How to Paint & Polish Pottery

How to Paint & Polish Pottery thumbnail
Paint and polish your pottery to use as decorations, planters or gifts.

Turn the ordinary, inexpensive terra-cotta clay pots you grow your houseplants in into original works of art with a little paint. These pots come in tiny to extra-large sizes and you can buy them at home improvement, craft and paint stores as well as through online retailers. Use your newly painted pots as decorations around the house or give them away as personalized gifts. Get the whole family involved--even young children can paint pots if they can hold a paintbrush. After painting, polish your pottery for that extra touch and you'll have custom pottery that lasts a long time.

Things You'll Need

  • Terra-cotta clay pots in different sizes
  • Baking soda
  • Warm water
  • Clean cloth
  • Old newspaper
  • Clear, water-based paint sealer
  • Water-based, craft acrylic paint
  • Foam paintbrushes
  • Small art paintbrush (optional)
  • Small clean sponges (optional)
  • Soft cloth
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Instructions

    • 1

      Clean your terra-cotta clay pot, if necessary, using a clean cloth, baking soda and warm water. Rinse well and allow the pot to dry completely.

    • 2

      Spread old newspaper across the painting surface.

    • 3

      Apply a clear, water-based paint sealer, using a foam paintbrush, to the inside of your clay pot. This polyurethane paint sealer seals the inside of the porous clay, whether you use the pot for plants or as decoration.

    • 4

      Dip a sponge or a foam paintbrush into water-based acrylic paint in your choice of color. Water-based acrylics dry quickly and cover clay pots well. Let the paint dry, then apply a second coat to the pot. Leave the pot to dry for several hours or overnight.

    • 5

      Paint designs or patterns on top your newly painted pot, if desired. You can paint random designs or images or something specific, such as flowers or fruit, using a small art paintbrush. For example, paint three pots of the same size in a bright color to make a set, then paint herbs or herb names for each pot for your kitchen windowsill. Experiment with different color combinations, depending on your intentions for the pot or the colors of the room.

    • 6

      Use a permanent marker to add detail on top of your painted pot. You can write a poem or a saying on your pot, for instance. Make certain the acrylic paint dries completely before using the permanent marker or the ink will bleed.

    • 7

      Polish your newly painted pot by spraying on a clear, water-based paint sealer to the surface. Use two to three coats of sealer to add shine to your pottery. Sealer also keeps your paint and designs protected. Keep your pots looking shiny and new by buffing them when needed, using a dry, soft cloth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid painting the pot green, if you plan to use your clay pot for plants. The green may clash with the green of the plant.

  • Do not use soap or detergent when initially cleaning your clay pots. The clay will absorb the soap, which can affect your paint job and plants.

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References

Resources

  • Photo Credit Clay pots image by Charlene Bayerle from Fotolia.com

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