Painting Clay Flower Pots?

DonnaCnjOctober 16, 2002

I like painting clay flower pots. I have found that after painting them, over time the paint seems to bubble up, I guess from the moisture inside the pot, and the paint can actually be peeled off. Any suggestions on what to coat the pot with before painting?? Or after painting? Thanks

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Seal the INSIDE of the pot before you paint, with any terracotta sealer, and it won't happen as quickly.

And try leaving parts of the outside unpainted to let water escape.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2002 at 7:23AM
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Tisha(z5 NH)

I have a small terra-cotta plant tray that I painted and then put about 6 coats of spar varnish on (all over it-no parts un-varnished). It is very waterproof, but it has a yellowed look to it, and was time-consuming.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2002 at 4:10PM
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I've heard that coating the inside of clay pots with vaseline keeps the moisture in.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2002 at 12:27PM
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Jajohnson2(8 WA)

I wonder if a linseed-base wood sealer would work on the inside of the pot?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2002 at 5:15PM
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billie_ann(6b PA)

I'm trying a product from Smith Paints in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania that is listed for use on "cement, terra cotta, plaster, brick and natural stone". They have paint, dye stain and stain. I'm trying it on my hypertufa containers. The stain and dye stain is the "wash" you now see on concrete containers and statuary. Maybe this would work on your clay pots. They have tons of colors AND they sell in 4 ounce bottles for retail use. Billie

Here is a link that might be useful: Smith Paints

    Bookmark   November 29, 2002 at 7:27AM
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What types of paints do you use for the clay pots?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2003 at 11:59AM
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I paint clay pots regularly to as a hobby and to sell. I have found that the Patio Paint brand works wonderful! It's weatherproof so you don't need an extra sealer, though I do use their Clear Coat to give the pot a glossy finish. If I use any other brand of paint that's not outdoor specific, I seal it with the Patio Paint clear coat as well, and I haven't had any problems with chipping, bubbling or complaints either. Let's HOPE it stays that way!!:) Hope I helped some!:)

    Bookmark   April 22, 2003 at 12:57AM
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it did! Thanks!

And I can pick up patio paint at michaels or something? is it expensive? does a little go a long way etc?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2003 at 4:20PM
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CraftyGardner(6b TN)

One of my hobbies is painting and creating things with terra cotta pots. I paint them with regular acrylic paint and then seal them inside and out with two to three coats of clear acrylic Krylon sealer. Never had any problems yet....even with the ones I have outside.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2003 at 4:41AM
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Michaels does sell Patio Paints, but Wal-Mart sells it for a dollar less a bottle!! Yes, I have found that the Patio Paint brand does go a long way, a 2 oz. bottle is enough for me to paint 3-4 standard size pots with 3-5 coats (depending on color) on each. Let us know what works!:)OH, and the Patio Paint clear coat is great too!! Even though the paint has sealer in it, I brush a coat of the clear on my pots for a shine and extra protection. :)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2003 at 12:42AM
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annabellesangels(7 SeattleWA)

I paint terra cotta pots as a hobby and sell some on the internet as well. I have been doing it for about 10 years now and have used lots of products. The best by far has been to use 2-3 coats of craft acrylic paints and then follow-up with a indoor/outdoor sealant/lacquer (2 coats). I apply this with a brush. It comes out smooth, sealed and pretty. it doesn't take that long either. just make sure you let each coat completely dry before going onto another coat. And, I paint the outside AND inside and seal both too. Hope that helps! --Ann

    Bookmark   May 17, 2003 at 1:26PM
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I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone in painting the inside too Ann!! My husband always tells me its a "waste of time and paint" because no one will SEE the inside after it's filled with dirt, but I feel better with my finished result if the inside is painted too. It gives the pot a more complete look, and I have been told that the sealer actually aids in keeping the soil moist!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2003 at 11:50PM
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SthrnTami(z7 AL)

I do mosaics, and you also have to make sure that the pot is waterproof, or the mosaics can pop off. I use an adhesive called WeldBond, which is a white, water-based glue that is waterproof when dry. I dilute it 50/50 with water and brush the inside of the pot. Whatever you use, make sure you get all exposed parts of the pot, including the base and the inside of the drain hole.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2003 at 11:04PM
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DonnaNJ(z6 NJ)

Where can you purchase this weldbond? Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2003 at 7:37AM
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gmachris13(z9 CA)

Hi Donna and Others,

I have found a very good product for sealing terra cotta pots AFTER painting. It works much better than any kind of paint sealer. I made my mother a terra cotta pot bird bath 10 yrs ago and still looks good. Paint is little faded from sun but NONE has pealed.

The product is H & G Concrete and Masonry Waterproofing Sealer. I found it at Sherwin Williams Paint Store. It was only $8.95 for a gallon and takes very little to use. I put on 2 coats and that is more than enough.

