All the research in the world couldn’t have prepared me for the trial run. Here’s what I learned on my first 10 pours:
#1  I bought a pack of 1/8” thick unfinished wood panels, thinking I was being smart because canvas would surely sag. I even sealed the wood, or thought I did. Nope- they definitely warped. All of them!   The paint being poured isn’t exactly cheap so it makes sense to invest a little more in the surface.  I saw the warping was going to happen on the first pour, but I decided to keep going….  I wondered what else I didn’t know I didn’t know.  …
#2  I refused to believe that all it takes is 1-3 drops of silicone in each color.  Quickly found out if you use more than that all the colors blend together into a nice greyish brown.
#3  Muddiness fail:  When I was dreaming up what colors I wanted to use, most of my palettes included a lighter shade of a color. But I highly recommend sticking with dark or bright colors, white, and metallics.  If you throw a lighter or medium shade of a color into the mix on a “dirty pour” your painting will come out with a lot less contrast. Using a bold version of the light color you want, along with white in the cup, added on top of it, will most often create the impression of the light color you want in some areas without overdoing the mid-range muddy colors.
#4 Lumps everywhere!  Check your cup for lumps- if you have lumps it’s worth the hassle of straining your paint. One lumpy cup will ruin a whole painting.   They like to hide at the bottom so this burned me on all 10 pours even though I mixed and mixed and mixed some more.
# 5  Viscosity matters!  There is a sweet spot and if you miss it you are screwed, and the only way to learn it is to try a few times.  Too thin equals bleeding and too thick equals ugly edges. I had much better success when my colors were all very close to the same viscosity. When I had some thick and some thinner colors on the same pour the crazing was out of control.
#6  Using plastic cups to raise your panel off the table is super sketchy. I used giant toddler lego’s to build a stable little base for each one and it worked great.
# 7 Another muddiness fail: When prepping a cup for a dirty pour, adding each color multiple times greatly decreased overall contrast. Adding each color once had a much better outcome.  Gently laying each color on top of the last worked better than pouring each color in from high up.
#8 I used knock off Floetrol and Elmer’s Glue on several pours- you’re not going to get a glossy finish this way and you’ll definitely be battling clumps. I would recommend using a gloss medium or resin, and buy in large quantities if cost is a concern. Gallon containers don’t cost all that much more than tiny containers.  I didn’t want to waste my resin since I had warpy panels, but next time I definitely won’t be using the supremo budget method. Side note: Polyester resin is so, SO smelly that it’s worth it to use costlier epoxy resin.  If you do this outside to escape fumes you will end up with bugs in your art.
#9   Verify your painting dried as glossy and smooth as you want it before adding any extras like metallic foil.  I have a couple of paintings that I won’t be able to varnish. Oops.
#10 I stuck my finger right in the middle of a painting. It looked totally dry and I needed to move it out of the way. Then I tried to smooth it out and made it worse, then I tried to repour some paint, and that was a disaster, and basically it snowballed horribly.  Had I properly planned out where I was going to store all these while they dry (or built a rack, which is what I am going to do!) I could have avoided this but I did I little juggling act for a couple days while this project was going on.  They take 3 days to dry which increases the chances of a finger or paw print, so it makes sense to plan this part ahead.
Bonus Tip:  Plan your color palette, but otherwise don’t waste too much time worrying about the outcome. It’s literally impossible to predict what will happen! Have fun!
Andrea
www.jetcityflowers.com
or www.jetcityartwork.com  (long story)
P.S.  I really don’t know what to do with these.