Terracotta Pot Painting: Your Step-by-Step Guide
It’s a known fact among the plant-loving community that finding gorgeous houseplant pots that coordinate perfectly with your home decor can be a challenge (not to mention expensive!) But there’s no need to pull your hair out looking for the ideal pot… when you can transform a cheap and cheerful terracotta pot into the perfect piece of decor in no time! This terracotta pot painting tutorial by the fabulous Teresa Girao is perfect for those who love getting creative, but don’t have the time to commit to long-term projects. Check out the instructions below, and create a stunning bespoke pot in no time.
Time to Make: 2h-3h (not including final drying time)
Skill Level: Beginner
You Will Need:
- Terracotta plant pot for painting (I used 132mm diameter x 117mm high; but the size is entirely up to you, depending on whether you’re looking to use it for a trendy succulent or a larger plant)
- Acrylic paints in colours of your choice
- Surface primer – white matte finish
- Acrylic/ Oil brush (I used size 16)
- Masking tape
- Acrylic medium matte varnish
Start by using a damp cloth or paper to clean the terracotta plant pot, as it usually comes with dust and smaller debris covering the surface, which will create lumps and bumps in your paint if left. These terracotta pots usually have a smooth surface and don’t require sanding, but if yours has some rough bits, use a fine sanding paper to smooth them away. Let the pot dry fully before moving onto the next step.
As terracotta pots are made from clay and therefore very porous, it’s essential to add a surface primer so that the paint doesn’t crack over time, as you’re constantly watering the plant (especially if this plant pot is for outdoors!) Using a surface primer on terracotta will also enable the acrylic paint to adhere a lot more easily, so you won’t need to apply so many coats. Use the surface primer on the interior and exterior of the pot. Follow the instructions on the label, and ensure that you do this outdoors, on top of a piece of old cardboard or other protective surface, as it will stain.
Paint your plant pot using white acrylic paint. Several layers will be required; try to apply thin coats each time so that it dries more easily. Ensure that the brush or foam brush you’re using creates a very smooth finish. Let it dry fully.
If your masking tape is quite wide, you’ll need to cut it into smaller strips. Layer a large strip of tape onto a non-sticky surface (ideally a cutting mat) and cut smaller strips of the tape to your desired width (the strip size I used was 1.3cm). Apply the tape to your pot, repositioning if required until you are happy with the composition.
If you’re using a similar pot with a rim, use a small rubber to ensure the tape is well stuck. Once you have finished applying all the tape, use your fingers or a soft sponge to ensure that you smooth the tape down so that there’s no raised edges (otherwise the paint will get underneath, and you will not achieve crisp edges).
Once your paint pot is ready to be painted, paint thin layers each time, to ensure a smooth finish. You’ll need roughly 4-6 thin layers in total. If you make a mistake, you can quickly clean it with a damp cloth. Make sure you let the previous layer dry so that it doesn’t remove the paint that was already underneath.
Once the paint dries, remove the tape very gently.
It’s very important that you apply varnish (I used matte, but as the colours are metallic they’ll still shine through) to ensure that the paint won’t get destroyed by water, and increase the longevity of the painted design. If you’re planning on using your plant pot indoors, 3 layers will be enough. If it’s for outdoor use, add at least another layer on top of those.
If you like the idea of terracotta pot painting and would like to give it a try, but using a different décor style that matches your own home decor, you can use stamping wooden letters or a Cricut machine to add a nice quote to your plant pot. Another fab idea would be to create a marbled effect for your plant pot… the options are endless!
Looking for more crafty ways to decorate your home? Check out the rest of our home decor projects and tutorials right here.