Good luck and hope this helps everyone!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2003 at 1:03PM
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There has been some items on the Victory Garden on PBS recently showing painting pots and statues. The author, I think of "The Painted Garden", uses chalk paint which supposedly is porous and therefore will not be peeled off by water within the terracotta.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2003 at 4:03PM
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I just bought a Delta kit at Walmart for "weathering" pots. I found in next to the Delta craft paints. It includes 3-4 colors plus 3 bottles to put diluted, with water, paints. Then there is a spray top that can be put onto each. The idea is to spray combinations of these "washes" onto pots. Since it comes with large thimblefuls of paint, I don't know how many pots it can do for $6. However, consider it a learning experience because if you like it the Delta Ceramcoat paints are $0.87 for a 2 ounce bottle.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2003 at 10:08AM
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hi all,I am new to the site and I am finding my way around. I was wondering if anyone has made clay 'flowerpot people' to create a figure out of flowerpots to place in the garden on a chair?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2004 at 8:27PM
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check out garden junk for your flowerpot people, they have a thread going on now about the subject.
Good luck
have fun!!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2004 at 2:33PM
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I prime my pots with Kilz latex outdoor primer...paint them and then follow up with a waterproof sealer...I paint outdoor wooden decorations for my yard and have always primed them with Kilz and have never had any problem with any of the paint chipping

    Bookmark   February 8, 2004 at 3:52AM
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Mammie7(z5 OH)

hi everyone, i'm a new member of this forum, and i am so excited about all of the new ideas i've read about. i can't wait to get started on many of them, the only problem is being able to find the time to do them. anyone have any suggestions on finding the time to do the things we love to do?


    Bookmark   May 3, 2004 at 1:03AM
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I do vegetable gardening in clay pots. Are any of these products safe for edibles?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2004 at 6:26AM
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How bout it? Which of the sealants are safe to use in a pot for edibles? I'd like to seal two pots for herbs.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2005 at 3:03PM
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I am curious if anyone has tried to paint on the plastic "clay" terra cotta look-a-like pots with any success, as well as used them to make things that generally are made with the terra cotta pots? I have a stack of those from last year's gardening and wondered what to do with them?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2005 at 9:22PM
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I've spray painted plastic flower pots and after a year or so the paint starts to chip off. I used a primer specifically designed for plastic and I also used old black spray paint. Plastic itself tends to age when left out in the sun so it did not bother me to have it flake - it wasn't gonna last forever anyway. I like to dribble designs made of hot glue onto the pots before I paint them.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 11:28AM
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necia(z7 N TX)

Hi Havenewfs! This is my first time to post on this forum. I spend a lot of time in the Garden Junk forum. I just posted a link over there today for a neat way to age plastic pots! Take a look and see if you like it!


Here is a link that might be useful: Garden junk post

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 5:02PM
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Thank you so much! I printed it out, and as soon as it gets warmer or dryer, I will be trying at least one, if not all the projects.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2005 at 6:10PM
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My process for painting indoor flowerpots is very time consuming but if you want long-lasting results, itÂs worth the time. I use this hobby for stress relief, and I love giving my pots away.
Try to pick pots that donÂt have cracks, & broken parts. Old, used pots take more coats.
Sand all rough spots off, especially inside the drain hole. First, use 150 or finer grade sandpaper. Then use green scrubbies to make surfaces smooth.
Soak pots in water for 24 hours, clean, and dry for 24 more hours.
Before each coat of primer, paint, & varnish, inspect all surfaces for bumps, rough spots, or anything that got stuck in previous coat & very lightly buff with used green scrubbies. (I usually buff before every coat) If you do buff part, then itÂs best to go over entire surface. This also helps to remove brush strokes, and to even the coats. Let each coat dry for at least 6 hours,
To apply painting materials I use foam brushes, cleaning them after each coat w/soap & water, and keeping many on hand. Wrap cleaned ones w/paper towels, small plastic bags & keep in fridge. I use 2 for each material/color  1 for applying coats, and 1 (with very edge of tip cut off) applied very lightly to smooth & blend.
Coat with latex primer  making each coat as thin as possible. The number of coats depends on how many it takes to get a pot completely covered and smooth. Sometimes I apply as many six coats.
Paint w/water based paints  usually mixing my own colors  the little craft paints work well. Again, the coats should be thin and apply as many coats as needed. IÂve gone to as many as 10 or more for deep colors.
Seal w/water based outdoor-type sealant (I use Varathane). The process is the same  thin coats, dry, inspect, buff, wipe down, apply next coat, etc. I usually apply 10+ coats of sealant.

IÂve used this process for 3 years now, and so far none of my pots have bubbled, corroded, or lost color. I keep extra paints just in case.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 9:48PM
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Does anyone know what product, after painting terra cotta pots, could be used to paste and seal on paper products? Is there a special sealant that could seal the paper to the pot w/out having it change color and w/stand the elements of the outdoors? This is prob. asking to much...

