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How to Decorate Flower Pots

By Contributor

An easy and fun way to add some color to houseplants or an outdoor container garden is to paint or embellish terra cotta pots. Decorating pots is a relatively inexpensive hobby that appeals to adults and children. Follow these steps to decorate flower pots.


Visit your local craft store to purchase the materials necessary to decorate pots. Patio Paint is a popular brand and is ideal for use on terra cotta.

Lay down newspaper in your craft area and wear something to protect your clothing from the paint. Fill a couple of plastic cups or bowls with water for brush rinsing.

Sand a terra cotta pot until smooth all over. Many pots will have rough edges, particularly around the drainage hole. Remove debris and dirt from pots using a damp towel after sanding.

Seal the inside of the pot with two to three coats of oil or water-based polyurethane. Oil-based will most effectively seal pots' interior and protect the decorated side from water penetration damage. Allow sealant to dry fully.

Allow your pot to dry and fill with soil and your favorite plant or flower.

Decorating Flower Pots

Decide on a design. If you have a hard time coming up with ideas, look at a flower pot decorating book or purchase stencils.

Paint the outside of the pot with a base color. Apply two to three coats to achieve full coverage. Allow outside of pot to dry fully before proceeding with design.

Stencil your design onto the pot using a pencil. If you are an artist, disregard the templates and free-hand your design. You may want to put your design on paper first to establish your abstract ideas.

Paint your design using appropriate-sized brushes. For tiny details like dots, use squeezable paints that come in a tube with a small opening.

Allow the paint to dry for one to two hours, or according to the directions on your craft paint packaging. Drying time will vary based on number of paint coats and temperature and humidity of drying area.

Apply two coats of water-based polyurethane sealant to the outside of the pot to protect your design and add a clear shine. Oil-based polyurethane will seal your decorated pot, but may add a yellow tint to your color.


Things You Will Need

  • Terra cotta flower pots
  • Terra cotta flower pot trays
  • Sandpaper
  • Water or oil-based polyurethane
  • Craft paints suitable for decorating terra cotta
  • Paint brushes
  • Plastic cups
  • Small plastic paint tray
  • Stencils (optional)
  • Flower pot decorating idea books (optional)


  • Sponge brushes work best for decorating pots as they provide smooth, even coverage and do not shed.
  • Seal and paint pots in a well-ventilated area to avoid exposure to potentially harmful fumes.
  • Branch out beyond paint, decorating pots with mosaic tiles, shells and decoupage.

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