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Crafts: Painted Flower Pots

painted pots
Photo/Art by Heath Robbins
My garden is my extra summer room, and like all gardeners, I love sharing its bounty. Painted terra-cotta flower pots not only add color to your patio, garden, and front steps, but they also make a personal and pretty way to package extra herbs and flowers–or fill them with favorite seed packets, tools, gloves, and markers as gifts for your gardening friends.

Make sure the pots are clean. If you’re using old terra-cotta pots, give them a good scrubbing with a cleaning brush; if they do need a wash, let them dry overnight to make sure they’re moisture-free.

I use water-based paints; they don’t smell, they dry fast, your brushes will be so much easier to clean, and most of all, they’re earth-friendly.

Materials to Make Painted Flower Pots

  • Terra-cotta pots and saucerspaints
  • paintbrushes
  • varnish or sealer (optional)

Instructions to Make Painted Flower Pots

1. Apply one or two base colors.

2. Let dry completely.

3. Start decorating! Use your imagination or get inspired by nature, wallpaper and fabric patterns, or the works of artists such as Matisse, Picasso, or Haring.

4. Use a water-based varnish to seal the paint if you like. I prefer the weathered look the pots get after a season out in the elements, though.

5. These little works of art make colorful, cheerful additions to any home and garden. Happy painting, planting, and harvesting!

Updated Monday, April 20th, 2009

9 Responses to Crafts: Painted Flower Pots

  1. Corinne Damm May 4, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    They sound like they are easy to make, and very pretty. Can’t wait to try my hand making them!

  2. Rob Zeleniak May 19, 2009 at 4:27 pm #

    Tower Hill Botanic Garden asked local artists to paint terra-cotta pots for their Plant Sale Preview Party fundraiser on May 29. Check them out at

  3. Chris Heckman May 20, 2009 at 1:35 pm #

    I am always looking for simple projects to make with my grandkinds. This one sounds like a winner! Thanks.

  4. Fazimoon Samad April 18, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

    Beautiful art work on those pots ,and such a wonderful idea, and I am sure if you let the kids help you with them it will be such fun and a great learning experience.

  5. Betty Hall February 8, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    I have painted flower pots for years, my sister got me into it and I have really enjoyed it.
    I have painted many, many pots for people. I have painted them free handed, used stamps of different kinds, decoupaged wall paper pictures on them, printed out pictures and decoupaged them on pots. I have even put pictures of grandchildren on them for grandparents. One example was a picture of a little girl sitting in a pumpkin patch. I painted the pot orange and decorated it with pumpkins, etc. There are so many ideas. A lot of us use the 12 inch, I think it is, to put on our cabinets with large utensils in them. My grandkids that live next door love to paint pots, too.

  6. Marjorie D\'Annunzio February 8, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    I have painted a lot of pots in the past and continue to do so. However I have never put plants into them. I make candles in them. I thought of plants but realizing that terra cotta is pourous and of course you must water a plant wouldn’t the paint ( even with a sealer ( varnish ) begin to peel. I sell my pots as well as give them away and I’m sure someone who buys one wouldn’t want to purchase something that destroys itself in time. Any one have thoughts on this ? email appreciated

  7. linda Bouchard February 8, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    I have put plants in painted pots for years and they are fine. I don’t put a sealer on the pot but I don’t think that would harm the plants.

  8. Suzanne Tasker February 9, 2011 at 7:16 am #

    I have painted pots for years and sometimes I seal the outside, sometimes I don’t. The key is to seal the INSIDE so moisture doesn’t seep through the painted outside. I use water-based varnish. My plants have never suffered that I can see. Just have fun – it is inexpensive fun!

  9. Jane Barton February 9, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    I agree with Susan,pot painting is great fun and cheap,so have fun, my plants do not seem to mind the deco art.

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