Rustic Terracotta Pots

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”

    • 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!

  1. 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!


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