Budget project · DIY · Home decor · Plants

Making a Vintage French Flowerpot and Aging a Terra Cotta Pot with Paint


I love plants. I love house plants. The way they bring life into a room, a pop of color to a neutral palette, the warmth greenery brings to austere modern decor makes my heart smile. I just have an issue keeping them alive. Correction, had an issue. Over the past year I have really worked on turning my black thumb green, with moderate success. I’ve managed to keep a bromliad alive for a year, as well as grow 2 pothos clippings into their own plants. The pothos are very special because they started from a clipping from my mother’s plant, whose plant started from a clipping from her mother’s plant. Of course, hers is big, bushy and beautiful while mine is small and scrawny, but it’s growing! IT’S ALIVE!

And so I decided to expand my plant collection. My goal is to eventually have a Palm Spring-esque jungle in my apartment. 🙂 So I have a couple of small plants I recently purchased, but I wasn’t very pleased with the selection of flower pot options available within my budget. Oh, there are some very cute pots available, but for much more than I was willing to spend on something I was going to put dirt in. So I decided to make my own.



  • Terra Cotta pot
  • White Acrylic Paint
  • Graphic
  • Mod Podge
  • Sealer

First, I wanted to age my new terra cotta pot. I love the patina age gives to these pots, but I don’t love waiting for it to develop on its own over time, nor do I love the price tag on these age spots, so I decided to try to mimic the look with paint and I am super pleased with how it came out.

I began by dry brushing the white acrylic paint on to the pot. To dry brush, I poured a small amount of paint onto some cardboard. Then, add a very small amount of paint onto a dry brush. I then dabbed or lightly pounced the brush on to a clean piece of cardboard (or you can use a paper towel, rag, whatever) before brushing the paint onto the pot. I tried to keep the paint placement completely random, moving my brush up, down, sideways. After applying paint to a section I use the rag to wipe off even more paint from the pot, as well as blend the edges and smear the paint even more.


I then repeat, repeat, repeat, until I’m happy with the amount of coverage and layers of paint.


The great thing about acrylic paint is that it dries quickly. I came back to my flower pot about 30 minutes later and it was completely dry to the touch, so it was ready for the next step. I found this wonderful French advertisment/label on The Graphics Fairy (Link) She even has an option that is already flipped for you. (If you use another graphic, it is important to remember to flip the image so that when it transfers, any words will end up facing the right way.) I double-checked the fit of the graphic on my flower pot, then cut it out, keeping as close to the edge of the graphic as possible.


Next I applied Mod Podge to the front of the graphic, making sure to completely cover the picture, and stuck the graphic face side down onto the flower pot.


In my experience, I have found Mod Podge to not be a forgiving medium, so you will want to go slow at this point and make sure the spot you are sticking the graphic is right where you want it. Then press it firmly but carefully, moving from the inside out, stroking out any air bubbles.

And now we wait. And wait. And wait some more. Is it killing you yet? It was me! I really wanted to see how my project came out! But it’s best to really wait until the Mod Podge is completely dry. I usually wait overnight. I have had experiences with rushing this step, and it is very disappointing. There might have been tears.

Flash forward to the next day, Mod Podge completely dry, bowlof water at your side. Now, there are a couple different ways people do this, but I’ll explain the process that I found works best for me and the way I’ve always done transfers. Dip two fingers into the bowl and spread the water on the paper of the graphic. Work in small sections, and don’t get the paper completely soaked, soaking it will increase your chance of ripping the picture. After wetting a small section, use firm- not hard- pressure in a circular motion with your fingertips and rub the wetted paper.


Little rolls of paper will start rolling off your image, exposing the graphic underneath. If you are nervous or unsure about the amount of pressure to use, start lightly and work your way up to more firm pressure until you find your sweet spot. Do this across your entire image. Do not rush this step. It took me about a half hour to completely uncover the image.


Next, set it aside and let the image dry. This should happen fairly quickly. When you return, look over your image for any spots you might have missed. If there is any, repeat previous step. Most likely you will see little fuzzies on the black part of your image, but don’t worry about those. Wha?!? Yep, when you seal your project, those little fuzzies disappear and don’t come back! Now, what to do if you did accidentally rip the paper? Don’t despair! You have a couple options at this point. Don’t forget, we have been mimicking and aged pot. Some of the label rubbing off or wearing away with time would be natural. Maybe it gives it a little more authenticity. But if you don’t want the tear, grab a thin brush and some black paint and go over the tear until it’s completely covered, matching the image before the hole. Magic!

And that’s it! I sprayed my pot with acrylic sealer and once dry, stuck my plant in. I’m estatic with how it came out! Note: Keep in mind, I made this container with a houseplant in mind, and only plan on having it indoors. If you are wanting to make an outdoor planter you might want to look into an outdoor sealer. But maybe not. I’m a big fan of using what’s available and keeping my projects relatively inexpensive. Now, I do know that some projects require very precise tools and ingredients, but for this, I say use what you’ve got. I have a planter painted with acrylic on my porch that I painted 3 years ago and it’s holding up wonderfully.

And that’s it for my aged planter project. Stay tuned for more projects, I’m especially excited to show everyone something I’ve been working on. Coming soon!



P.S. Here are the fun parties I link to!