Terra cotta flower pots are wonderful blank canvases to work on; you or your children can decorate them in various ways and use them in your own garden or fill them with a lovely plant and give them as a gift. This is an inexpensive summer craft that can keep little hands and minds occupied and give you a lasting reminder of your children at this age. A few options for decorating terra cotta pots include painting them with acrylic or blackboard paint or using glass, stones, shells or tiles to put mosaics on them.
This is a great summer craft for children because you can set them up at an outside table with brushes, paint, glue, stones, shells, tiles and pots and let them enjoy themselves without having to worry about messes on your floor or a major clean up. You should make sure the pots are clean and dry before starting and you will need to help your children with the grouting if they are doing a mosaic.
Acrylic paints work well on terra cotta pots but make sure that each layer of paint is completely dry before putting on another one. Some ideas for painting the pots include painting just the rim, leaving the pot plain or painting the pot and leaving the rim plain. If you’d like you pots to look like antiques, you can paint them one color and then wipe some of the paint off with a rag letting the terra cotta show through; you can also layer different colors of paint and wipe some of each color off as you layer them. You can also stencil designs on your pots or let your children do their handprints or use foam stamps to put designs on the pots; if they do handprints remember to date the pots.
Blackboard paint is a good option if you are making a container vegetable garden; you can write the name of each plant on the pot instead of using plant markers. You can also write messages on the blackboard painted pots and give them as gifts. If you choose to paint your pots put your plant into a plastic pot first and slip that into the terra cotta pot; this will increase the lifetime of the decorative paint job.
If you’d like to try your hand at creating a mosaic pot, the steps are fairly simple:
As with painted pots make sure the terra cotta pots are clean and dry before starting, you can start this project with either a plain or a painted pot.
Glue each piece of glass, stone, shell or tile into place on the pot and allow it a few hours to dry. Some design ideas for this project would be to tile only the rim or only the pot, leaving the rim plain or painted a complementary color. This is another project where your children can really put their imaginations to work in thinking up designs or pictures to make out of the tiles, glass or stones; waves, flowers, zigzags, polka dots, the possibilities are limited only by your child’s imagination.
When the glue is completely dry and you’re ready to grout, mix the grout according to the directions on the bag, the grout should have the consistency of fudge; if it is too thick add some water a little at a time, if it is too thin add some grout a little at a time until you get the right consistency. You can buy a 25-lb. bag of grout at a home supply store for $12.00 – $16.00 and do quite a few projects with one bag. After you’ve mixed the grout, give the children some rubber gloves and let them spread the grout all over their pot, making sure to get it into all the nooks and crannies, and allow the grout to dry for about 30 minutes.
Wipe the excess grout off with a slightly damp soft cloth, then wipe with a dry cloth and admire your work of art. As with the painted pot, it is best to put your plant into a plastic and then put the plastic pot into the terra cotta pot.
To ensure the long life of your decorated pots make sure to put them away for the winter, leaving them out in the cold can cause them to peel or crack. Taking good care of them will ensure you many years of enjoyment.