Grab some white paint and clay pots to give your terracotta flower pots an aged look in less than 10 minutes! This easy tutorial is a great way to transform new pots (or old pots) for a beautiful, distressed look using the white wash technique.
I completed this project on my front porch in a matter of minutes with just a little paint and a little water.
Aged Terracotta Pots
Follow these instructions for the outside of the pot in addition to the inside of the pot, just along the top part of the planter to ensure the look is consistent once you add dirt and plants.
Also be sure you complete the saucers at the same time so the entire pot has a uniform look!
This easy project can be completed with little pots, a bigger pot; it truly doesn't matter. You can certainly order clay pots online, but I find places like Home Depot or Lowes to be more reasonably priced.
I considered using a paint brush, but decided to just stick with a cloth (old sock) to avoid any brush strokes. These easy techniques will help you create a white washed terracotta pot for a new look in no time.
Easy Techniques / Steps for White Washing Terra Cotta Pots
Let's start with the easy step. But let's face it, it's all easy!
1. Dip the Cloth (I Used an Old Sock) in Water
Dip the sock in water (I used warm water from the tap, but I don't think this really matters) and squeeze out the excess water.
I got mine fairly wet, but not completely soaked. You could also use a wet paint brush if you'd rather, but I thought the sock would make this go faster. I was happy with the results, so I didn't even try the brush.
As I mentioned, I wanted to avoid any brush strokes so the sock was a win and in my opinion, the easiest way. There are different ways to get a similar finished product. Since this was my first time creating aged terra cotta pots, I chose the easy way.
There's nothing wrong with easy DIY projects!
2. Put a small amount of white paint on the cloth.
The next step was to get a little bit of paint on your wet cloth. Be sure to get the excess paint off of your cloth by wiping it on a wet paper towel.
Remember, you can always add more paint, but it is more challenging to remove once it's been applied. Terra cotta planters are porous material and soak up the whitewash mixture quickly.
Start wiping a small amount of the watered down paint on the pot with your wet cloth. Work in small sections. It will dry quickly, so work fast. Start with just a tiny bit of paint as you can always add more, but it's not easy to take off once it dries.
3. Wet cloth and wipe away excess paint.
I didn't want my pots very white, so I immediately wet a cloth and wiped away some of the paint to give it a "washed" look, not complete coverage. The distressed look was beautiful and FAST!
My process was to complete the saucer, then the inside lip of the pot, then I finished up with the outside of the terra cotta pots.
I truly don't think it matters because in the end you will have pretty "aged pots"!
How to Use White Washed Terracotta Pots
The best thing about these pots is they can be used indoors, for outdoor use, on your front porch...wherever!
Clay pots are good for live plants or faux plants!
The soil does seem to dry out more quickly than many other pots, so if you plan on using with real plants, be sure to water a bit more frequently. I've found they work great for succulents that do not require as much water.
If you want to add a bit more white, you can use the dry brushed technique. This is where you dip the tips of a dry paint brush in paint (in this case, white) then offload the excess paint. You then just give the pot highlights.
I give more detailed instructions on dry brushing in my tutorial to paint a frame on a mirror.
When the dry pots are ready for plants, then you get to have some fun deciding what you will want to put in them!
I added a stencil to my flower pots with no real additional cost as I already had the supplies.
Of course, I couldn't help myself from adding a little white washing effect to a wooden crate, see below!
The gray pot in the below picture was a project from a previous blog post of mine: Painting Candlesticks and Other Household Items. In it's previous life, it was green. If I am not loving something in my home, paint is usually part of the solution!
That's it! This is possibly one of the fastest and easiest projects I've completed in a while.
There are several ways to make terra-cotta pots look weathered including using a whitewashing technique, using fertilizer to accelerate the white aged look, rubbing yogurt on a new pot, rubbing moistened clay soil on the surface of a pot and letting it sit for a month or longer.
As a general rule, if you want full paint coverage on your terracotta pot, acrylic paint is best. If a full coverage is desired, a sealant will be needed for the clay pot. However if you desire an aged look, a whitewash solution can be created using acrylic paint, chalk paint, or even latex paint.
To use milk paint on clay pots, you will need to mix the milk paint as directed. Then apply green and/or white milk paint to achieve a weathered, aged pot look.
- Terracotta pot
- White paint (any type will do: acrylic, chalk paint, or latex paint)
- Cloth (old sock)
- Paint brush (optional)
- Dip the cloth (old sock) in water.
Squeeze out excess water. You do not want your cloth to be dripping wet, but mostly wet.
- Dip tip of wet cloth in white paint.
I used a gloved hand inside of my sock to make application of the whitewashing mixture easier.
- Offload excess paint onto wet paper towel.
Use a paper towel to wipe away any excess paint. Remember it's easy to add more paint, but due to the porous nature of clay pots, they dry quickly and it can be challenging to remove paint once applied.
- Wipe paint onto cloth in small sections.
As mentioned, work fast as it dries quickly.
- Immediately use wet cloth to wipe away any excess paint from pot.
You will instantly see a distressed, aged look with your clay pot.
Due to the porous nature of clay pots, they dry quickly so wipe away any excess paint on pots immediately after application if needed. Allow pots to dry (10 minutes) prior to planting live plants or adding faux plants.
Use stencils for a more personalized look or leave plain.