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How to Paint on Terra Cotta

By: Angie Holden
June 2, 2014

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How to Paint on Terra Cotta

Planting season is upon us and if you would like to add some flair to your outdoors be sure to grab some Patio Paint. Patio Paint outdoor makes it simple to learn how to paint terra cotta. Have you ever tried to paint a terra cotta pot only to have the paint absorb into the surface? No more! You can now paint, stencil, and decorate until you love your outdoor décor.

What exactly is Patio Paint?

Patio Paint is permanent, weather-resistant acrylic paint for outdoor decorating on concrete, wood, and terra cotta. Patio Paint is formulated for water resistance and excellent adhesion in changing temperatures.

So yes, it is formulated specifically for painting on terra cotta. Patio Paint goes on smooth and stays put even on the porous surface. The picture below is for illustration. The pot on the left has two coats of Patio Paint while the one on the right has one. Yep two coat coverage! (NOTE: That will vary depending on the color but it does cover very well.)

Now for a few more tips when painting terra cotta:

  • Apply when temperatures are between 45 and 85 degrees F.

  • Do not expose to moisture for 72 hours after painting (yes this means DO NOT PLANT for 72 hours after painting).

  • Paint terra cotta inside and out to gain the benefit of retained moisture in your pots. If you do not paint the inside and you place a plant in your pot, the water will seep through the pot and make your paint bubble up on the outside.

  • Do not use inside bird baths or fountains.

If you remember those tips, you should be ready to paint your own terra cotta pots for some gorgeous outdoor décor. Need some inspiration? Check out all of the things I was able to do with patio paint and some imagination.

You can use various items to create patterns on a painted terra cotta pot. The ones above use a toilet paper roll to create the pattern around the top. The ones below use a pencil eraser for a simple dotted effect.

Want more patterns and ideas? How about leaving some of the natural terra cotta effect and using the patio paint just as an accent?

The variety of colors available in Patio Paint also makes decorating outdoors so much fun.

So grab some Patio Paint at your store and get started on sprucing up your outdoor décor today. Learning how to paint terra cotta is not as hard as you thought it would be is it?

Be sure to visit The Country Chic Cottage  for more projects and to learn more about Angie Holden.


Hello pls can you tell me what is terra cotta pot? Is it plastic type or the one made with mud


March 11, 2015

It is the one made of "mud".


March 11, 2015

I've enjoyed painting clay pots with patio paints for a number of years. They hold up well, but you do need to make sure they aren't left with standing water in the saucer. I haven't seen any examples with reverse stamping on clay pots, which is my favorite way to paint them. I haven't painted pots in awhile, but I think I'm inspired to get the paints back out again.

Patricia D'Angelo

March 21, 2015

So I started painting terrra cotta last year, spray primer, spray paint, and rustoleum for projects have worked very well for me, but I guess I like to get a little more bang, or in this case, paint for my buck. Home depot is awesome for crafting too


March 24, 2015

Is patio paint safe to use on a baby's foot to make footprints on a pot?


April 20, 2015

I did some wonderful terra pots little girls, dogs & a bird bath, wish i could show u guys....great therapy lol

nancy velez

July 7, 2015

Patio paint is good paint but does not last through the weather. I suggest using a water resistant clear spray paint over it to protect from the weather. My flower pots that have just the patio paint are chipped and in desperate need of repainting, there ones a used the clear water resistant spray paint over look as good as the day I painted them.


November 2, 2016

If the pots are older what should they be clean before painting?


March 29, 2017

Were can get good deals on the clay pots


November 3, 2017

I have some older clay pots, what should I clean them with before painting them?


January 9, 2018

Hi Charlett – We recommend cleaning them thoroughly with TSP to make sure all dust, dirt, and grim are completely removed. A nice scrubby brush will help too!

DecoArt, Inc.

January 9, 2018

This is my first time so am confused as to what type of paint to use. For the stand up pots for porch (5) I am using Krylon color master and for the people (1) I am going to use acrylic. Do I need to use acrylic also for the pots?

barbara Sanchez

March 16, 2018

Barbara – DecoArt Patio Paint Outdoor works perfectly for painting terra cotta pots when the instructions are followed.

DecoArt, Inc.

March 21, 2018

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