How to Update Planters with Rag Painting

Take Faded planters from seasons past and learn how to update with a fun paint tecnique called rag painting using Dixie Belle Paint.

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Finish planter with a little wax and plan

After winter I normally take a stroll around the homestead to see how things survived.  Typically, this is me inspecting plants but this year it was also taking note of things I made from the previous year.

I didn’t have to look very far because a couple items were placed on the tiny house porch and the damp, rainy weather had quite an impact on those projects.

One being this cedar planter and mine started to mildew a few months ago.

So, if you experienced a wet winter, then you might enjoy learning how to update planters with rag painting.

The Before Planter Box

This was the before, you can see gray appearing on the surface and my once favorite planter was looking pathetic.

To begin, I dumped the soil and plants into a raised bed then sanded the exterior because I noticed it looked fine on the inside.

I let it sit in the sun for a couple days and then decided it was time for a new look.

I’ve used rag painting on clay pots before, I figured, why not try it on wood?

Prepping the planter box using Dixie Belle Paint

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I started this project with a great foundation, the cedar planter was in awesome shape.

The original finish was a dry brush technique with stenciling and it appeared I needed to be bold to cover those details.

I used Dixie Belle Paint and went with a green theme because it fits with our natural environment.  There’s something about country living that directs me to colors that complement nature.

With Spring in the air shades of green seemed like the perfect choice.

For this project I just used paint and a few other things to bring it all together and remember when you shop online with Dixie Belle Paint shipping is only $10 on orders $50 or more.

Supplies and Paint Colors

  • Dixie Belle Paint Colors – Cotton, Collard Greens, Evergreen, Lemonade, and Kudzu
  • Dixie Belle Chip Brush
  • Five small rags and sand paper
  • Jar of water for clean up
  • Dixie Belle Clear Wax

You’ve all heard me talk about this awesome paint, it’s a chalk based paint which means it dries fast.  It was perfect for this project because I didn’t have to wait for each application to dry for periods of time which really sped up the creative process.

Once I had the box sanded and dry the first step is to apply a white base coat.  I used Cotton on the exterior of the entire planter and also covered the interior edges.

It was a gracious thick coat so I let it dry outside for an hour before moving on.

Adding layers of color

Rag Painting Technique

Rag painting is really easy and it’s actually pretty relaxing so I do highly recommend this technique.

Begin a project like this with at least four colors and start with the darkest first.  With this planter that first color would be collard greens.

We’re not covering the entire surface, we’re just dipping the rag into the paint and graciously covering leaving plenty of white still showing.

Cover the entire planter and then go to the next color which for me was evergreen.  This color is also pretty dark but it has a nice lift to tone down the collard greens.

Adding the colors to complete the finish planter

We continue with the third color by taking the lightest, lemonade.  This is such a neat color and sort of blends those two previous choices together.

Again, we’re covering the entire planter so just have fun with it and notice the white is still visible.

The final color is kudzu and this is where everything really comes together.  I just love that color too because it’s light but has enough pop to brighten up the planter and pull everything together.


When the planter is finish you can just toss those rags i the garbage and let the planter sit in the sun for about an hour.  It will feel dry but just let it rest if you plan to add a protective coat.

I used Dixie Belle Clear wax by brushing one layer and letting it sit for a few minutes.  Then buff with a clean rag and you’re done.

Well you’re almost done, now you have to replant and sit or hang in a location where you can enjoy.

Rag painting is a lot of fun and it’s a great way to brighten up planters that look a little weathered from previous seasons.  Are you ready to give this technique a try?

If you like this planter box you can get building instructions right here. 



How to Update Planters with Rag Painting


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  1. Christine says:

    I seriously rag painted a wall in my daughter’s room too! Oh my! I think we were twins in another lifetime! LOL! Anyhoo-I’m loving the new changes on your blog and your planter, well perfection in color choices as usual! What a creative way to give new life to a weather-worn item! I’ll have to check out your building instructions for that planter too! How did I miss that?

    1. Carole says:

      You know after we got the site finished it took me a few days before I decided that I also liked it. At first I thought it was a mistake but because I have so much going on it seems to work. That planter is a fun build and I’m sure your hubby could help you make it even better.

      It is neat all the similarities, Patti and I run into the same thing.

  2. june d erickson says:


    1. Carole says:

      Guess you’ll just have to wait and see. Talk to you soon!

  3. daisy says:

    What a great idea for changing the look.

    1. Carole says:

      You’ll have to give it a try.

  4. Patti says:

    This is so pretty. I remember that rag technique was all the rage in the ’90s. I painted my dining room with it but have recently repainted in a monochrome gray. I still think it’s a fun project for a planter and may use it in my cold frame I’m working on. Thanks for the great reminder. Looking forward to your new site.

    1. Carole says:

      Okay so it looks like she’s working on my site as we speak. I do remember rag painting in the 90’s because I did a wall in my daughter’s room. It was our first house and I had fun turning it into our home. Anyways this tip would look neat would look neat on your cold frame.

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