Ideas for Painting Flower Pots

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These three pots have been refreshed thanks to paint.
Image Credit: Carrie Waller

Terra cotta pots have largely remained the same throughout the decades. There's nothing at all wrong with that telltale burnt-orange color and pretty tapered silhouette, but why stick with tradition when you can liven things up in honor of the brand new season? Give your flower pots a little extra personality this spring.

Prep the Pots

Spray paint the pots a uniform white color.
Image Credit: Carrie Waller

Begin by giving your plain terra cotta pot two coats of white spray paint. To do so, set the pot on a piece of scrap cardboard in a well-ventilated area. Shake the paint can well and, holding it 1 foot away from the pot, spray in an even, sweeping motion back and forth. Rotate the cardboard and spray again, repeating the steps until all sides, including the interior, of the pot are coated with paint.

You may need to flip the pot over and spray a second or third time to make sure that none of the original surface is showing through. Allow the paint to dry for three hours between coats, and give the final coat 24 hours to fully cure. The chemicals from the paint might affect the soil, so don't use you pot for planting edible herbs and the like. Note that the paint chemicals should not affect potted flowers or greenery.

Make the Dip-Dyed Look

Add neon paint to the base of the pot for a two-toned look.
Image Credit: Carrie Waller

Flip your white pot upside down on a piece of scrap cardboard in a well-ventilated area. Shake a can of neon paint in whichever color you choose, and aim it at the base of the pot—in this case, the part facing up. Spray in bursts with a sweeping side-to-side motion, focusing just on the base of the pot. Do not spray continuously, or else you risk over-spraying.

You want to coat just the lower half of the pot while leaving the upper half (the lipped part near the opening of the pot) white. Don't worry about the speckled flecks of paint that occur in the center—this is what gives the finished pot its pretty texture and pattern. After you have repeated the process on all sides of the pot and are happy with the saturation of color, allow it to dry for 24 hours.

Create a Geometric Pattern

Use tape to create a modern triangular patter on the side of the pot.
Image Credit: Carrie Waller

Flip a white pot over and set it on a flat work surface suitable for painting.

  1. Squeeze three colors of acrylic craft paint onto a plastic paint tray, and gather three foam paintbrushes to use—one for each color.

  2. Cut pieces of painter's tape and add them to the sides of the pot, creating peaked triangular shapes. These do not need to be perfect or measured out before taping unless you choose to do so. Random shapes give it character.

  3. Press the tape down firmly with your fingertips, and use the foam brushes to paint on one coat of each color in the taped-off areas.

  4. Repeat the steps for each triangular shape, using one color in each. _Depending on your paint, you may need to give the shapes a second or third coat to finish, and then immediately remove and discard the tape._

  5. Allow the paint to dry for one hour.

  6. Flip the pot and repeat the same steps, this time creating triangular shapes with their points facing the opposite direction of the first triangles. _Be careful not to put tape over the first set of painted triangles._

  7. Allow the paint to dry for another hour before handling.

Give Your Pot a Face

Use a marker to give your pot character.
Image Credit: Carrie Waller

Give your pot a whimsical face using an oil-based paint marker. These types of markers can be purchased at any craft store. Simply shake the pen to activate the paint, push the tip of the opened marker on a piece of scrap paper to disperse the pigment, and then draw an expression of your choice right on the side of the white pot. Allow it to dry for two hours before handling.

Seal the Pots

These painted pots will last from season to season.
Image Credit: Carrie Waller

After the painted designs on your pot has fully dried, add a topcoat of clear spray paint to make your pot waterproof. Allow the sealant to dry for 24 hours. Don't worry about the original clay finish needing breathability. The newly painted and sealed finish should actually give your clay pot a longer life.