Create magic with paints on ordinary pots

Sunset  – November 8, 2004

Paint in cheerful colors can transform a humble clay pot into a work of art. You don’t need artistic talent to create simple designs. Here’s how to make the blue-and-white one pictured at left.

DESIGN: Jennifer Cobble Willhoite

TIME: 20 to 30 minutes, plus drying time

COST: $20 for several pots, including paint and materials. Container prices vary widely, depending on size.


• Clear acrylic sealer

• One 8-inch terra-cotta pot

• White, cobalt blue, and yellow acrylic paints

• One 1-inch-wide paintbrush

• One high-quality fine-tipped paintbrush



1. Spray the inside of the pot with two to three coats of clear acrylic sealer to prevent water from seeping through the pot. Allow sealer to dry, about 30 minutes for each coat.

2. Hold the pot upside down over your hand with your fingers gripping the small hole on the bottom. Paint the entire pot with two thin coats of white paint; the paint dries quickly, so there’s little or no drying time needed between applications.

3. Using the fine-tipped brush, paint blue stripes horizontally around the pot’s rim. Next, paint vertical stripes in varying thicknesses (A).

4. Turn the pot sideways and paint large S’s around the body of the pot (B).

5. To make the small flowers, hold the pot upside down;  paint an X for each flower . Then paint a plus sign on top of the X. Once the paint is dry, dab a small dot of yellow paint in the center.

6. Allow the pot to dry 20 to 30 minutes (or until dry to the touch), then spray the outside with two to three coats of acrylic sealer (allow to dry between sprays).

To create other designs: Paint half circles, thin and narrow stripes, and small and large dots.

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