The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

Project: Painted Pots


I completed this project late summer but really, it’s a perfect winter project. These planting pots I painted for our local library as their houseplants were in dire need of repotting, but I imagine painting more pots for summer containers either to brighten up a shady spot or to add personality to a porch or deck. I have a good stash of what I call craft paints – the kind you can purchase at Michael’s or a similar store. They are basically an acrylic paint. There are many different economic brands and believe me they last for years. They also wash up with dish soap and water. I used paper plates as a palette (not the most earth friendly), but I didn’t want to mingle these paints with any of my watercolors. I also used old, inexpensive brushes (not my watercolor brushes!). You could also use different sized foam brushes depending on your design.

I came up with designs that would invoke images of the area in which we live: the river, the pebbly and rocky shores, the white pines, the beautiful sunsets. I then proceeded to transfer those ideas to four inexpensive terra cotta pots.

I like free form. No need for perfect stripes or lines. You could do the same. Just brush away. Maybe the brush strokes will remind you of a flower. Maybe you just want to capture the colors in your garden. Maybe you want to mimic your favorite glaze. Maybe you just want a bright blue pot, or a series of blue pots for a grouping of plants you have in mind. This is a relatively inexpensive way to achieve what you want. Ceramic pottery can be pricey. Once painted I like to add a coat of water-based polycrylic to protect the design.

I mixed up the library’s plants and attempted to match their personalities to the pot designs. To me, having a variety of different plants in one pot seemed more interesting. I also added some new plant cuttings I had started for them.

Imagine the possibilities in designing your own pot, and “potlings,” for your porch this season. Or maybe you have a favorite houseplant that needs a new pot – you could cater your creation to make a perfect fit. This project has the potential to brighten up a dull winter day and I hope you try it.


Author: Kathy Sturr

Cultivating art, growing soul, and creating plant-based food in the beautiful 1000 Islands, New York and Cedar Key, Old Florida.

6 thoughts on “Project: Painted Pots

  1. Kathy I love this. I hope to try this first on some small pots I have …have been thinking about some creative pursuits this winter…thx Kathy and Happy New Year!!

  2. You are so talented! I especially love the one with the fish.

  3. Fabulous Kathy! I love these for the vivid colors and designs. What fun! Happy New Year!! Carol

  4. These are completely charming! I need some colorful pots in my woodland garden, and you have inspired me!

  5. These are beautiful. I don't have the talent to produce anything this elaborate, but I might try solid colors with just a simple stripe. Thanks so much for the idea (and the instructions). -Jean

  6. Thank you! I do hope you try creating your own pots. I think once you get started you may surprise yourself. I would love to see all your creations!

Thank you for joining me in the making of my garden!

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