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How to Paint and Decorate a
Terra Cotta Flower Pot
by Patricia Petrat
1. Sand away any rough spots or loose clay particles on
the rim, bottom edge, and outside of the pot.
2. For standard flower pots, that will be used for planting,
seal the INSIDE with oil or water based polyurethane-2-3 coats-let
dry. Either of these will work but oil based polyurethane will
3. For decorative pots that will not be used for plants, seal
the INSIDE with a water-based polyurethane or craft acrylic
sealant. I suggest this because oil based products are flammable
and the clean-up is easier with water based products.
4. For candle pots you should glaze and fire the inside of your
pot. This is the only way to prevent the candle flame from burning
the terra cotta. If you really want to make a candle pot, try
locating a paint-it-yourself pottery studio and ask if they will
glaze and fire the inside of your pot(s).
5. Paint the OUTSIDE of the pot in the base color of your
choice with acrylic or latex paint -2-3 coats-let dry. Patio Paint
is a good brand for terra cotta. You can find Patio Paint at most
6. If you purchase
Decorator Blocks to decorate your pot, they come with a pattern
suggestion sheet and how-to instructions. You can also buy more
than one set of blocks and mix patterns and shapes. Plaid does
offer their products for sale at their web site. See below for
specific pattern suggestions.
7. To decoupage your flower pot, pick any wrapping paper, wall
paper, greeting card, or fabric, etc., that you like and make a
color copy of it. To decoupage your design onto the flower pot,
carefully cut-out the shapes you want to use and adhere them to
the pot with Mod Podge, (also by Plaid), available at craft
8. When you're finished decorating/painting your flower pot,
let it dry thoroughly, overnight is best. Then seal the outside
with a water based polyurethane 2-3 coats. There are several of
these on the market, available at craft, hardware and paint
stores. Check to see if the product you select is OK to use over a
painted surface. I stress water based polyurethane because oil
based products have a yellow tint and will likely discolor your
design. Mod Podge is a good sealant as well as an adhesive. (It
does leave a slightly tacky feeling to the touch).
Protect your flower pot from the elements
If it's cold where you live, store your flower
pot in a warm, dry place during the winter months.
If you use your pot for a living plant, after
watering your plant, DO NOT allow the pot to stand in water. If
you notice water sitting in the saucer after watering, pour it
out. Remember, painted surfaces do not stand-up to extensive
exposure to water.
Clean your pot, if necessary, with a soft damp
cloth. No scrubby pads or abrasive cleaners. They will scratch
|About the Author:
Petrat is the owner of
Patricia's Pots, a Michigan-based store specializing
in decorating and marketing flower pots, tin-ware, and
unique terra cotta pieces since 1997. Visit
Patricia's Pots for great flower pot gift ideas.