Arts & crafts

DIY: Painted terracotta pots

DIY customized terracotta pots

Ever since I got into plants, I’ve read so much about the benefits of terracotta pots. The porous clay material allows for good air and water movement, promoting healthy plants with less chance of soil disease and root rot.

Balancing the need for more pots with more breathing room between heftier planter purchases, I brought home 4 of these cheap pots from Home Depot, aka the Disneyland of shelter-in-place crowds.

While the online community of plant lovers only seems to gush over them, the one obvious downside I’d like to point out is just how ugly terracotta pots are. And thus resulted in this DIY pot painting / decorating / customizing / facelift project.

supplies to DIY decorate terracotta pot

What you’ll need

The supplies are few & simple (a welcomed theme to my arts & crafts endeavors):

Acrylic paint


Tape (optional)

Scissors (optional)

Design ideas from the brain (or internet)

I had such high hopes for the geometric design using the heart cutout pictured above (saved for such an occasion!) but it sadly failed. As it turns out, porous clay – which allows for water to move through its walls – also allows for water-based acrylic paint to do the same. Paint bled messily outside the cutout lines so I ended up filling the whole heart black.

Surprisingly, what was a hodgepodge of random tape placements ended up being my favorite piece.

supplies to paint terracotta pot

I had no idea what it would end up looking but the different-sized triangles and empty space around them turned out great.

snake plant in terracotta planter

I painted the pots, had them bask in the sun, and finished off with 2 more coats to lock in the paint. I’m planning to get this Rust-Oleum Cover Spray on the next Target run to ensure that paint doesn’t fade over time, as it did on my DIY doormat.

As the paint was drying, I separated out 2 snake plants that I had embarrassingly neglected, and cut off all their burnt leaves. And by neglect I mean: moving them outside to full sun without any transition stages, leaving them soaked in the pouring rain for days, and perhaps other abuses I’ve pushed out of my memory.

DIY terracotta pot design

Pretty happy 2 things were accomplished by this DIY project: 1) I redeemed these snake plants which now look happier & healthier in their new homes, and 2) I can now stand the aesthetics of terracotta pots (bare ones are still ugly).

I’ll probably get a few more clay pots from Home Depot soon.

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