It’s almost plant potting & repotting season! Did you know it’s best to re-pot in the spring? In the spirit of potting, and also our new Spring and Summer collection (which is undoubtedly botanically inspired), I wanted to do a post on some fun ways to fancy up some plain terra cotta pots. A painted pot with a plant inside makes a great gift with a personal handmade touch! I’m going to be repotting quite a few pots this spring as some of my plants have gotten much bigger, so these ideas are easy and perfect to add a little variation and pops of contrast. My small team and I had such a fun time doing this! I love doing DIY projects together, it felt so fun to just sit around and paint things.
The pots used here are simple and super cheap, and can be found here from IKEA – I love that they are flat and smooth – and all supplies are simple and were found at Michaels. Before we started going to town on all of these, I came up with some super quick concept sketches shown below. Aww.
All pots: Step 1 – Spray the outside AND inside with a clear acrylic matte spray (found mine at Michaels, any craft store is a good bet).
Pro Tip: You may want to do a few coats, as terra cotta is pretty porous. *Note, by sealing the clay you lose its porosity a bit, so water your plant as if it were in a plastic or glazed pot and don’t depend as much on terra cotta’s “breathability” if you are used to it!
Well let’s get started! Below are 5 fun and easy ways to decorate a terra cotta pot at home with simple materials.
1 /// Rubber Stamped Terra Cotta Pot
Materials: Decorative rubber stamps*, Black archival ink pad.
*The rubber stamps were used here are all from our shop! We have a lot of fun and decorative stamps. Leaves, moons, eyes, hearts, shapes. Check out this link to our our modern decorative rubber stamp collection.
Directions: Simply stamp the pot in a roll-on fashion. (Does this give you anxiety? Me too! But, no worries! Test it out by taping some paper around the pot to test and perfect your stamp-rolling skills. Note: My assistant declared that she had no formal stamping experience and she made the pot below beautifully!) Pro Tip: Dip your stamp in ink evenly and multiple times to make sure it’s fully coated. I think a repeating pattern makes for a nice look.
2 /// Chalkboard Painted Terra Cotta Pot
Materials: Painters tape & Black chalk paint (we used Martha Stewart chalk paint, found at our local craft store and online for 2.29 here).
Directions: Focus on only one edge of the tape, as shown below. Due to the tapering of the pot, the tape won’t go around all flat, so focus on the edge you want to make with one edge of the tape, and let the other edge get crinkly. We wanted ours to look like it was dipped in paint. One side is straight diagonal, and the other side is wavy. Paint two coats waiting in-between coats to dry for an hour, and remove the tape once it dries. Wait 48 hours before attempting to use chalk or chalk marker on it (or just leave it black!)
3 /// Geometric taped-off shapes
Materials: Masking tape, Acrylic paint (we used white).
Directions: Simply start putting tape on your pot in strips at different angles, creating shapes in the negative space. Remember, the negative space shapes is what is going to be painted. Get wacky and have fun with it! Paint two coats, waiting an hour between each, and remove the tape once it dries.
4 /// Hand painted easy strokes
Materials: Flat paint brush, Acrylic paint.
Directions: The simpler the better. Come up with a simple stroke/mark and create a pattern out of it. I did short thick lines but would also recommend dots, lines in different directions, wiggly lines, stripes, whatever you want! It doesn’t have to be perfect, but trying to be consistent in your mark making will make the decoration look cohesive. It helps to turn the pot upside down, as shown below. I didn’t add a second coat on this because I liked the way the brush strokes looked textured. This finished pot paired with a Pothos plant shown above was gifted at a Galentine’s Day gift swap! Eek!
5 /// Nail Polish Marbling
Materials: Tooth picks, a large bucket/pan, plastic storage bin or bowl that you don’t mind ruining, and ha, yep, you heard me correctly – nail polish. What the what? There are lots of videos online of nail polish marbling (watch this video to see it in action) and it seemed like the easiest way to marble on a pot, so we gave it a go (and by a go I mean like ten go’s) Tips and tricks below.
Directions: Prepare your bucket with cold water. Make sure your bucket is deep enough to both fit part of the pot in and also not spill over. Pour some nail polish in slowly, as to not make a whole clump come out and sink to the bottom. Warning! Nail polish will start to harden a bit quite quickly (I learned this the hard way) so once you pour the nail polish, IMMEDIATELY start swirling it with the tooth pick(s). More swirling will happen if you have multiple colors, we just used white because I like to keep things simple. Once it looks all wonderful and marbly, “roll” your pot along the surface of the water as if you were rolling it on hard surface. The nail polish will magically cling to the pot. It’s craaazy!
The pot above on the left was made by dipping it right-side-up into the water, giving it a streaky marble effect. The one on the right was made by rolling it. We weren’t 100% thrilled with the result, but I think it gets better with practice. This one honestly is mostly about having fun and not about achieving a perfectly dreamy pinterest-worthy marble. I am sure this is totally different each time!
I got a little water inside the pot, so I think next time I’ll try to roll it on the surface a little better and try to not let it dip in too much. I kind of can’t wait to try it again.
That’s all, folks!
These were all super fun and easy, and I hope you’re inspired to try one sometime! This activity makes for a perfect ladies night, or solo project for little plant gifts (um, can you say mini decorated terra cotta shower or wedding plant gifts?! I know I can!)
As if this post couldn’t get any longer, I can’t leave out the fact that this idea was brought to you by our ever-growing collection of potted-plant themed designs. I love drawing plants and drawing in general, so it’s no surprise that the two come together in my work. In the potted plant print & card designs below you can see how much fun I have thinking of patterns and designs for pots. Can somebody please make me a real life version of the eye one?! All of these items and more from our brand new spring and summer collection can be found on the Worthwhile Paper Shop.