How to Paint Swirls

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Things You'll Need

  • 10.0 artist liner brush
  • Acrylic extender medium
  • Acrylic paint
  • Disposable paper palette
  • Water

Painting fine lines and swirls is a basic Tole or Decorative painting technique. When painting fine details and swirls, a quality artists brush is a must. While water can be used to thin the paint, an acrylic paint extender is prefered. The acrylic paint extender delays the drying time of the paint; if you make a mistake, you can simply wipe it off and start over again. Be sure to practice on a scrap piece of paper palette until you are comfortable with the technique.

Wet the 10.0 liner brush with water.

Mix the acrylic paint color of your choice with an acrylic paint extender until the paint becomes the consistency of ink.

Push the brush into the paint and then flatten to load the paint. Swirl the brush until you have a fine tip.

Place the brush straight up and down and use only the tip to paint the swirls in a random pattern. Use your pinky finger to anchor your hand while painting the swirls.


  • For wider swirls, apply more pressure to the tip of the brush. When practicing this technique, try to keep your wrist and hand still and make the movements from your shoulder. This technique also works well for painting letters.