How to Create the Viral Swirl Art You’re Seeing Everywhere

How to Create the Viral Swirl Art You’re Seeing Everywhere

Here we have it, folks – another how-to-trending art blog!

For this blog, I’m taking you step by step on how to create the viral swirl art you’re seeing all over social media. Down below, you’ll figure out how to make a swirl art painting yourself, and also be able to learn from my mistakes!

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

To make the viral swirl art paintings you’ve been seeing, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need before laying down your paint. You’ll need a surface to paint on (I used small wooden boards), a variety of acrylic paint colours, and a wide, flat brush. 

two small pink wooden canvases on a dark wooden surface

The brush will be important in making the swirls on this piece, as it helps with creating the whole “swirly” look. I used one of the brushes from this set from Amazon to get the desired effect. However, you can also find similar brushes at your local craft store as well (just maybe not for as affordable a price though!). 

Step 2: Pick Your Colours

tubes of acyrlic paint in yellow, gold, red, and purple on a wooden surface

For this piece, you’ll need to pick 3-4 contrasting colours to make sure your painting really pops. As well you might want to use a thinning medium or thinner acrylic paint so that you can spread them a bit easier. 

I’d recommend using white or a very light colour to add contrast. I didn’t use white in mine, and I also used similar colour combinations, like purple and red and yellow and gold, so I feel like some colours got muddled. Thus, I don’t think the swirls popped as much (as you'll see in my final result down below). 

I’ve also seen some artists use larger canvases and do one part with shades of blue and white and the other part with shades of yellow and white, etc. This creates a nice effect without the colours getting too muddled as well. 

Step 3: Make Some Swirls!

There are two ways that you can create this effect. 

The first way is to put globs of different coloured paint and then bring in your brush to start swirling. I started my canvas off with a base colour to ensure if I missed any parts, you wouldn’t be seeing a blank canvas. 

Then, I took my brush and kept it upright and started swirling on the page and making circles. I had to clean my brush up in between some swirls, but I like the overall effect it made.

For the second way, I again would recommend painting a base colour in the back. Then, I loaded up my flat paintbrush with three colours, dipping the first colour in the middle part of the brush, and then the other two on the opposing sides. This way, my brush had three colours on it.

After that, I swiped it a bit on my palette to blend them, and then proceeded to paint my canvas. I liked this option as well and felt like I had more control. But on the other hand, I also had to redo several parts as I just couldn’t get enough paint loaded up on the brush every time I started to paint a longer swirl. 

One image on the left of a canvas with globs of paint, and an image on the right of a blank paper with a paint brush having red, gold, and blue coming out of it

Step 4: Get Creative

While some people like how the art piece looks on its own, it’s fun to put your own spin on the art. Some artists have added flowers on top, texture, or created an overlay with shapes popping through, like I did below, and let the swirls show that way (I've seen @annuptonart do this on Instagram, which I think she did inspired from another artist but I can't recall their name). 

colourful painting with heart across it outlined in white

No matter what you do, your swirl art painting will create a lovely effect for either a background of a painting or as a stand-alone piece. It’ll be a fun exercise and a colourful piece to add to any space!

Two small canvases with swirl art in red, purple, gold, and yellow colours

And That’s It!

This really simple idea creates fun, abstract pieces for your home. The viral swirl art is quite simple to create once you start, and I also find it pretty relaxing as I love art that involves filling up the spaces on the canvas through repetitive motions. 

I hope you give it a try, and feel free to tag me on Instagram if you do – I’d love to see your creations! If you’d like to see some of my abstract pieces available, please click here and browse what pieces I have currently. 

What art trend do you think I should try next?

Back to blog