How to paint terracotta pots

Looking for a custom design or colour for your home? Want a personalised pot and plant gift for someone? Or maybe want a craft activity to get the kids involved in the garden? Whatever the reason, painting terracotta pots is easy and fun for all ages. Below is an easy step by step guide on painting terracotta pots. Enjoy!

Do you need to seal terracotta pots before painting?

Sealing terracotta pots for painting is an optional step, and it’s totally up to you if you want to do it. If you’re painting terracotta pots for outdoor use, then using a clay pot sealer before painting them will help the paint last longer. On the flip side, if you want your pots to get a nice aged look over time, then don’t seal them first. All Pots WA terracotta pots are unsealed, but we have a sealing service if required.

What paint do I use?

All paints work for the job, but we prefer to use acrylic craft paint or spray paint, both work well on terracotta pots. Thinning the paint out with a little water helps spread it quickly and easily. This is an optional step, but it really helps spread the paint over the pot when applying the base coat. Terracotta clay plant pots can really soak up the paint. Squirt a decent amount of paint on a paper plate. Add a very small amount of water to the paint and carefully mix it together. Keep in mind that the water will change the colour of the paint slightly.

Step 1: Prepare pots for painting – You’ll want to clean them before painting them. Use your scrub brush or pot brush to get all the dust and dirt off, then allow them to dry completely before moving on to the next step. Depending on the size of the pot, it can take anywhere from overnight to a few days for the pots to dry completely.

Step 2: Set up your workspace – Lay down newspaper or rags where you will be painting terracotta pots. Even with a careful hand, it’s hard to paint a pot without getting a little paint on the surface you are working on, especially with the little ones.

Step 3: Paint your pots – Use your foam sponge brush to paint the base coat. After you have your base coat on the terracotta pot, use non-thinned paint to add 2-3 additional coats. How many coats you use depends on the quality of your paint, if you want any of the pot showing through, and what colour paint you are using.

You don’t have to wait for the paint to dry completely in between coats, but 75% dry, or sticky to touch but not wet.

You don’t need to paint the base of the pot or the inside, but we like to paint the top 5cm or so inside the top rim to cover the part the soil and plant won’t

Step 4: Let them dry – It’s very important that your painted pots are completely dry before moving on to the next step. This might take longer than you think. Terracotta pots absorb water and paint, so give them at least 24 hours before you decide they are dry. The thicker the paint, the longer you should allow them to dry.

An optional step is decorating the pots. Decorating terracotta pots is fun, and there are tons of things you could do to give your pots even customised look. Only your imagination limits you.

Happy painting!