I'm doing an art project which involves a chemical reaction (ideally available easily like alcohol, bleach, acetone etc). I'm using acrylic paint/ ink on glass. I want my painting to have fractals, something like the image below to make it blister. Any suggestions on which chemical I can use?

enter image description here

Which chemical/ substance would eat up/ scatter the paint like the below image?

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure I completely understand what your result should look like, but the example image is most likely created using acryllic pouring technique.

It works by covering a canvas with a relatively thick layer of base paint (in this case it's black) and then pouring a relatively large volume of paint (in this case it's white) over the still wet base layer. Since both layers are wet, the paint can spread over the entire canvas and eventually level out. The blisters (more commonly called "cells") are created by a hydrophobic substance like silicone oil. The oil is lightly mixed into the wet paint before pouring. After being poured, the oil droplets spread out and displace any paint above the base layer.

Many crafters use a silicone-based hair product in a spritz bottle and they add 2 - 3 spritzes into the cup of paint before pouring it. It can take several minutes for the first cells to develop and they continue to grow and develop until the paint is dry.

If you wanted to create the same effect on glass, you could cover the glass with a base layer of clear acryllic gel before pouring paint over it. However, I strongly suggest watching several tutorials for acryllic pouring before attempting it. The consistency of the paint is crucial for the development of the cells. Too viscous paint won't spread or develop cells, but too liquid paint will spread too much and mix with the base layer. Many crafters use additional ingredients like dishwashing soap to thin their paints and give them the right properties for pouring.

Another idea is to spritz a few drops of the silicone oil directly onto the very clean and dry glass and then pouring a very liquid paint over that. But you'd have to test if this even works the way you intend to.

In any case, make sure to perfectly level your glass / canvas before pouring and to have a tray or other contraption underneath to catch any overflowing paint.

A completely different idea that came to my mind is used in miniature painting to create a rusted effect. You'd paint the miniature (like a tank or shipwreck) a rust color and let it dry. Then you spray ordinary hair spray directly into a plastic cup (to collect the liquid) and paint that liquid onto any areas you want to be rusted. After that dried completely, you quickly cover the whole thing in the "real" (not rusted) color the object is supposed to have. When everything is completely dried, you dip the miniature in water and gently rub the surface. The water dissolves the hair spray and the outer layer of paint that only adhere to the hair spray, revealing the rust color underneath.

This technique only works with acryllic paints because they become water resistant after drying. It doesn't create the same clear-cut edges between base paint and outer layer as in your example image, but a jagged, almost torn looking edge (at least at the scale of a miniature).

  • Thank you so much for your detailed response! I'm hearing the hairspray idea for the first time but it sounds very interesting!
    – Der8
    May 30 at 20:04

My wife enjoyed the effect of acrylic paint on glass. There may be a term for the process, although it escapes my alleged mind. The technical side of this purported grey matter suggested, with limited success, the use of a hydrophobic coating such as RainX.

When applied to glass in the proscribed manner, it caused bubbling within the areas to which it was applied. One can apply it to the entire glass or to selected areas as desired.

Another hydrophobic coating is known as NeverWet. It may not be perfectly transparent, but that might not be a factor if you're removing the acrylic from the glass after drying.

My search for other products using "hydrophobic coating for glass" provided many results if the above is not practical/useful for you.

I've been informed that acrylic removed from glass is called "strappo."

Adding a suggestion due to the "in home" comment...

Silicone based materials will mostly reject water. There are a number of lubricants that are silicone based, but they aren't necessarily in every home. Substances that are petroleum based, such as petroleum jelly and petroleum lubricants (WD-40) may also create a surface to reject water, when applied to glass.

Stay away from soap-like substances as they perform in the opposite manner and will attract water and cause the surface tension to be reduced, allowing a greater, smoother spread.

  • Thank you so much for all the suggestions! I'm trying to use chemicals easily available in homes to make this art project but if i cant find anything that works, i may change my topic and go use one of the products you mentioned above!
    – Der8
    May 28 at 23:48

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