Customize Your Garden with Painted Terracotta Pottery

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We have some really great pottery vendors at A Few Cool Hardware Stores, but a little DIY customization can make a big impact in your garden. It hadn’t occurred to us to use our most basic terracotta pots as a blank slate for endless opportunity, and when combined with the versatility and superb coverage of Rust-Oleum 2x coverage paint & printer spray paints we converted the most basic of pots into beautiful pieces of art for our garden.

What You’ll Need:

1x terracotta pot (pictured is a 10” pot)

1x painter’s tape

1x white primer spray paint (we use Rust-Oleum’s 2x Extracover in flat white)

1x clear gloss spray paint (Ace brand works great!)

Spray paint:  colors of your choosing, depending on the design (pictured is Rust-Oluem Satin Off-White)

Exterior paint or craft paint your choice of color (we used some leftover black exterior Benjamin Moore house & trim paint, but practically anything will do as long as it’s rated for outdoor use)

Basic art brushes

Step 1: Prep and prime your pot.

Using painters tape, preserve the raw rim of the pot (or skip this step if you plan to paint the rim). Prime the pot using a spray primer, making smooth continuous sweeps across the surface of the pot. You want to hold the can approximately 8” away to ensure clean coverage- holding the can too close will cause the paint to pool and drip. The primer creates an even surface for the paint to hold onto the pot; fairly even coverage is ideal and a second coat may be needed. Be sure to avoid getting any paint on the inside of the pot as it can leech into your soil.

Step 2: Paint your base coat.

Once the primer dries, it’s time to get painting! Again, smooth continuous sweeps held about 8” from the surface are ideal when it comes to achieving even coverage. If there are spotty areas, revisit them while the pot is still wet, making restrained sweeps over to ensure the paint is even across the entire surface of the pot.

Step 3: Trace & paint your design.

Next, it’s time for your unique design. For this pot, we chose a simple black and white design featuring a row of traced triangles. Using scrap paper, we cut our triangle to size and began tracing our design around the top section of our pot. Once you have the patterned traced, use an exterior paint and basic art brush to fill in your design. Don’t fret if it’s not perfect- imperfections add character!

Step 4:  Time for the finishing touches!

Remove the painter’s tape and apply a coat of clear gloss spray paint to achieve a nice shine and create a protective coating for your finished pot. Add plants and enjoy!

Some other design ideas:

other pot ideas

  • Paint your saucers to match the pots and add an extra pop of color!
  • Use stickers or prefabricated stencils to create a more elaborate design; simply add them between your first layer of paint and top coat and peel once dried to create a contrasting image!
  • Create several similarly themed designs for a show-stopping stoop.
  • Create a watermelon pot (second from top)!
    • Use a brush to apply a thin layer of exterior paint on the rim of the pot.
    • To create the seeds: an eraser tip makes perfect circles, while controlled brush strokes using a small art brush creates a random pattern (as pictured).
  • Go freehand- draw your own triangles of various sizes and orientation to create contrast (3rd from bottom).
  • Use shape tape between your first layer of paint and top coat for a funky pattern (pictured at bottom).
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