DIY Painted Terra Cotta Pots For Summer Outdoor Decorating

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If you’re getting your patio or deck ready for a summer of lazing, lounging and entertaining in style, you’re probably thinking about colorful pots to hold your favorite annuals and foliage plants.

Plants add so much color and texture to a patio, but the pots and containers that hold them are just as important for setting the tone and style your lifestyle represents.

Whether you’re all about creating drama, eclectic charm, a beach-house vibe or you just want to give your kids a fun project that you can enjoy all summer, decorating terra cotta pots for your patio is a creative and satisfying project you and the whole family can enjoy.

Pick A Pot

Terra cotta pots come in all sizes – from tiny thimble-sized pots that fit nicely in a dollhouse to mega-pots that hold a small garden (okay – I’m exaggerating – but a whole bunch of plants anyway.)

There are also so many shapes to choose from that you’re hard-pressed to pick just one. You can opt for a series of similarly shaped containers for a coordinated look or mix things up with a hodge-podge of dissimilar shapes for an eclectic look.

If you’re worried about breakage, you can opt for faux-clay plastic pots. These could be a good option if you have rambunctious youngsters or pets.


You can use any acrylic paint for this project. Acrylic dries to a waterproof finish and is UV resistant, so it doesn’t fade easily. It’s available in zillions of colors, and it’s easy to blend, use, thin and clean up.

Paint Additives

If you’re looking for unusual effects for your planters, there are lots of additives that jazz up your paint. You can add glitter for sparkling paint, pearlescent medium to give the paint a sheen, fluorescent powder for a luminescent glow or a chalk finish you can use like a chalkboard.

There are lots of other additives, including texturizing medium to add dimension and texture to the paint.

Acrylic Sealant

You’ll also need an acrylic sealant. Even though acrylic paint is waterproof, your pieces should be completely sealed for added protection. This extra step ensures your masterpiece will keep its fresh and festive appearance all summer long.

Acrylic sealants are available in several finishes; matte, semi-gloss, high gloss and pearlized finishes give you a wide variety of looks from which to choose.

You can paint your pots with a brush or opt for an aerosol spray sealant. If you’re using the spray, use outdoors or make sure to have proper ventilation if spraying inside. If you’re spraying outdoors, make sure there’s no wind.

You can paint your terra cotta pots pretty much as you would any other canvas or support. Paint individual motifs directly on the clay, paint a base color, draw your designs or just start flinging paint.

Use stencils, stamps, brushes, sponges, fingers (or toes, for that matter!) Paint each pot differently for that gypsy, boho look. Plan a series of pots with a related theme. It could be butterflies, geometric shapes or daily affirmations.

Your patio’s new face lift is sure to bring a smile with your one-of-a-kind planters, just oozing with your special personality and creativity.

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