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Rustic Terracotta Pots

Orchid in rustic terracotta pot

As luck would have it I am in the gardening mood and four free orchids were available at work.  Two of them came in lovely, rustic, aged terracotta pots.  Two of them in plastic.  Last time a I checked plastic cups are not the most attractive or healthy means to display an orchid.  I loved the look of the rustic terracotta pots, but in reality even the two pretty pots were to small for the plants they were holding.  So what is a person to do?  I don’t have time to soak and cover four pots so they organically mineralize and grow moss.  I decided to take my hand at creating faux aged garden pots.

After some practice, playing around, and testing I came up with the following how-to:

How to Faux Finish Terracotta Pots for an Aged, Rustic Look

aged terracotta pot with orchid

Materials Needed

  • Terracotta pots
  • Cream acrylic paint
  • Plaster of Paris (Optional if you have matte paint)
  • Old toothbrush: I guess you could use a new one, but seems like a waste to me.
  • Sponge or paint brush
  • Plastic cups (2)
materials needed to faux finish pots for a rustic look
As you can see here I had some old semigloss white and some cream ‘mistake’ paint I found at the hardware store.


Step 1: Making Matte Paint

Here comes my world famous guestimate instructions.  First, take around 1 ounce of water and put it in a plastic cup or whatever you will be using to mix paint.  Then take a couple of spoonfuls of plaster.  Mix with the water till it makes something around the consistency of pancake batter.  Then pour in some paint.  I would guess and try to keep a 3 paint to 1 plaster ratio.  Now that I have told you that ratio it is time to ignore it, because you are attempting to make two types of paint.  One thick and one watery.  I started with the same base on both paints and then added more water to one and a little more plaster to the other.

Step 2: Painting

I looked at my first pots for reference and made a few changes.  First I took the old toothbrush and dipped it in the wetter paint.  I laid the pot on a suitable surface.  Meaning I laid out an old Christmas paper plate, and when that didn’t prove large enough to handle the paint splatter I put more cardboard underneath.  Of course this was after cleaning the table of paint splatters… Just run your thumb along the bristles 3-4 inches above to give it some splatter.

I looked at the original pot for reference.  The water marks happened in bands of white mostly focused on the bottom.  I took a sponge brush and lightly dipped it in the thick paint and started brushing around the pot.  I also dribbled some water in the wet paint and let it wick a bit to give it a more realistic look.  I find it is easier to start lighter and add more.  I also went back and added more paint on top of the previous areas so it would have a thick dimension like the source material.

techniques for aging pots with faux painting

Notes and the Final Look

  • The paint dries super quickly on the terracotta.  Which is great for layering and a PITA when you are trying to feather it out.
  • I have had no issues with water harming the finish.  That being said these are indoor orchids.  I water them in the sink and set them back in their various places.  I have not subjected the finish to the turmoil of actual weather.  Though, I assume a natural finish would slowly replace the paint.  In fact… I may need to give that idea a go.

After I replanted the orchid this was the final look:

Orchid in rustic terracotta pot


6 thoughts on “Rustic Terracotta Pots

  1. Thanks for sharing at my party…love your pots…but I can’t feature them without a link back to my blog on your post….bummer!


    1. So sorry you will not count my party page that links to you, but I am glad you thought they looked great. Thanks for dropping by!

  2. Visiting from Tip Me Tuesday. These pots are adorable and your directions are so clear! Great post. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Glad the directions were easy to follow.

  3. I love this tutorial. We do a lot of pots in the summer time out on our back deck and this is a lovely idea! Pinning! I’m visiting via the Pin Junkie Pin Party today, but if you have a spare moment, I would love it if you shared it with us at #FoodieFriDIY too. We just went live tonight. Happy Friday!

    1. Thanks for dropping by! I love terracotta pots indoors and out. I’ll be sure to drop by.

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