How to Prepare Terracotta Pots for Painting? A Step-By-Step Guide

How to Prepare Terracotta Pots for Painting? A Step-By-Step Guide

The stylish pots and planters add beauty to the plant. If you are tired of the traditional look of your terracotta pots and don’t have the budget to buy fancy and expensive planters. Then don’t worry because you can improvise your traditional terracotta pots by painting them. This article will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to prepare terracotta pots for painting?

How to Prepare Terracotta Pots for Painting? terracotta pots, paint a terracotta pot

Painting is a fun, affordable activity that helps you to personalize your space. It can give a vibrant look to your old and boring pots. You can have a beautiful outlook of your plants by using your creativity simply by mixing and matching colors and styles. Moreover, painted pots make amazing personalized gift items.

Why Terracotta Pots?

The terracotta pots are the choice of enthusiastic gardeners due to their ease of use and the benefits they provide to the plants. Terracotta is the most readily available material for pots. Moreover, the earthy color terracotta pots are the best choice and feasible to paint. You should know some things before you prepare your terracotta pots for painting.

terracotta pots
  • Porous in Nature:

The reason for considering it as the right choice for the plants is that they have a porous surface that allows the quick flow of water. Moreover, the material is well aerating, allowing smooth airflow, which is very important for the growth of plants. If you have a habit of overwatering your plants, then terracotta is a perfect choice as it doesn’t retain excess water and keeps the soil well. So they are ideal for growing your garden healthy.

CAUTION!!! Paint can make terracotta pots less porous. So water the plant while considering this point.

  • Inexpensive:

These pots are cheap and very inexpensive. That’s why these pots are the choice of many gardeners. Although painted pots are also available in the market, painting raw terracotta pots is cost-effective.

  • Drainage System:

Almost all the terracotta pots have a drainage hole at the bottom. This hole helps to improve the drainage of water. The excessive water in the soil removes through the drainage hole, saving plants from overwatering.

  • Brittle

The terracotta pots should be handled with care. They can break or crack very easily. They can be used for indoor and outdoor planting but always handle them with care.

terracotta pots for indoor plants

Related Article: 6 Amazing Benefits of Terracotta Pots

Related Article: 10 Best Indoor Terracotta Pots for Your Plants

Prepare Terracotta Pots for Painting:

Let’s start the journey and prepare terracotta pots for painting: Step-By-Step!

Material Needed

Before painting, gather all the necessary items that will be required during the process. The most basic materials are mentioned h. Thethe rest you can add according to your design.

  • New or used terracotta pots
  • Different brushes
  • Acrylic paints
  • Newspaper
  • Primer
  • Decorating material (optional)
  • Spray/paint sealer
  • Palette
  • Water

1. Set Up Your Workspace:

First of all, set up a workspace, especially for painting. Because it can be a messy process, you do not want your pretty center table or tiles to get stained with paint. You can cover the surface with old newspapers or cardboard. Also, keep a container with water for cleaning brushes, and cloth for cleaning your messy hands or wet brushes.

Furthermore, place a paint mixing palette to take out only the required quantity of paint. Using a palette makes your painting feasible if you use more than one color to paint your pot.

set up for painting

2. Clean the Terracotta Pots

It doesn’t matter if you are using a brand new terracotta pot for succulent plants or an old pot that you used before; you have to:

  • Clean the terracotta pots and clear all the dust on it
  • Apply a cleaner to your pot
  • Let the pot dry before painting anything

Removing the dust and dirt particles will provide a better surface for the paint to adhere to. The additional cleaner will give smoothness to the surface. It is necessary to dry the pot completely before applying paint.

clean the terracotta pot in water, prepare terracotta pot

3. Prime or Seal the Terracotta Pot

Before you prepare your terracotta pots for painting, you can seal the pot with the help of a clay pot sealer so the paint lasts longer. However, this is an optional step, and you can also directly paint.

CAUTION!!! Waterproofing clay pots affect their breathability. That means the soil will retain moisture much longer than it would in an untreated pot. If you’re used to growing plants in plain terracotta pots, ensure that you don’t overwater your plants.

Rather than sealing them before painting, you could use a paint primer for terracotta pots. Primer is also not compulsory, but it provides smooth coverage. Moreover, without primer, you may have to use more coats of paint on the earthy color of terracotta to get the desired color.

Tip!!! Water-based primers won’t completely seal the pot, allowing it to breathe better than it can when completely sealed.

If you are planning to put sealer or primer before adding paint, let the pot dry after adding primer. The wet surface is incompatible with the paints, and the paints will not adhere to the surface. On the other hand, the dry pot provides perfect adhesion.

apply sealer on terracotta pot. apply primer on terracotta pot,
How to Prepare Terracotta Pots for Painting? terracotta pots, paint a terracotta pot

4. Paint the Pots

Now, the favorite step is here!

