Personalize that bland old planter with depth and color using natural texture pastes and chalk paints! Our resident artist, Melody, shows you how to decorate terracotta pots.
Most terracotta pots are pretty plain. Don’t get me wrong—I love them, but I can only handle so much brownish-orange earthenware. With a little creativity, and some chalk-based mineral paints, you can unleash a new world of possibility (and personality) when you add color, texture, and a few simple designs.
In this tutorial, I’ll teach you an easy technique for decorating your planter pots with chalk paints and specialty pastes. As you can see in the photos, I’ve painted three different designs on three small, round terracotta pots, all using the same technique. Feel free to do the same, or use however many planter pots you have and choose the designs you like best!
- 3 small planter pots
- Masking tape
- A pencil
- A pair of scissors
- A bristle paintbrush (or palette knife)
- Tommy Chalk-Based Mineral Paints in: White, Mauve, Pistachio, and Light Blue-Grey
- Tommy Rock Paste Special Product
- Tommy Chalk-Based Mineral Paint: Mud (optional)
- A small paintbrush (optional)
The Painting Process
1. Place masking tape on the planter pots before you begin painting. Keep in mind that the pot is a circle so it will be difficult to place a long strip of tape evenly around the middle, so just make it as straight as possible.
2. On two of the pots, stick the tape halfway down from the top of the rim (you’ll paint the bottom half). These two planters will be for the triangle and half-circle patterns.
3. For the third pot, mask right along the bottom edge of the protruding lip. This pot will have the striped decorations.
4. Paint a layer of light blue-grey paint on the planter pot reserved for the stripes, and mauve and pistachio on the other two pots. Paint several coats on each pot.
5. Once the paint is completely dry, begin applying masking tape for the different designs (see section below for variations).
6. To add texture, use a bristle paintbrush to spread the rock paste over the stripes, half-circles and triangle shapes. Or use a palette knife for a smoother effect. You’ll only apply one coat so make sure to use a thick (but not too thick) layer of paste.
7. Now let the pots dry all the way through (if you can still make indentations in the paste, wait a little longer).
8. When you are confident that the planters are completely dry, paint over the rock paste with white paint.
9. Optional: Using the small paintbrush, paint a skinny line on each of the pots along the top edge of the painted areas using the mud paint.
10. After the paint has dried, peel off all of the masking tape, sit back, and admire the finished result. Optional: Using the small paintbrush, paint a skinny line on each of the pots along the top edge of the painted areas using the mud paint.
Making the stripes for the light blue-grey planter pot:
- To make three stripes, take four long strips of tape (longer than you think you’ll need, just in case) and cut them in half.
- Starting from just below the masked lip of the blue pot, place a cut strip of tape along its edge. Stick another piece of tape below this, leaving a thin strip of blue exposed. This will be the stripe.
- Repeat the last step until you have three stripes, or as many as you’d like to make.
Making the half-circle patterns for the mauve planter pot:
- Get a small strip of masking tape and draw three half-circles side-by-side along the edge of the tape. Cut out the shape with scissors, and then cut right up against the sides of the circles on either end.
- Stick this piece onto another strip of tape and trace the shapes or just cut along the lines of the half-circles. This ensures that each half-circle will be relatively even.
- Repeat this step until you feel there are enough half-circles to wrap around the entire middle of the pot.
- Place them side-by-side along the top edge of the area you’ve painted.
Making the triangle patterns for the pistachio planter pot:
- You can use the same technique as the half-circles but this time cut out triangles. Once you have enough strips, place them along the bottom rim of the planter pot with the tips of the triangles pointing up.
You’ve done it...plain planter pot no more! You’ve taken something ordinary and—with just enough inspiration—created something extraordinary!
At this point you might be thinking about other designs and decorations you can add to planter pots. Or maybe you’ve thought of other ways you might use specialty pastes. Either way, I hope you discovered something new and I’d love for you to share your results in the comments below. Thanks!
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