How to swirl paint with borax: Guide

photo 2023 04 10 20 33 07 Paint Advice

Are you tired of the same old hydro dipping techniques? While spray paint and hydrographic film can produce great results, it’s time to step up your game with a pro’s secret method. Introducing a lesser-known method that will take your hydro dipping to the next level. Don’t settle for ordinary – try something new and make your creations truly stand out. How to swirl paint with borax?

How to swirl paint with borax

Transform plain objects into works of art with a colorful technique called borax paint dipping! This exciting process is rooted in the principles of hydro dipping, but includes some special tweaks to enhance your results. With the right materials and techniques, your creations will be the envy of all.

Have you ever seen those mesmerizing, otherworldly swirls of paint on items like guitars, guns, and bike frames and wondered how they were created?

Well, prepare to have your mind blown because the secret to achieving those rich, flowy, and clean spirals is borax paint dipping! This method is favored by professionals for its ability to transform ordinary items into works of art. So, if you’re looking for a way to create something truly unique and awe-inspiring, give swirl painting with borax a try.

Discover the mystical world of swirl painting with the power of borax and enamel paints! Unleash your inner artist and transform any ordinary item into a mesmerizing masterpiece with this ultimate guide. Get ready to create something truly awe-inspiring!

photo 2023 04 10 20 33 01

How to swirl paint with borax?

What is Swirl Painting? 

Create stunning designs with nature-inspired swirls using the mesmerizing technique of swirl painting. Originating from Japanese paper marbling, this art form has evolved into a subset of hydro dipping, resulting in breathtaking organic patterns on any 3D surface such as metal, wood or plastic. Although favored in the customization of guitar body, the possibilities for unique creations are limitless. Experience the beauty and creativity of swirl painting and elevate the aesthetic of any object.

photo 2023 04 10 20 33 04

What is Borax Paint Dipping? 

Immerse yourself in the magical world of paint dipping, where colors dance on the surface of water and create one-of-a-kind designs. With a simple dip, any object can be adorned with an unpredictable and mesmerizing pattern, each one a work of art. Gone are the days of boring concentric circles – the beauty of paint dipping lies in its spontaneity and individuality. Let your creativity run wild and watch as the paint takes on a life of its own.

With the addition of a secret ingredient, borax paint dipping creates a magical swirl effect that allows you to control the paint’s pattern. Sodium borate (commonly known as borax) completely changes the water’s tension properties, allowing the paint to float and flow smoothly without breaking. It’s like watching paint dance effortlessly on the surface!

Get ready to be astounded by an incredible method that creates stunning results unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Instead of typical spray paint or hydrographic film, this unique approach uses enchanting enamel paints delicately “dropped” onto water. When paired with light and the power of borax, the final outcome is truly breathtaking.

photo 2023 04 10 20 33 10

How to Get Started with Borax Paint Dipping

Ready to dip into a world of creativity? First, select a small and simple item to start with. Don’t worry, anything made of metal, wood, or plastic will do! Think outside the box and choose an object with enough surface area to showcase those mesmerizing spirals you’re about to create. Need practice? Start with a block of wood or spare tool before diving into your prized possessions. Let the dipping begin!

Get ready to dive into a colorful world of DIY! Before starting, gather the essentials: a roomy tub or bucket, borax, enamel paints, pipettes for precision painting and a mixing tool. For an even more impressive finish, consider including a base coat, a top coat and a thermometer. With these items, you’re ready to make your artistic dreams a reality.

Discover the secret to creating amazing swirl paintings by choosing the perfect container. Don’t settle for a shallow or narrow container that leaves your object half-dipped. Dive fully into the creative process by selecting a deep and spacious container, like a large trash can. Don’t let messes ruin your masterpiece – protect your container by lining it with a trash bag. With the right container, your swirl painting project will be a smooth and stunning success.

photo 2023 04 10 20 33 12

Paint Thinning

Rev up your creativity with Humbrol enamel paints! Unlike other paints, you don’t need to worry about thinning them when combining with water mixed with borax for swirl painting. Get ready to bring your artistic visions to life without any extra hassle. However, if you do choose other paints, keep in mind that thinning may be necessary in different areas. Don’t let that stop you from exploring the endless possibilities of swirl painting!

