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Maz Makes… Gets Stuck In The Mud!

Maz Makes… Gets Stuck In The Mud!

Ever find yourself stuck in a creative rut? After the greyest start to spring ever, the ever-lovely Maz found herself struggling to find the inspiration and motivation needed to get crafting. It should be the perfect time of year for us to start thinking about the garden – but the weather has certainly done its best to put a stop to any garden crafts so far! Well, fear not crafters – with the promise of more sunshine on the way, Maz has put together a fantastic garden crafting project. Ever wonder why some of your terracotta pots end up cracked and ruined, whilst others survive the winter? Maz knows why… and she knows what to do about it too! Check out her waterproofing tutorial below, and discover how you too can glam up your garden pots, whilst ensuring they cope with whatever the British weather throws at them!

After a very busy March, April seemed to pounce out of nowhere! And instead of bringing welcome warmer, drier days after all the snow, all we had were endless grey and wet days without a hint of spring until, suddenly… we were in a heatwave!

Somehow, as a result, my body clock got itself completely out of sync, and my crafting plans and timetable went out the window! After Easter I hit a real tough patch, where I struggled to find direction and motivation – I felt literally and figuratively, stuck in the mud!

Not even the garden could cheer me up, with little sign of spring plants, and cracked and broken planters everywhere.  I did a little reading up on why some terracotta pots crack and others don’t – and wondered what this ‘frost resistance’ I kept seeing on various labels and posters was! I learned that it is all down to the high level of water absorbency of terracotta.  In winter, the water absorbed into the terracotta freezes and expands when temperatures drop, causing pots to crack and break.  This can be heartbreaking, particularly when, like me, you have spent time and money decorating the  planters and nurturing the plants!

Some pots are sold pre-treated to resist water and are therefore not as susceptible to the effects of frost… but what to do about the ones that aren’t?

The internet offered various solutions for waterproofing terracotta pots before decorating or using them outdoors, and my favourite technique involved the use of every crafter’s trusty friend – PVA glue! Armed with this information, I found a couple of pots on special offer at our local hardware store, and got to work on this garden pot waterproofing project!

You Will Need:

Step 1:

Using two parts water to one part glue, I mixed up the sealer mixture.

Step 2:

I painted on three layers of the sealer, taking care to cover all the surfaces of the pots and saucers, inside and out, including the rims and inside edges of the drainage holes in the bottom.

Step 3:

I then painted the pots with exterior wood paint thinking the glue sealer would act as a suitable primer – BIG MISTAKE!! See what happened to my pots in the picture below! (Actually I think I have discovered that watered down PVA glue can be a great crackle effect agent under exterior wood paint…which could be great, under other circumstances!)

Step 4:

Nothing for it but to sand it down (sigh!) and start again.

Step 5:

Two days later, I was back with two sealed pots and saucers. This time, I tested some interior acrylic paint on the treated surface. This worked a treat, so I continued to paint all the outside and upper inside surfaces of the pots, and all of the saucers, giving the saucers and rims of the pots a contrasting colour.

Step 6:

Meanwhile I was dreaming of decoupaging photo images of fallow deer onto the pots. Again I was to be foiled! Once enlarged to the necessary size, my images were too blurry! How much more frustration was I going to have to bear on this project?

Step 7:

Looking around for alternatives, I came across a box that had contained some toy medieval figurines. I cut out some of the images, photocopied them and used them on the pots! Strictly speaking, I think I may have needed to get permission to do this for copyright reasons, but there were no details on the box and as I will be using the pots for my own personal use, I decided to go ahead. One of the advantages of using papers specially prepared for craft work is not having to worry about copyright issues!

Step 8:

I used Mod Podge Gloss to glue the images onto the pots and followed up with about 5 layers of Podge to embed the images, making sure each layer was fully dry before beginning the next.

Step 9:

To finish, I sprayed on an acrylic sealer.

I am quite pleased with the result and am looking forward to a trip to the plant centre to choose some plants for my frost resistant planters!  I must admit though, I am debating whether or not to add some Mackenzie-Childs-style Courtly Check embellishment to the rims and saucers.  I will keep you posted!

Until next time,


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