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Clay Pot Painting and Decorating Ideas

Clay pot painting is perfect for beginner crafters! Learn how to decorate terra cotta using these tutorials great for both kids and adults.

clay pot painting ideas

Terra cotta clay pots are fabulous surfaces for a variety of art forms, such as pot painting, stenciling, decoupage, and mixed media. Clay pots are smooth, offering the perfect crafting surface for all ages!

Keep reading to learn how to clean and repurpose clay flower pots, prepare terra cotta pots for paint projects, and how to seal them. 

When I think of clay pot painting and decorating, I typically think about spring and summer. I picture getting ready for warm weather and bright flowers.

But what I’ve learned over the course of time is that decorating clay pots isn’t just a hobby for warmer weather. Plenty of creative people like yourself are looking for ideas to decorate flower pots all year ’round!

There are a few reasons to decorate and paint pots besides flowers – not limited to but including gift containers, home decor, and crafts (like clay pot animals!).


Tips for Painting and Decorating Clay Pots

Clay pots are such a fun surface and you can use almost any craft supplies with terra cotta – paint, Mod Podge, glitter, ribbon, tape, and more. Not only that, but they are an inexpensive!

Every time I see them in the craft or home improvement store I try to think of different projects that I can make. I pulled together a list of brilliant ways to decorate clay pots and thought you might be interested in these ideas as well.

Before we get into the projects, I wanted to go through some FAQs for project success. If you’re not interested, scroll down to get the projects; however, I hope some of these help you in your clay pot decorating journey.

If you’ve never painted pots before, check out these tips because they will be invaluable to making a lasting design.

Is it ok to paint terracotta pots?

Yes it is! You’ll need to prep them first – instructions below – but yes, you can paint on them, and it won’t hurt the plants at all. I do recommend using acrylic, waterbased paint for this purpose.

Which paint should I use on pots?

If your terra cotta will be used outdoors, I recommend using either FolkArt Outdoor or FolkArt Multi-Surface paints. Both paint formulas deliver rich color and coverage in a very creamy consistency, making it easy to brush on.

Both formulas were also created to be weather resistant, tested for UV protection, dry to a satin finish and cure to the surface within 48 hours. Best part . . . there is no need to apply a sealer or varnish over the completed design because the paint is self-sealing.

However, if you live in extreme conditions or the item will be in direct sun or rain, I recommend adding an additional acrylic sealer over the design (multiple coats). You can use brush on or spray on. Both will work with paint.


How do you prepare terra cotta pots for painting?

Let’s talk about “new” terra cotta first, then used pots. Clay pots found in craft stores, garden shops, and DIY home improvement stores are unglazed and porous. This means they are not waterproof.

Unglazed or unsealed terracotta will draw moisture from the plant and soil, keeping the pot itself moist. Extra moisture may affect the external decoration by causing paint to blister.


You’re going to carefully seal the INSIDE with a water based acrylic sealer. I can recommend two different sealing techniques:

1. Spray seal the inside of the pot with a couple coats of Clay Pot Sealer.  Allow each application to dry before applying the next.

2. Brush on FolkArt Outdoor Sealer over the entire inside. Same idea as option number one, but it’s a brush on versus a spray on.

Once the sealed clay pot is dry, it is ready to be painted. For flower pots that will be used outdoors, use either an outdoor or multi-surface paint with UV protection. Polyvine Varnish is recommended.

For painted flower pots that will be used inside, use any of the following premium-quality acrylic paints: FolkArt Acrylics, Delta Ceramcoat, or Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint.

Collection of clay pots

Where can I buy clay pots?

They are available at craft stores, home improvement stores, the dollar store, Target and Walmart (seasonally), and even at the Goodwill.

But what if you want to use old pots? Well – you’ll need to clean them first!

How to clean a used clay pot before painting

  1. To repurpose a used terra cotta pot, be sure to thoroughly clean it first before sealing and decorating.
  2. Thoroughly remove dirt and salt residue; if needed, scrub the surface with a wire brush.
  3. Once clean of dirt and debris, soak the flower pot in a solution of 9 parts water to 1 part bleach for 24 hours in order to kill any lingering bacteria (this is optional, but handy if you have really grimey pots with moss and stains!).
  4. After soaking, thoroughly rinse the pot with clean water and allow it to dry completely. Follow by sealing ins before decorating.

Are you ready to get the ideas? From paint to decoupage, there are all sorts of great projects here. Scroll down to learn more and let me know your favorites in the comments!

Clay Pot Painting and Decorating

Do you like painting terracotta pots? Get several ideas to paint and decorate this unique surface - here are 30+ projects you'll want to try. Perfect for the garden, front porch, and more.


Saturday 29th of April 2023



Saturday 20th of May 2023

Thank you!


Thursday 15th of July 2021

I am going to keep this from you,we could make some for our stall everybody likes the idea for garden.