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How to Upcycle Sun-Faded Terracotta

It seemed like just yesterday when I was purchasing my collection of terracotta. I got the exact sizes I needed for my garden and my desired array of perennials. Alas, just one year later, and my terracotta had faded to a dull gray color. 

If this has happened to you—you are not alone! Faded pots make your garden look a bit lackluster, but the good news is—we have a cure! With a surface-appropriate paint, you can freshen up your pots and planters to look good as new (or even more aesthetic than before.)

Also, why invest in new terracotta when so many people are ready to donate or sell unused pots? Stop by Goodwill or check out Facebook marketplace for an even better deal. If you find the right sizes, just a little paint will more than do the trick. 

Once you’re ready to get started, take a trip to your local hardware store. 

What You’ll Need

  • terracotta pots 
  • spray paint + primer 
  • a cleaning rag
  • a tarp or other surface to paint on 

Picking the Right Color 

When it comes to picking the right color for your pots, think about your garden, home, or patio space and what themes you want to create. While the majority of plants and vegetation give off green hues, is there another color that you want to see represented in your space? 

I landed on a pale yellow color because it is one of my favorite shades. Seeing it in my garden reminds me of the color of morning light and brings me joy.

You can also mix and match—there are no rules! Maybe you want to get funky and work in several metallic shades in your garden. Maybe you want to work in several shades of blue. 

No matter what combination you choose, remember, you can always repaint them! That’s the beauty of this method. If you can pickup a can of spray paint, you can reinvent your garden aesthetic. 

How to Paint Terracotta Pots

1. Clean your surface. You’ll want to wipe down the terracotta pot with a damp rag. You can add a bit of dish soap to make sure it’s thoroughly cleaned. 

2. Setup a paint-safe zone. You can lay down a tarp or an old cardboard box. (We strongly suggest painting outside and wearing a mask, as the fumes are not good to breathe in.) 

3. Spray away! Hold your can about 12 inches away from the pot and work around the outside of the pot. Allow to dry. 

4. Continue to apply coats until the paint appears even. 

Tips for Painting Terracotta 

Will the paint affect my garden’s performance or quality? 

Great question! We suggested painting around the outside to ensure that there is no interaction between the dried paint and your soil and future harvest.  

Can I use any other types of paints? 

Yes! Although we suggested using spray paint, many people use acryllic paint and a paintbrush to paint their terracotta. This method also allows for further customization and design, and is a great method if you have acryllic paint on hand. However, it is far more time-consuming. 

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