You have successfully dried your pots, and now they are ready to get painted. It is time to get your wish list collection painted on the pots in different colors. You can use vibrant and decent colors to turn a simple-looking pot into a masterpiece. You can use your skills, designs, and theme to paint the pots accordingly.

If you are using more than one coat or layer of paint, it is indicated to let the first coat dry. Don’t apply the second coat without the first coat being dry; this act will damage the previous design too. It requires patience to paint your terracotta pots, but the result is worth waiting for.

Use a foam sponge brush to paint the base coat. Afterward, you can use brushes of different sizes to draw designs. Moreover, there are many design tools that you can use to paint smartly. For applying the design, you can use leaves, flowers, stamps, or other creative objects to give an amazing look. A painter’s tape helps paint straightway. Use some hacks and let your garden give an eye-catching view.

5. Sealing the Pots

Now the painting of your pot is done. After several hours, the pot will be completely dry. It is time to give your terracotta pot some final look. The type of paint and the amount of coats determines the time to dry the paint. It depends upon the weather condition too. Now that your pot is dry, you can apply a sealant to seal the paint.

Sealing the pot saves it from the harsh gardening conditions and gives it a long life to your pot. There are different stuff that can be used for sealing. You can spray on-paint sealer, lacquer, clear acrylic sealer, or plastic sealer. The use of a spray sealer is preferable to others.

It is your choice to use either matte or high-glazed products. It depends on the look you want to achieve, you can use both products. Patience is the key to getting the required result. Apply two to three coats, depending on the sealant you are using. Each coat should be applied after the previously applied coat has dried completely.

Here are a few options of sealants that can be used for terracotta pots

Suitable Paint for Terracotta Pots

Before painting, you must know which paint is suitable for terracotta pots. There are many options like acrylic paints, chalk paints, latex, spray paints, etc.

paints for terracotta pot, acrylic paint
  • Acrylic Paints:

The terracotta pots have a very porous surface; therefore, a careful and skillful selection and types of colors should be used. Typically, acrylic paints are the most common choice while painting terracotta pots. With acrylics, you can enjoy long-lasting bright, and vibrant colors without applying too many layers to the pot. The reason for choosing acrylics is that they are thick, so a small amount of color is enough to give a fine touch to your terracotta pots.

Acrylic paints are available in various finishes, e.g., matte, metallic, pastel, and glittery colors, so you have plenty of design selection while using acrylics. These colors are inexpensive and readily available in the market in your nearby shops. The acrylic paints have high color diversity, so you can easily paint your terracotta with the assembling colors.

  • Latex Paints:

Another painting option is latex paint. Latex paints are durable, and they can withstand weather conditions easily. These paints are useful for both indoor and outdoor terracotta pot painting. These colors are also available in various colors, and you can give a vibrant touch to your garden with them. Latex paints are also budget-friendly, so you don’t have to break your saving box to get your favorite garden pot.

  • Spray Paints:

Spray paint is also suitable for terracotta pots. If you want to apply a single layer without much designing, you can simply spray the paint, and your pot is ready.

Related Article: How to Paint Terra Cotta Pots Using Spray Paints?

  • Chalk Paints:

Chalk paints are ultra matte acrylic paints. They have very good coverage, and you can get the whole pot covered in just 2 coats. Whereas acrylic paints need 3-4 coats to get full coverage. Moreover, if you don’t like glaze, then chalk paints give a perfect matte look to pots.

spray paint terracotta pot, spray paint

Suitable Brushes

The choice of brushes depends on the design you want to paint on your terracotta pot. There are different kinds of brushes on the market, each with different specifications. If you want coverage, grab a foam sponge or wide bristled brush. But if you require to make a complicated or intricate design, a thin bristled brush is helpful.

You can also make a colorful combination on your terracotta pot by grabbing more than one brush. Besides using paint brushes, you can also use a painting roller to paint the terracotta pots. The drawback of choosing a painting roller is that it creates messy paint spills. That would be tough for you to manage.

paint brushes, paint terracotta pot


Terracotta pots are the home to your plants, and you can decorate them with cost-effective, diverse ideas. You can apply your fantastic ideas to paint your pot and beautify your space.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I paint straight onto terracotta pots?

You can prime or seal the terracotta pots before applying the layer of paint. However, you can also directly apply the paint without the base coat. But in that case, 4-5 coats of paint will be applied to have a smooth paint coverage.

  1. Is acrylic paint waterproof?

Applying acrylic paint provides slight water resistance, but you can’t consider it a waterproof coat. If you want to make your terracotta pot water resistant, you can seal the pot before painting. Moreover, a coat of sealant after finishing the painting also helps in protecting your paint.

  1. Why do I need to soak terracotta pots before using them?

Terracotta is a porous material, and it absorbs water quickly. When you soak the pot in water before using them, it stops the pot from draining all the water from the plant. However, the pot remains porous enough to drain excess water from the plant.

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