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Aging Terracotta Pots

This terracotta flower pot looks like it’s been outside for ages, but it’s all smoke and mirrors!

When you look at the title of this post, I guess you could interpret it to mean that I’m talking about terracotta pots that have retired and may be nearing the end of their lives. But, don’t fret. This post is all about how to make new terracotta pots look old, so I’m going to teach you one method for aging your terracotta pots by using some simple acrylic paint, water and a natural sponge.

 Before I get into this easy tutorial, I want to share some thoughts I have on the subject of making new things look old. For some reason, I was reminded of the phrase “everything old is new again”, and it made me curious to find out where and why that phrase originated. More about that later. For now, let’s get started learning how to make something new look like it is old.

 I love using terracotta pots for planting, but I’m not one to just use them in their original state. I usually paint them or decoupage them or find some other way to change their appearance. One of my favorite ways to change them up is to make them look old and weathered with some white patina and some moss or algae. It takes them a long time to get that look, though, so we’re going to speed up the process (and by “speeding up”, I mean “faking it”).

Any excuse to add my photogenic dog, Hank, to my blog. Here, he just happens to be next to one of the completed pots.

This project is easy, and I’ve watched several methods of achieving the same effect. It only requires some basic materials, and it turns out looking great!

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Materials Needed:

6″ Terracotta Clay Pots

White Acrylic Paint

Spring Green Acrylic Paint

Paint Brushes (1 wet, 1 dry)

Rust-oleum Matte Clear Enamel

Water

Bowl

Supplies needed for this project (Rust-oleum clear enamel, not pictured)

Adding a Patina To Your Pot

In a small bowl, dilute some white paint with water. Stir it up until it has an even, milky consistency.

 Using a paint brush, paint the pot with the watered-down white paint until you have covered all of the outside and about ½ of the way down the inside. Make sure you cover all around the top edge. You do not need to be neat with this painting because you are just creating the white “dusty” looking patina. After the first coat dries, start adding uneven coats around the pot, using your dry brush to brush off any brush strokes that start to appear so that it looks natural. You can do this as much as you want, adding more of the whitewash. If you decide that you have too much in an area, use the wet sponge to blend the paint out so that it looks more natural.

Start by brushing the diluted white paint all over the outside of the pot and about half-way down the inside of the pot.

Create The “Moss”

In a small bowl, add some green acrylic paint (I use moss or spring green) and dilute it with water, just like you did in the previous step with the white paint. Get a clean, natural sponge completely wet, and wring out any excess water. Dab your sponge into the green paint mixture and then dab off on an old paper shopping bag or newspaper to take off the excess paint. Lightly blot the sponge along the base of the pot, below the outer rim and in other random spots on the pot. Brush off with the dry brush or use a wet sponge to adjust the color so that it looks more natural to you.

When using the diluted green paint, use a damp, but not wet, natural sponge and dab it under edges of the pot and in places near the bottom.

Seal the Paint

After the pot has completely dried, take your pot outside to seal the paint so that it won’t wash away if/when it gets wet. Place the pot on a protected surface and spray the entire pot (inside included) with the Rust-oleum Clear Matte Enamel, following directions on the can.

 I mentioned that I was going to come back to the phrase “everything old is new again” (or some version of that same phrase). I’m not trying to make this a history lesson, but I did find that it seems this famous quote originated from the 1700s author, Jonathon Swift.

 Some people interpret it to mean ‘you can’t do anything unique because It’s all been done before’. Others interpret it to mean ‘something that you just discovered and love has been around for ages’. Both are true. When I started writing this, I was just thinking about the fact that I’m sitting here trying to make a perfectly nice, brand new pot look old, which is a trend for so many things now.

 I love to go shopping in antique stores, however it’s rare to go into one and not find a few items that look like they have been around since the 1800’s, only to discover upon closer evaluation that they haven’t. Someone took a brand new piece of furniture, painted it and then sanded portions of the paint off to make it look old and worn. You can tell that’s exactly what happened when you open a drawer and see an Ikea sticker somewhere, right? Dead giveaway!  

 I’ve purposely given an aged look to various items in my own home because I like that look, but I’m really excited when I find an authentic 100 year old item that I love. But I can’t help imagining my dad’s reaction, if he were still around, if he saw me paying some decent money for an old, broken down wooden crate that has the Coca-Cola logo faded on the side. And he would be surprised to see me hunting down glassware made in the depression era. When I think about some of the things that were thrown out when we were cleaning out my grandma’s house when she died, years ago, I could cry. I was in my early 20’s and thought of antique stores as a bunch of “old, used stuff with no sentimental value”. So, there’s no telling what items I sifted through back then and didn’t keep.

But, as usual, I digress. I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial on aging terracotta pots with some simple paint and a sponge. It’s so easy and I love the way they turn out.

My mascot, Hank, is always helpful and usually right in the way.

Do you like to go antiquing? If so, what’s one item that you’ve been most excited about finding? I would love to hear what it is, so please leave a comment below and let me know what it is and if you know how old it is. Thanks so much for stopping by my website and reading my words!

 I hope you celebrate something fun this week!

Xoxo Teresa

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