Introduction: Hand Painted Terracotta Plant Pot

About: My name is Niki, I am a mum of three amazing grown up kids as well as a Grandma. I am a keen hobbyist and a full time carer for someone with a disability. In my spare time I indulge in my eclectic crafting …

You don't need to be a Claude Monet or a Vincent Van Gogh to create this masterpiece!

My grandson loves gardening, I'm guilty of that. He also loves Angry Birds and Sonic The Hedgehog, I'm not guilty of those :-)

So when he asked me for something different for his birthday, I made sure he had something even more special and one money just can't buy.

Pots, for his own garden, painted by Grandma!

Step 1: You Will Need

  • A terracotta plant pot of any size you want
  • A variety of different colour paints. I used acrylics, but you can buy exterior paint tester pots for small amounts - including white for an undercoat
  • A HB pencil
  • An eraser, just in case of mistakes
  • A variety of artists paint brushes. I used a broad flat one and a number of small, fine ones
  • A can of clear, waterproof spray lacquer. I use car lacquer.
  • Tracing paper (optional)
  • Glitzy embellishments (optional)
  • Glitter glue (optional)
  • Low tack sticky tape (optional) - see tip on relevant step if you don't have the low tack kind
  • Some formable / bendy wire to hang up you pot later when spraying
  • A mask for use when spraying
  • Imagination and ideas

Check out:

  • Your art and craft store for many of the items: paints, tools and embellishments
  • The DIY / hardware store for exterior paints
  • The garden centre for your pots


If, like me, you're all for saving money, you'd be pleasantly surprised at what you can find at the pound / dollar type stores

Step 2: Undercoat

Use the white paint to coat the outside only of your pot.

Add enough coats so you can't see the terracotta colour. This will take a few coats. More thinner coats are better than one thick coat. Allow to dry in between coats

Step 3: Sketch Your Design

OK, so you got this far and thought "I can't draw", let's not stress I have the solution!

I was fortunate enough to be able to sketch my designs free-hand, but if you can't, try this:

Find an image:

  • Find an image of the right size you like, the simpler the better and the thicker the lines on the image the better.
  • I find children's colouring books great as the lines are good if you need to trace

If using a tablet:

  • If using your tablet, download the image to your device and "pinch" the image to the size you need
  • If possible, flip the image horizontally

Trace and redraw over lines:

  • Place your tracing paper over the image and trace
  • Once complete, remove your work, place on a hard surface and go over / redraw over the lines you've drawn
  • Note: If you have already "flipped" your image horizontally, skip straight to "Place paper on the pot", if not, continue ...
  • Turn over and scribble over your lines. We're going to make good old fashioned carbon-type paper

Place paper on the pot:

  • Place the paper, scribble side on the pot and lines on the outside, then secure. Use the low tack sticky tape
  • Note: If your image is already reversed, place line side onto the pot.
  • Tip: If you don't have the low tack kind, with your ordinary kind of sticky tape, stick it to furnishings or your clothes a few times so it becomes less sticky. We don't want to take any of the undercoat off with the tape.

Retrace your lines onto the pot:

  • Now that your paper is secure, take your pencil and, with a little more pressure than when you sketch, carefully retrace your lines.
  • When you remove your paper, you should see the image.
  • If not, re-scribble extra / redraw on the pack and follow the steps again.

Once that's done, use your pencil to redraw the lines on your pot. This will make it easier to see when working on your masterpiece.

Tip: Keep your original image for your guide later on

Step 4: Paint Your Pot

Little did I realise that painting onto a curved surface was harder than anticipated.

Take your time and paint, from the lightest colour to the darkest.

You can use the glitter glue to add names and highlights.

Keep your original image by your side for reference

Step 5: Add Embellishments (optional Step)

I didn't embellish the Sonic pot, with the exception of my grandson's name, but I did use some on this Angry Birds one.

I glued on some flower 'jewels' then painted the stem and leaves. I know they were already sticky, but I used the glue to make them more secure

Step 6: Lacquer, Dry and Plant

If you have used exterior paints, you don't need to spray your pot, this will be an optional step

Always spray lacquer outdoors! Always follow manufacturer's instructions

This is a two-step process.

A number of thinner coats will help prevent runs and drips. Thicker coats have a tendency to run, which will ruin all your hard work.

Allow to dry between coats.

Extra tip: Use an old cake net, or something similar, to cover (without touching your work) if spraying outdoors. The last thing you want is a stray fly stuck on your pot

Step 1:

Place your pot, right side up, and lightly spray inside the pot and around the top of the rim. Apply a few coats

Step 2:

Using your wire, secure your pot through the hole and hang upside down

Lightly spray a number of coats of lacquer, allow to dry between each coat. Add more layers on the outside than you did on the inside.

Once dry, it's ready for planting