Drunken Acrylic Reveal

by Lydia Fiedler

Learn a beautiful reveal technique for backgrounds with simple supplies.


  • Acrylic paint (Lukas Cryl used here)
  • 91% Rubbing alcohol
  • Eyedropper or pipette
  • Heavy watercolor paper (140 lb. Fabriano Artistico cold press used here)


  1. Step 1

    Use watered down paint to cover a piece of watercolor paper with color. About 1 part water to 2 parts paint is ideal. You just want it thinner than you'd paint with, and you want it to stay fairly wet. Using an eyedropper, drop rubbing alcohol into the wet paint to form "cells". Allow this to dry completely and naturally - no heat gun - before the next step.

  2. Step 2

    Add a second color of diluted paint on top of your panel and repeat the alcohol drops. This reveals the first layer. If you are not getting the reveal you want, that means you haven't watered down your paint enough.

  3. Step 3

    Repeat the first three steps with your third color.

  4. Step 4

    Use white or black for the very top level for added drama.

  5. Step 5

    Finish your card.


Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Drunken Acrylic Reveal. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

Is it best to use a quality acrylic paint or will whatever I have on hand do for the technique? Similar question on the watercolor paper. Can I use hot press rather than cold if that's what I happen to have?

I'd really like to try this if I won't be creating a muddy mess with my supplies.
Linda Tarolli  |  Wed Nov 8, 2017 at 6:40 AM
I can't wait to try! Have an appt this morning so it will happen this afternoon sometime.
muscrat  |  Wed Nov 8, 2017 at 7:11 AM
Thank you so much for sharing. I can see how this would be fantastic for creating a number of backgrounds together. I will be trying this one out!
A Eckstein  |  Wed Nov 8, 2017 at 9:24 AM
Using salt on watercolor also makes a nice surprise!
Wendy Congdon  |  Wed Nov 8, 2017 at 10:29 AM
Linda, I used Colorique for my sample in the gallery, but for my other practice piece I used cheap craft acrylics, and they worked just fine. I think the hot press would give the same results as well. You shouldn't end up with mud unless you don't allow the layers to dry completely. Have fun experimenting!
dina  |  Wed Nov 8, 2017 at 10:47 AM
having a little bit of touble with this. I think it's paint consistency that is causing the issues (and probably not wet enough) I am getting VERY little "spread" on any layer and am using cold press paper. Will try again tomorrow. I don't have mud--I just have color over color doing nothing to reveal the under layer. VERY dry air here, too which is OFTEN a factor in "success"
Prissequito  |  Thu Nov 9, 2017 at 7:52 AM
I had the same issue. My paint was not wet enough. Once I figured it out the layers worked better. I just wish I had chosen better colors! Will upload after the final layer is dry. That took quite a bit of patience for me! LOL
muscrat  |  Thu Nov 9, 2017 at 1:34 PM

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