Oil-based paints can be tricky to use for water immersion printing because of their high viscosity. When dropped into water, they may sink instead of spreading out like they should. But fear not! Borax can help lower the surface tension of the water and allow the paint to move more easily.

And if you need further help, a paint thinner can do wonders. Even if your enamel paints advise against thinning, don’t worry. Just find a thinner that works with enamels and you’ll be on your way to beautifully floating designs.

Get creative with the materials at your fingertips and try out your artistic skills! Start by preparing your water and test it out by gently dropping in different paints, thinned and unthinned. Watch in awe and see how the colors swirl together. Repeat the process until you find the same thickness and perfect thinner ratio for your masterpiece!


Revamp your DIY project with ease using Rust-Oleum Flat White Primer! This versatile and beginner-friendly primer works like magic on any surface, whether it’s wood, metal, or plastic. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can opt for the grey or black versions. Plus, for a wider range of color options, try out the Paint+Primer combo to score the perfect base coat for your project. Get ready to transform any surface into a work of art!


Transform your cleaning routine with the power of borax, an everyday household hero! Don’t worry about the brand, they all get the job done. But to really save some cash, pay attention to the price per ounce – the best value is just a bargain away!


Explore the wonderful world of borax paint dipping with the help of Humbrol Paints! These top-quality enamel paints are the perfect choice, as they require no thinning whatsoever. With both gloss and matte options available, you can easily find the perfect finish for your project.

And best of all, these paints come in a wide range of beautiful colors, so you can get as creative as you want. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete beginner, each 14ml bottle of Humbrol paint is an excellent place to start your borax enamel paint dipping journey.

Clear Coat

Make your car shine like new with Rust-Oleum automotive enamel spray! But don’t skimp on the finishing touch – only polyurethane automotive grade clear coat will do for a professional look. Beware of imitators and always check for the word “enamel” to ensure compatibility. Don’t let an incompatible acrylic clear coat ruin your hard work!

Step-by-Step Process

1) Prepare your item

Transform any surface into a work of art! Start by ensuring your canvas is pristine; make sure to scrub, sand, and degrease it. Then apply the primer layer as a base – once dry you’re ready for the colorful and fun part. Protect areas not meant to be painted with tape while adding an extra grip through wire or wood if needed so handling won’t be cumbersome. Get creative and put all those artistic ideas in motion!

Rev up your DIY game with a clever hack – adding a base coat to ensure no chinks in your armor! This awesome move will step up your game when it comes to any dip-based technique and ensure a flawless finish.

2) Prepare your water

Transforming your boring water into a cozy and inviting oasis is a simple task with a few helpful tips. Start by filling up your trusty water container with water that’s at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit—bonus points if you have a fancy-pants heater with a handy-dandy digital reader.

If you’re dealing with tap water, just give it a quick test of warmth by dipping your hand in for a couple of seconds. Once you’re confident in the temperature, it’s time to add up how many gallons of water you’ve poured in. And voila! You’re now the first time proud owner of a warm, comforting hydration station.

3) Add borax

Transforming ordinary water into magical slime is no small feat, but with just a few tablespoons of borax, you can create a slippery, squishy concoction that will have everyone mesmerized. To get started, slowly mix in the borax to your water, making sure to use the right proportions (1.5 to 2 tablespoons per gallon). Take your time and allow the borax to dissolve in warm water completely before sitting back and waiting patiently for about half an hour.

If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can even dissolve the borax in a separate pot of hot water before adding it to the container for an extra smooth texture that’s sure to impress. Get ready to dive into the gooey goodness of homemade slime!

