DIY: How to Paint Clay Pots


Despite my appreciation for terracotta, I feel that too much of it can get boring. There are several techniques to age terra-cotta pots. I’ve painted them, which makes me instantly happy, or I’ve sprayed them with stuff to make moss grow, like a buttermilk and moss mixture.

My favorite part about painting pots is the process of making the designs. The people, objects, and locations around me have given me ideas for my pots; through the years, I’ve developed a few design rules for myself. For instance, I normally avoid the color green when pairing a plant with a pot unless I have a certain design. I’ve found that a green container usually either contrasts with or takes away from the leaves of a plant.

I enjoy a design that is influenced by the night sky. It is mysterious, interesting, and compatible with almost any plant. Another design that I admire is based on ancient gold-leaf picture frames. I appreciate how the underlying red hue can be seen through the layers of gold. To add variation, I occasionally use a top coat of black paint rather than gold and remove the portion of the top layer by scratching to show the red underlying when I want a fairly simple treatment, a tiny splash of color that lets the terra-cotta show through may make a pot shine.

Find out how to paint your clay pots quickly and easily.

Material Needed

  • Clean terra-cotta pots
  • Assorted acrylic craft paints
  • Foam brushes, small or medium
  • Plates made of plastic
  • Swabs made of cotton
  • Paintbrush
  • Brush made of wire
  • Acrylic clear spray

Step 01:

Start by prepping the pot.

You may get rid of price tags and labels by soaking the pot in hot water for a minimum of one hour, followed by a stiff brush scrub. Before painting, let the pot thoroughly dry.

Step 02

Apply the base coat.

On a plastic plate, apply the base coat’s paint and, if required, adjust the color with additional shades. Dilute the paint with a relatively small amount of water to make it easier to coat the entire pot equally. Apply the paint to the pot in wide strokes using a foam brush. To provide the best possible drainage, paint the pot top-down approximately an inch to provide the best possible drainage. However, leave the bottom untreated. The pot will soak up a lot of paint. Once the appropriate color depth is achieved, repeat the process as required, letting the pot dry between applications.


Start with the decoration

Once the blue base coat is fully dry, pick a color for the stars. (I prefer to use pearlescent white, silver, or gold.) Apply a generous amount of the paint using a cotton swab to the pot’s side.

To get the starburst appearance, apply paint with a small artist’s brush from the center to get the starburst appearance. To ensure you have enough paint for each, start with the longest rays and end with the shortest. To make the stars appear shimmer, I like adding a little dot of paint to the end of each ray.

Add more stars to the pot at random locations until you get the desired number.

Step 04

Seal the paint, and you’re done.

Apply the second coat of transparent water-based spray acrylic to cover the painting and shield the design against scratches when the completed pot has dried fully (this might require several days as the paint droplets on the heavenly pot are so much thicker than that of a coat of paint). Additionally, this layer makes removing dirt from the pot outside slightly simpler.