Decorative Painting with Terracotta Pots

By: Jill Black

The word "terracotta" comes from Latin and means "baked earth". The natural texture of terracotta provides the perfect canvas for the budding artist to bring extra color and style into the garden or home.

Not an artist? Never mind terracotta pots can look just as stunning painted in a plain rich vibrant color with a strong contrasting flower color to offset them. For example - a bright blue pot planted with orange marigolds stands out in any setting.

For a mottled effect try painting your pot in a plain color then use a small sea sponge to dab on a contrasting color after the base color has dried. For example a maroon coloured pot with cream or pink effects.

For other interesting effects try using cheesecloth, rag, crumpled paper, or bunched up plastic wrap dipped in paint to provide interesting textures and designs.

Before painting your pots they must be properly prepared.

The first thing to do is to seal the inside of the pot with sealer. This will prevent the paint on your finished pot from lifting due to water seepage through the walls of the pot.

Next apply a coat of white acrylic sealer to the outside of the pot to act as a base. Paint the inside rim to where the soil level will come for a more finished appearance.

Now it is time to get creative.

Pencil on your design or alternatively use a stencil to trace the outline of your design. Paint on your colors using acrylic paints (test pots are ideal and come in a variety of colors).

Note: Stencils are available in a variety of motifs and designs from art and crafts supply stores. When painting with a stencil cut out use a short bristled brush and with a dabbing motion apply your paint. If using several colors have a separate brush for each color you use. Or alternatively if you are only using one color use a small foam roller to apply the color quickly and easily.

When dry, seal with one or two coats of matt finish polyurethane unless you want a highly glazed look in which case use a gloss polyurethane for the final coat.

To take your artwork to the next level I recommend reading Priscilla Hauser's book "Decorative Painting Projects" for some truly stunning projects. Follow her step-by-step instructions and you will be painting in no time at all like a true artist.

When it comes to painting pots your imagination is your only limitation. The possibilities are endless. Painted pots make great gifts and are a fun way, especially for children as they make inexpensive gifts that are useful for plants or as a container for something else.

© J Black 2004. For more articles and ideas for the home and garden visit Jill online today at -

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