Try this fun experiment to make sure your borax water and paint mixture sit is just right! Once your water is heated up, pull out a bit and add some paint. Watch in amazement as the paint spirals and twirls throughout the water, indicating the perfect ratio of borax to water. It’s like your own personal lava lamp!

4) Add paint

Are you ready to unleash your inner artist? Adding a vibrant touch to your canvas is easier than you think! Let’s create a stunning gradient effect by blending two or more hues together. We’ll start with the darkest tone and magically transition to the lightest. To achieve this, we’ll use a pipette or spoon to delicately introduce the paint to the water surface. Remember to move slowly and gracefully – the key to a stunning masterpiece!

Screen Shot 2020 07 15 at 6.14.35 PM

5) Add more paint

Let your creativity flow as you cover the entire surface with swirling paint. Experiment with different drop placements to create a one-of-a-kind pattern that will leave everyone mesmerized. Keep adding paint until every inch of flat surface is filled with your colorful masterpiece.

Screen Shot 2020 07 15 at 6.04.24 PM

6) “Swirl” the paint

Elevate your glass game by adding a swirl to your drink! Simply grab the stirrer and dip it into the water, then glide it around the cup with a gentle touch to create a mesmerizing design. Although it’s not a necessary step, it’s an artistic touch that’s sure to impress.

Screen Shot 2020 07 15 at 6.04.53 PM

7) Dip!

Delve your beloved object into a world of color with a gentle, calculated dip. As you lower slowly dip it into the paint, you can gracefully guide it through the swirling hues to capture the perfect pattern. Careful observation beforehand will help you plunge with precision, but remember to be gentle—once it’s submerged, there’s only so much you can do to adjust. This artistic adventure is not for the faint of heart!

8) Remove

Transform your ordinary object into a masterpiece with ease. Immerse it fully, clear the watery surroundings with a hypnotic stir or even the touch of your hand, and unveil your creation to the world. Marvel at the stunning results of your artistic endeavor.

9) Let dry and finish

Get ready to show off your masterpiece by letting it dry completely for a day or two. Once it’s ready, make sure to protect it from the elements with a clear coat for long-lasting results. Automotive clear coat is your best bet for ultimate protection, but don’t forget to wear a mask and work in a ventilated completely dry area while applying it. Your hard work and creativity deserve to be showcased in the best way possible!

10) Enjoy and repeat!

Take a moment to savor your newly transformed creation! Take a mental note of the hypnotic swirls and consider how you can elevate your next dip. The possibilities are endless when it comes to playing with the magic of borax paint dipping. Let your imagination run wild and explore new techniques and designs!


  • When dipping wood or any other object that floats, you’re bound to encounter some resistance from the water. It’s like trying to teach a stubborn donkey to swim. You have to find that sweet spot of force: not too strong so as to ruffle the water’s feathers, but not too weak to give the object a sudden jolt. It’s a delicate dance that requires finesse and patience. So be careful and take your time, or else you might end up with a waterlogged mess on your hands.
  • Dipping at a slight angle of 30 degrees can be the key to effortlessly breaking through the surface tension of water.
  • Have you tried hydro dipping with acrylic paints before? It only takes a few measly hours for it to dry. But wait, there’s a catch. If you choose to use enamels instead, be prepared to wait up to 2 whole days for it to dry. That’s twice as long as watching an entire Lord of the Rings movie marathon!


Discover the magic of borax paint dipping with this comprehensive guide and tutorial that will transform you from a beginner to a happy hobbyist, and even a pro. Dive in and explore the stunning art of swirl painting as you stay safe and have a blast with this addictive craft.

Read more: 18 best paint for hydro dipping

Avatar photo

My blog was created specifically to bring you the latest design trends. I graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York 10 years ago. I started drawing as a child. I was very fond of design and could even choose a style for my friends and relatives during the renovation.

Rate author
Best glitter paint for walls
Add a comment