Rag Painted Terra Cotta Planter

Painted Terra Cotta Pot

I have this love for Terra Cotta pots; I think it’s because they’re simple and have been around for as long as I can remember. Terra Cotta is a type of pottery made from clay based materials.  The clay can be unglazed or glazed ceramic where the fired body is porous.  Terracotta is a term for sculpture used through history for pottery, sculpting, bricks and roof shingles.

One of my blogging friends, Karen at To Work with My Hands recently upcycled three Terra Cotta pots by mottle painting; you can view that project here.  I love this trio and imaged doing something similar with shades of green.  I forgot the paint brushes were in storage so I decided to rag paint.

Terra Cotta Pot Painting

Project Materials

I purchased a new pot because I didn’t have any empty ones available.  This was inexpensive and if you already have containers and paint in your workshop then you can get started right away.  If you scaled this project down it could also be a neat homemade gift item.

  • Terra Cotta Pot – any size will work – Lowes has a great selection
  • White Chalk paint – Craft store like Hobby Lobby
  • 3 Decor Art /Outdoor Patio Paint – Craft store like Hobby Lobby (Colors – Sprout Green, Pine Green and Sweet Pea)
  • Brush for the white paint – Craft Store
  • Rag for applying the colored paint – cotton terry cloth works best

Painted Terra Cotta Planter

Applying the Base Coat

The first step is to apply the base coat; we do this using white chalk paint.  I applied one coat to the exterior and inside the rim of the pot then let it air dry outside; this allowed moving on to the next step right away.

Painting Terra Cotta Planters

Rag Painting Application

Here’s what I love about rag painting, there is no right or wrong way to apply the paint.  Just dab the rag into the paint then rub off the excess on paper and lightly cover the interior working your way around the exterior.  Since were using three colors we don’t want to cover all the white, just apply a light coat and let it dry before applying the second and third colors.

 

Painting Terra Cotta Planters with a rag

Adding the Second Shade

The second shade, was pretty dark and almost seemed to take over that first color, sprout green.  After applying and then adding the final sweet pea color the pot seemed to take on a new look that reminded me of moss.

 

Terra Cotta Painting

Finishing Touches

When the lighter color dried I went back and added a little more of sprout green because things didn’t seem to connect. Adding color is a matter of shading and blending so they complement one another. Once the pot was dry it was time to choose a plant.

Terra Cotta Painted Planter

Perfect for Planting

Painted terra cotta pots could be used for anything but my goal was to add day lilies, I like how that greenery trails outward like wild grass.  After completing this project, I decided a couple smaller complimentary pots would look nice next to this so I’m headed back to the store to get more terra cotta; I may even add saucers.

Painting is relaxing especially if you’re outdoors listening to the bird’s chirp and of course Dixie was nearby waiting for me to finish.  This project is easy to make and I only had to invest less than an hour to complete.  Use new or update old terra cotta pots to make your own rag painted planters or try Karen’s mottle brush technique that’s awesome too!

Featured on Hometalk.com
Terra Cotta Planter using rag style painting

 

10 comments

  1. Karen says:

    Carole – I absolutely love how your pots look! I’ve seen rag painting for walls, but never even thought of doing it on terra cotta. Now I have another way to dress up plain pots. You’re right – it does produce a mossy-type look with the colors you chose. There’s so many color combinations that would look great – you just can’t go wrong with this technique!
    Thank you for including my post. Hope you’re having a fabulous week! 🙂

    1. Carole says:

      Thank you Karen! When I get my paint brushes out of storage I’m going to do your mottle painting technique too and probably stick with the shades of green. Was a lot of fun so thank you for the inspiration!

  2. Patti says:

    Hi Carole,

    Your pots turned out great. They have that old mossy antique look that will only look better with time. This is a fun project that anyone can do and the result is always beautiful.

    1. Carole says:

      Thank you Patti – this was fun and I’m anxious to put together a few more because I think they’ll work perfectly at the new property.

  3. I LOVE this!! I’m a 4th grade teacher, and I purchased pots for the kids to make Mother’s Day gifts with…but we haven’t had time to get the decoupage done as I had planned. I’m going to have them make these instead, and they are beautiful! 🙂 Thank you! Heidi

    1. Carole says:

      Hello Heidi – I have to tell you this was so much fun and a perfect project for 4th graders. If you do this send me a photo and I’d be happy to include it in this post just needs to be high resolution. Good Luck!

  4. Donna McCoy says:

    Lovely. Funny how old ideas are new again. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Carole says:

      Absolutely agree – It seems about every 10/20 years things circle back…

  5. John says:

    what a clever idea. this is something I can do with my 8 year old nephew!

    1. Carole says:

      Sounds like a great summer project!

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