How To: Decorate Garden Pots

Transform ordinary clay flower pots into decorative show pieces with paint, stencils, and a little DIY.

By Larry Bilotti | Updated May 18, 2020 4:17 PM

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Looking for something to do with all of those clay pots that have been collecting dust in your garage or garden shed?  Here’s a decorative approach—using paint, stencils and a little imagination—that will give them pride of place on your patio, deck or front porch this summer.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
Recycled clay pots
Paint brush or small roller
Painter’s tape (optional)

1. Prepping for the project. Clean clay pots with soap and water and let dry. To make certain that the paint you choose bonds to the surface and provides a superior end finish, consider RECLAIM, a paint that can be used on virtually any surface (resin, plastic, cement, tin and laminate among them) and requires no primer coat. A regular latex paint will not work and is not advised.

How to Decorate Garden Pots - Stencil


2. Painting a distressed finish. Choose two colors (here, Mocha and Versailles were used). Roll on one coat and let it dry about five minutes, then wipe off some of the paint with a damp rag to give it a distressed look. After the first coat is completely dry, repeat the process with the second color, rolling it on and wiping it back after a few minutes. The two-step process will allow the bottom coat to show through for a mottled, aged appearance.

3. Working with stencils. Determine the stencil design that you want to use for decoration. While there are many on the market, and you can always create your own, Caromal Colours, makers of RELCAIM, have Stick Back Stencils with an adhesive backing that allows you to position and secure the stencil without tape. Best of all, they can be cleaned with mild soapy water and reused again and again.

4. Painting the stencil. Fill a stencil brush with paint and dab it on. You do not have to fill in the entire area unless that is the look you are going for. For these pots, the objective was to create a soft, distressed quality consistent with the painted base coat. Have fun with it—perfection is not necessary or even desired.

5. The finishing touch. Even though RECLAIM has a built-in sealer, for outdoor use an additional topcoat/sealer to protect your beautiful decorative pots from weather and wear is recommended.

Want more How To? Browse all projects in 30 Days of Easy Summer DIY