How to Paint Terracotta Pots: Choosing a Design
Painting terracotta pots isn’t anything new, but I put my own twist on my new garden pots by stenciling them and adding stripes. I took inspiration from some blue paper lanterns that I hung in our tree and some Blue Floral Lumbar Pillows I purchased to create an outdoor oasis party.
To create these unique terracotta pots, I used my favorite craft paint, Martha Stewart Acrylic Craft Paint (I prefer the satin finish paints), and some good brushes to paint 9 pots of varying shapes and sizes that I picked up at a craft store.
Strangely the clay pots were less expensive at the craft store than at my home improvement store and they had more medium and small size pots to choose from. Plus they had Terra Cotta Garden Bell Pots which I love for their unique shape.
How to Paint Terracotta Pots: Choosing Paint and Brushes
I did no prep to the terracotta pots other than to wipe them with a dry paper towel to be sure they were dust-free. Then I painted a base color on each one, alternating colors so that I had a random colors in each size pot. Next I painted stripes and stenciled in the coordinating colors to make each unique.
I used an Americana Kaleidoscope Border stencil which I cut apart and taped in place with painter’s tape. I wiped the excess paint off between uses with a damp paper towel and washed all of the stencils with hot water when I was done for the day.
I should have paid more attention to the size of the stencil in relationship to the size of the terracotta pots. I ended up only being able to use three of the stencil designs because of their size, so I changed them up by painting one color, allowing it to dry, and then positioning the same stencil in the same place and then rotating it to fill in a new color in among the first. This really helped make the pattern more intricate and interesting but still simple.
I also used the smallest stencil as a center for the larger by completing the largest design first, allowing it to dry completely, and then stenciling with the smaller stencil on top. I also repeated the same small stencil several times in different colors. I used Martha Stewart Foam Pouncers to do the actual stenciling because I like the coverage they provide and that they come in multiple sizes (they com in a set of 6) so there was one perfect for every stencil. The sponge daubers allowed me to apply just enough paint without bleeding under the edges of the stencil unless I pressed too hard. In that case, I wiped the smudged portion with a damp paper towel, let the area dry, and then stencil it again.
How to Paint Terracotta Pots: Completing the Project
I didn’t aim for perfection, I love a homemade item to look homemade, so you’ll see bits and pieces that aren’t perfect. I could have hidden them by doing a dry-brush over the entire pot with white or by antiquing them (dark paint mixed with water to thin is painted on and then wiped off to age the paint), but I opted for the just-painted look. I know after a summer in Seattle they’ll look aged enough and by next year, they’ll have moss and mildew on them so they’ll look shabby chic. I figured this summer we’d leave them as they are.
I finished the pots by lightly spraying them with Krylon Low-Odor Clear Finish – Matte and let them dry. Next I dry-fit the plants I purchased before planting them to make sure I had enough (of course I over bought) and to combine any where possible. Then I put a garden rock in the bottom to prevent the dirt from falling through (they had unusually large drain holes) and then filled them with potting soil and then flowers and herbs.
I think the pots add just the right amount of color to our seaside infused outdoor oasis and we’ll be harvesting basil, chocolate mint, and cilantro from them soon.
Have you tried painting terracotta pots? It’s an inexpensive way to add some color and fun to your outdoor space.