Hey friends! Spring is just around the corner, which means it’s almost time to start working in the garden. It also got me thinking about getting a few plants for indoors. The problem was I had nil for attractive planters. I did have a few somewhat aged terra cotta pots, but they still had a bold color to them which I knew wouldn’t work well in my mostly-neutral decor.
So what’s a girl to do? DIY some terra cotta pots to look aged, that’s what!
In this tutorial I will show you how to get the aged waterline look to your terra cotta pots. There are several different ways to do this (and some don’t even use paint) but this is the way that has worked best for me.
- DecoArt Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint in Everlasting White (where to buy)
- DecoArt Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint in Enchanted (where to buy)
- DecoArt Americana Decor Creme Wax in Clear (where to buy)
- DecoArt Americana Decor Creme Wax in Deep Brown (where to buy)
- FolkArt Home Decor Chalk and Wax Brushes (where to buy)
- plastic gloves (optional – if you don’t want paint on your hands)
- terra cotta pots in the size of your choice
- paper plates
- soft rags (cotton works best)
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When applying paint to the pots (except for the first whitewashing coat and the wax coats) use a tapping motion with your brush. This will make the finished result look less painted on and more realistic by avoiding brush strokes.
Also when applying paint to the pots (except for the first whitewashing coat and the wax coats) use a “dry brush”. What I mean by a dry brush is to dip the brush into the paint and then brush it on a paper plate until there is just a little paint left on the brush. This makes the pots easier to handle while you paint them and also helps to avoid the painted-on look.
In a separate container, make a bit of whitewash by mixing a bit of the Everlasting White paint with a bit of water to get a milky consistency. You won’t need much paint at all – all I do is dip my brush in the paint jar to get some paint on it, then add a little water in a container (I use washed yogurt containers that I keep for mixing paint) and mix it together, adding a little more paint or water if I need to in order to get the milky consistency I want.
Paint the pot with the whitewash working in sections and then wiping each section with a rag. This will tone down the terra cotta color. You do not have to wait for the whitewash to dry to go on to the next step (you can, but you don’t have to).
Using a tapping motion, paint the bottom 1/4 of the pot with the Everlasting White paint. Do not wait for it to dry before the next step.
While the Everlasting White paint is still wet, and again using a tapping motion, paint over the top half of the Everlasting White paint with the Enchanted paint. This allows the paint to mix together a bit to create a more natural finish.
Once the paint is dry to the touch (this should only take a few minutes if you’ve been using a dry brush), brush on the Deep Brown wax, working in sections and wiping off each section with a clean rag as you go. Once the wax is dry to the touch, brush on the Clear wax, again working in sections and wiping off each section with a clean rag as you go.
Feel free to play with where you apply the paint as well as trying other colors you like. For instance, you can apply the paint all over the pot instead of the bottom 1/4 of it to give the pot a mossy look. Experiment with different colors and finishes and have fun! And don’t worry about “messing it up” – if you get to a point where you don’t like it, just soak the pot in warm water for a bit and the paint will come off easily with soap and water. Allow the pot to dry thoroughly and try again.
I planted ivy in my freshly painted pots and used them to give a fresh spring look to my buffet table that we use a wine bar when we’re entertaining.
Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out my tutorial on how to age terra cotta pots with chalk paint! If you have any thoughts or questions, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section below – I always love hearing from my readers!
Amber Ferguson says
This is the best tutorial for aging pots that I have seen! I have white washed pots several times, but I have tried and tried to get that aged mossy patina and it never looked authentic. I see now that I was using the wrong green and no brown. I would love for you to linkup this post at TFT. Leave a comment with your number to be featured. 🙂
Thanks so much Amber! 🙂 I had trouble finding a tutorial for doing this that gave me the effect I wanted to, so I experimented with all kinds of paint colors and techniques until I came up with this. I will definitely pop by to share this at TFT!
I love this technique! It looks so real!
Thanks so much Carol!
Kathy A says
Your pots look so realistic! I hate the look of brand new terra cotta; has no character at all. Can’t say THAT about yours! Great tutorial.
Thanks so much Kathy!
Hi Michelle! So happy to find your tutorial as I love this look and will try it very soon. Keep up the wonderful work! -michele
You’re very welcome Michele! 🙂
Joni Langdon says
Do these pots still “breathe” after you add the paint and wax? If so, is the paint affected by the moisture of the terra cotta? They are beautiful! Thanks!
Shalini Bansal says
I am a dot artist and currently doing dotwork on teracotta using powdered clay paste. As of now I have just two colors to work with and looking for more hues to add in my palette. Just landed on your page and got to know about chalk paints. I wanted to know can these paints have a consistency of a paste to do dotart? And what os the chemical composition of these paints? Are they natural and non toxic?
Hello Shalini! Chalk paint is thicker than post paints, but is not the consistency of paste. You can add more of the chalk base (calcium carbonate powder) to make it more paste like. Chalk paints are usually water based so I don’t think they are toxic, but check the brand labels to be sure. I hope this helps! 🙂
Thank you for sharing! Beautiful!!
You’re very welcome Nomie, and thank you! 🙂
Where did you get the brushes from ?
What is the purpose of the brown wax?
Can you apply just clear wax ?
Will the color last outside in the rain ?
Can I waterproof spray over the finished product to make it last outside ?
Where did you get the brushes from ? Amazon (link in post)
What is the purpose of the brown wax? To make the paint finish looked aged
Can you apply just clear wax ? Yes
Will the color last outside in the rain ? Probably not
Can I waterproof spray over the finished product to make it last outside ? I haven’t tried it so I don’t know if it will work, but I’d think it would. Keep in mind that water will soak through from the inside of the pot as well, so you will want to seal it on the inside too with whatever you decide to go with.
I hope this helps! 🙂
I have another question regarding your open shelves. How far apart are they from the other. Meaning top shelf to next shelf. I have been admiring this look for awhile
Hi Judeth! They are 19 inches apart from each other.
Michelle I really enjoyed your tutorial on aging pots!
You’re very welcome Michelle! I’m happy you enjoyed my tutorial!
They look amazing! Hope that doesn’t harm new plants?
I’m a bit late to the party but just wanted to say (like many others!) this is THE best tutorial I’ve seen. I’m starting a garden here in the UK from scratch and trying to save money wherever I can. Aged terracotta, especially the larger size, is getting expensive because it is so in demand so I will definitely be trying your technique on some less expensive pots. Thank you.