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 10:29PM
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I think you could use Modpodge made by Plaid. Check out their website at I think it will answer your questions.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 2:21PM
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I am organizing a project for my son's fifth grade class. The students are going to decorate clay pots, fill them with houseplants and deliver them to a local nursing home. I'm not 'crafty' so I didn't know where to start or which prodicts I'd need. I lucked upon this site and this 'thread' has been tremendously helpful! Thanks to everyone who posted.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2006 at 10:22AM
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Saromat, another suggestion for you. I have a Dollar Tree in my town. They have wonderful stickers that are a heavyweight material. They have bright colors of flowers, herbs, dragonflys etc. The great thing is most of the stickers are 2 sided so you get double the amount of other places.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2006 at 11:18AM
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I recently saw a really neat set of flower pots on e-bay. Someone had either bought or made clay pots with chalkboard paint on the outside. I thought this would be a cute idea for labeling my indoor herb garden. Does anyone have any suggestions for this idea? - Cathy

    Bookmark   April 20, 2006 at 11:21AM
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Crafty_Canuck(W Canada)

Hello Friends;

I have painted several clay pots over the years and I agree with sealing the inside of the pot first. I use Folk Art sealant from Plaid, I then paint the outside and seal it as well and I have never had problems with bubbling or peeling.

Della :)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2006 at 2:28PM
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how do you paint cement flower pots

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 4:09PM
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mvpo(8a TX)

Do any of ya'll have a problem with the sealer turning cloudy/whitish when wet?


    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 5:19PM
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I want to make chalkboard painted pots for teachers and bus drivers. Does anybody know if their is prepping for this? How many coats do I need? Should I do something to the inside. I was planning on putting something in the pot when I give it to them. Also for the bus driver I was going to put a little bus sticker . Is there something I can put on it to make is sure it sticks ? Also should I put something on the pot to seal it ?
Thank you

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 9:57AM
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I am using fabric gauze and modpodge to decorate the outside of terra cotta pots and then painting them with airbrush metallic paint. Any ideas on what to use to seal the inside, so that when the dirt goes in and the pot is watered, it won't effect the outside of the pot. Thanks

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 6:12PM
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I have been painting clay pots for several years. I paint large pots and they can be expensive. If you go to garden centers and see pots that have SMALL cracks in them you can usually deal with the center for a discount. I bring them home and seal the cracks with "DAP" DryDex interior/exterior spackling compound. (goes on pink, turns white when dry)then just sand smooth wipe off residue and prime and seal and paint.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 4:38PM
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first time blogger. i guess it takes a plant to motivate me. lol! ok i have been interested in painting my pots, mostly to help preserve them. i have found that the plastic spray paint works best on the plastic pots, and sealed with the clear coat. mine are only 2yrs old but still look good. i prefer the clay pots, but some of the pots start deteriorating around the top lip. last summer i used the clear coat spray paint from krylon on several clay pots and they seem to be holding up, who knows for how long? the water just kinda beads up when wet. this year i brushed on the outdoor sealant used for wood decking & fences. Anyone know how well this stuff works? i am also very interested in learning about the chalk painting. any tips? also the dap seems to be a great idea. does it work for those large pits around the top of pots or the larger cracks?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 11:18AM
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Can I use this method to paint over pots that I bought painted but are now chipping? I think I would have to sand them down first to remove all the lose old paint. Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 9:45AM
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I paint my plantpots with acrylic paints & then add cut outs from fancy paper napkins.
1.Use a clean pot,then paint with acrylic paint.Dry thoroughly
2.Having cut out your chosen pattern from a paper napkin,peel off the backing so you only have a 1 ply paper.
3.Stick on the pot with acrylic glue,then leave to dry.
4.If using pot indoors 1 coat of varnish is adequate,if using outdoors use a good outdoor varnish spray & give 2-3 coats.
I have pots all over my Spanish courtyard all decorated in this manner.
Note:If you become quite good at this there is an alternative decoration application between stages 1 & 2.You can brush with a Crackle Medium (brush in one direction only
with a well loaded brush.Leave to dry,then paint on top with
a lighter colour than your base paint.I find cream is best.
Leave to dry & your pot will have a very nice distressed appearance.Then you carry on with the other stages.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 4:59PM
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I also paint pots for a hobby, and found a company that purchase pre-painted terra cotta pots and then just adds the decorative artwork. This would save so much time! any idea where to get pre-painted terra cotta pots wholesale?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 4:29PM
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What sealants that are used on the inside of the pot are good to use with edible plants.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 10:42PM
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Does anyone know of a sealer for inside of clay/adobe pots to prevent water from seeping thru and affecting the outside painted surface? Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 1:48PM
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Hi...I am new to this forum and, in fact, new to this hobby! I have been making these hanging clay pot things--I have no clue what to call them, but I did one without painting it and used stickers, and it worked great. Then I painted it, and I couldn't get the same type of stickers to stick! Any suggestions? Anyone know what I am doing wrong? Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 4:20PM
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