How to create an abstract acrylic painting

Abstract acrylic painting is a great form of expression, but where do you start? Esther Curtis shares some abstract painting ideas for beginners

Abstract acrylic painting

It’s easy to see why abstract art as a form of creative expression can be intimidating – it often seems as if there are no rules to follow, making it difficult to know where to begin. And while your intuition can provide some ideas, it’s helpful to have some techniques to work with too.

Acrylic paint is a great medium to use for this – it dries quickly and can bring vibrant colours to your work. Before you start, take a look at our guide to acrylic painting or find the right paint for this project with our pick of the best acrylic paint sets.

Want to know how to do an abstract painting? While there are lots of possible options for you to explore, here are three creative methods that will help you to create your own beautiful abstract acrylic painting.

Looking for more painting ideas? Take a look at our watercolor painting ideas, art journal ideas and fall painting ideas for inspiration.


You Will Need

  • Acrylic paint
  • Brushes
  • Gold leaf
  • A canvas
  • PVA glue

Total time:

Step 1

Use masking tape to stick down and create whatever shape you want to mask off. For a crisp line, use an old credit card and smooth the tape firmly onto your canvas. Next, paint, roll or drag your next colour over the top, and when it’s completely dry, peel to reveal!

Abstract acrylic painting step one

Step 2

Metal foil is an effective (and decadent!) way to add interest to your work. To start, apply a thin layer of PVA glue onto your canvas where you’d like the foil to be. When it becomes tacky (but not dry), smooth the foil sheets over. When the glue is dry, use a large brush to remove the excess foil.

Abstract acrylic painting step two

Step 3

Colour can be applied in many ways, using different techniques and implements. Here, the paint is applied directly to the canvas, then dragged across using a piece of folded card. Try building different layers, in different colours and directions.

Abstract acrylic painting step three

Have fun experimenting with these techniques to make your own abstract acrylic painting!

Looking for more painting projects? Learn how to paint watercolour pebbles, how to paint a self-portrait, how to paint a watercolour cactus or brighten your home with DIY painted plant pots.