Decorating Clay Pots for Autumn Season


Decorative pots for spring abound in stores and garden supply shops, as people celebrate the end of winter and get ready to put much energy into their flower and vegetable gardens. But autumn is a phase of gardening that must not be ignored, and gardeners can celebrate the colors and feel of fall as they harvest pumpkins and rake up leaves. Decorate terra cotta pots for fall, to celebrate the season.

Liquid Seaweed Plant Food

Step 1

Apply painter's tape or masking tape to an unglazed terra cotta plant pot in vertical stripes. Leave equal spaces between the strips of painter's tape. The untaped portions will be decorated. For another variation, try taping horizontal stripes. As you gain practice with this technique, feel free to experiment. While the stripes can be as thick or as thin as you like, the results will look neater if you keep each set of stripes uniform. For example, 1-inch wide tape, 1 1/2-inch wide no tape, 1-inch wide tape, and so on.

Step 2

Dilute some liquid seaweed plant food. Liquid seaweed plant food is available online and in some garden supply shops. The amount to dilute is not scientific; just add a spoonful of plant food into a cup or bowl and add 1/2 cup water. (Adding more water will make for a lighter brown color; less water will mean a richer, darker brown.) While liquid seaweed plant food gives a unique and rich looking finish, acrylic paints in autumnal colors will also color the pot nicely. Use acrylic paint that comes in tubes and do not dilute. Reds, auburns, golds and browns will suggest the fall season.

Step 3

Apply diluted liquid seaweed plant food (or paint) to untaped portion of pot with a paintbrush. Use long, vertical brush strokes. When finished, set aside and allow to completely dry. When dry, carefully remove painter's tape.

Step 4

Apply matte varnish with a paintbrush to the entire pot, if desired. This is an optional step when using liquid seaweed plant food; matte varnish will seal the design. Matte varnish is not necessary when using acrylic paint. Without matte varnish, most of the liquid seaweed coating will run and wash away when the pot gets wet. The end result is a lovely, soft pattern that has been likened to faded frescoes.

Autumn Stencils

Step 1

Choose a stencil with autumnal patterns, such as maple leaves. Apply the stencil to the terra cotta pot with painter's tape.

Step 2

Squeeze small amounts of artist acrylics onto a palette; a piece of cardboard or washed styrofoam meat tray will do. Dip a stiff stencil brush into your paint color of choice. Dab the brush onto a clean section of palette or paper towel, then apply to the pot. To paint pot with stencil brush, do not use traditional brush strokes. Instead, dab spots on the pot as if trying to make dots.

Step 3

Mix the colors on the brush for artistic effect; for example, use golds in the middle of the leaf and start adding reds as you move toward the edges of the leaf.

Step 4

Remove the stencil very carefully when finished, and rinse with water and dry before taping to the next pot.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not dilute acrylic paint for stencilling. Doing so will result in the paint running and destroying the design.

Things You'll Need

  • Unglazed terra cotta plant pots
  • Paintbrush and jar
  • Painter's tape
  • Liquid seaweed plant food
  • Water
  • Matte varnish (optional)
  • Stencils
  • Acrylic paints
  • Stencil brush
  • Palette (piece of cardboard or styrofoam)


  • From the Potting Shed; Stephanie Donaldson; 1997
  • Liquid Seaweed Plant Food
  • Free Autumn Leaf Stencil Patterns
Keywords: Decorate Clay Pots, Autumn Decoration, Garden Decoration for Fall

About this Author

Samantha Hanly is an organic vegetable gardener, greenhouse gardener and home canner. She grows a substantial portion of her family's food every year. After receiving her bachelor's degree, Hanly embarked on a career teaching dramatic arts, arts and crafts, and languages. She became a professional writer in 2000, writing curricula for use in classrooms and libraries.