches of different paint colors, we used a paper towel, laid on top of the water, to absorb any leftover bits of paint and clean up the water surface.
Do you see the fishy about to gobble up a bubble?
This was my favorite one – too bad the design is on the back of the canvas!
We also used cardstock that we laid on top of the paint instead of submerging. Once the entire piece of paper is touching the water, slowly lift up a corner of the paper, pull up the piece and a beautiful design will emerge.
Swirl painting might be our favorite craft ever!