How to Paint Garden Pots


Spruce up an indoor or outdoor space with painted garden pots. Commonly made from terracotta, pots widen the scope of gardening and allow you to grow plants and flowers in areas around the house other than the garden soil. Be creative and use single bold colors to paint over earthen brown or pale green pots so they are aesthetically pleasing and stand out. Stencil or sketch different patterns over the dried paint for added appeal. Paint also prevents mold or grime from settling over pot surfaces, so it lasts longer.

Step 1

Rinse the surface of the terracotta garden pot with warm water. Squirt two to four drops of dish washing detergent on a sponge and scrub over the surface, including the base, to remove accumulated dirt and grime along with any glued price tags. Rinse off with warm water and allow to air dry completely.

Step 2

Spread newspapers over and under an even worktable to prevent drips. Place the dry pot over the table, along with the supplies. Work in a well-lit area.

Step 3

Put some acrylic craft paint in your desired color to a plastic plate for the base coat. Add drops of water to the plate to thin the paint out so it spreads easily across the pot's surface to cover it. Add if more paint if the paint is too runny.

Step 4

Dip a foam brush into the paint and apply it over the surface of the garden pot. Begin from on the side and work your way around the pot, painting in large, even strokes. Complete the outer surface first and then 2 inches inside of the rim. Do not paint the base as you may seal the drainage holes. Allow it to dry before adding another coat or two until you get the desired hue.

Step 5

Touch the base coat lightly to ensure it is dry before adding designs to the garden pot. Squirt different colored paint on the plate and dilute with water. Depending on personal taste, stencil different designs on the surface with a pencil to form an outline or use an artist's paintbrush to paint directly over the surface. Paint stars, polka dots, stripes, flowers or words. Paint one large design or several smaller ones spread throughout the surface. Allow the paint to dry before applying a second coat for richer color. Let the pot dry.

Step 6

Spray two to three coats of clear acrylic sealant over the surface of the dried pot to protect the paint, especially if you're using it outside. Allow one coat to dry before applying the second coat. Use either a glossy or matte finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Sponge Dish washing detergent Newspapers Acrylic craft paint Paint plate Foam brush Artist's brush Patio paint Clear sealant


  • "Fine Gardening": Painting Clay Pots
  • "Terra Cotta's Garden"; Reba Campbell, 2001
Keywords: decorating garden pots, painting garden pots, paint terracotta pots

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Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written hundreds of thousands of words for various online and print sources. She has an MBA in Marketing but her passion lies in giving her words wings.