How to Repaint Glazed Ceramic Planters

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Glazed planters and pots have a glass-like finish to them, even when dulled with weather exposure and age. When you want to repaint the planter, this finish requires a special paint so that it adheres to the surface, because not all paints will. Choose from a variety of porcelain, oil-based paints, or glass or multisurface craft paints meant for adding detail or artwork to already glazed ceramics, depending on your desired results.

Some of these paints speed the drying process, because you bake the newly painted planter in a standard kitchen oven. You can also let some of these paints air-dry without having to bake them: It all depends on the paint you choose.

Planter Preparation

Regardless of your process -- freshening up old planters, painting designs on new planters or completely starting from scratch to give the planter a different color -- the planter still has to be cleaned and properly prepared before you can paint it.

Step 1: Empty and Clean the Planter

Remove any plants from the planter and set them in a plastic container or another glazed ceramic planter until you're finished repainting. Thoroughly **wash** the planter with warm soapy water inside and out to remove dirt and debris. Dry with a lint-free cloth

Step 2: Rough Up the Surface

Rough up the surface of the planter by lightly sanding it with 220-grit sandpaper. The idea is to create a tooth, or a grainy surface, so the paint adheres better. Be sure to remove all paint flakes from the planter by sanding them smooth. Wipe the paint dust off the planter with a soft cloth.

Step 3: Wipe With Mineral Spirits

Once you've wiped the excess dust away, blot a lint-free cloth with mineral spirits, nail polish remover or acetone for one final last cleaning. These chemicals remove any paint or grease left on the planter.

Warning

  • Work in a well-ventilated area and wear the appropriate safety gear, which may include a National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health-approved face mask, gloves and goggles. This applies to both planter preparation and planter painting.

Repaint the Planter

The methods to repaint the planter vary based on whether you plan to touch up the existing paint, add decorative artwork to a newly purchased planter you found on sale or change the planter's color altogether. Each method has slightly different requirements.

Touch Up Old Paint

You don’t need to prime the planter first if all you plan to do is touch it up or refreshen old paint. Simply color match new paints with those already on the planter. Fill in all the chipped areas first, and let dry as recommended on the product label.

Once the chipped areas are dry, fill in the colored areas with the paint. Complete details after letting the second painting thoroughly dry. You can speed the process up if you used bakeable porcelain and glass paints. Bake the piece in an oven for 30 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit -- or follow the manufacturer's temperature and baking time based on the brand of paint. You can also opt to let the paint reach its final cure per the brand's recommendations, which can take up to 21 days, based on the product. When you use this type of paint, you don't need to add a sealant -- once it hardens, it becomes glass-like.

Adding Painted Designs to New Planter

Create a design on paper first until you're happy with the results. Transfer the design to the planter by outlining with a light paint color, and then paint in the desired colors, working from light colors to darker ones for the best results. Getting the right color saturation may take more than one layer of paint in your designs. Air-dry or bake per the product instructions.

Complete Planter Redo

After preparing the planter, apply an oil-based primer or sealer to the surface. After allowing it to thoroughly dry as recommended -- up to two hours or more depending on the product -- cover the planter with an oil-based paint color and let dry up to four hours, or more, as needed. Add your designs or artwork as desired after the main coat has dried.

After the planter is thoroughly dry, cover it with a sealant to keep oil-based colors vibrant and bright.

Tip

    • When using a spray sealant, hold the can 8 to 10 inches from the planter,  moving it horizontally across the surface.
    • Apply multiple light coats of sealant to prevent drips that dry on the surface.

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