Have you ever wanted to make something look like it’s been around for ages, even though you just picked it up new from the store? I’ve been wanting to try to “age” terra cotta pots for quite some time. When I found lots of terra cotta pots at the 99cent store for a dollar each, I was so excited to try this out! The extra large ones that I have in the photo below are from Home Depot, but I’m pretty sure that I’m going to return those, because the ones at the .99 store were such a steal!
This is a super easy and fun process! I started by mixing Espoma organic garden lime in a paper bowl. I added just enough water to make it a “goopy” consistency that would allow me to still be able to wipe it on the pots and not be too runny. Note that the mixture will thicken a little over time too, as the pellets dissolve in the water. Throughout the process when this happened, I added a little more water…a tablespoon at a time, until I had the consistency that I desired again.
I used a cheap brush to brush the mixture onto each pot. The “chunkier” that I made the texture, the more rustic the pot looked in the end, in my opinion. It’s fun to see how each pot turns out very original. I added a thin layer of the lime to the inside as well, since I’m only planning to use these for faux plants.
After I had the mixture how I wanted it on each pot, I let each one dry. The mixture dries super fast! There were parts where the mixture was thicker and it did not dry as fast, but it ended up being dry enough for me to go to the next step.
I used a 150 grit sanding block to lightly sand the pots after they were mostly dry. I did not sand a few of the pots. I thought it would be neat if they were all different from each other. I wanted to see how they all turned out with trying different techniques. Just note that the more you sand and the thinner that the garden lime is on the pot, the more the terra cotta will show through. The sealer spray does take some of the garden lime look away, so I made sure not to sand the pots too much.
I then took them outside and sprayed them with Rustoleum matte sealer. This helps to keep the lime on the pot. I made sure to use a matte sealer so that I didn’t have any sort of shine added to the pot.
After the sealer dried, I used a little black and white craft paint to give them more character. I started by using antiquing wax and liming wax, but I realized that I could get the same look with black and white craft paint, and that it would be a lot more budget friendly that way.
I blotted the black paint on first with a lint free cloth. It’s ok if too much ended up in one area because I just sanded that area a little and it took away the “glob” of paint look. I tried to be careful not to get too much in one area. I mostly blotted the pain along the top and bottom ridges, and a small amount in the middle of the pot. There were a couple of pots that I “skimmed” the paint across the textured area to make that area darker.
After I had the black paint applied where I desired, I added some white paint with the same method. I then lightly sanded each one with my 150 grit sanding block again.
I absolutely love the way they turned out! I almost can’t believe the difference! The photo below shows the drastic difference of the “before and after”.
I sprayed one of the pots again with the sealer to see how it would look. You can probably tell which one I did that with below. The one on the top right, where the terra cotta is showing through more, was sprayed twice. I love how it looks too! The terra cotta shows through more on the ones that had less lime applied.
I will be using these just for display and faux plants. I’m not sure if this would be the best technique if the pots are being used for real plants. Maybe if the garden lime was spread on super thin, not throughout the whole pot, and the sealer was not applied, they could be used for real plants?
I love the variations of texture and appearance. The different shapes of the pots adds to the character of display.
Once I had the process going, it went very fast. Getting it all set up and trying to figure out what looked the best was the part that took the longest.
I can’t wait to display these around my home for Spring. They are perfect for faux plants but also for different kinds of storage like silverware or other small items.
Part of me wants to say that the ones with more texture are my favorite, but I really love them all and how they all look so different. I think the difference in appearance makes them look more authentic.
Is this a technique that you think you would try? I would love to see yours on Instagram @vintageporch, if you do. Now, I guess I’m ready for Spring, even though the seasons don’t change much here in Tucson.
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