Decorating planters

by Rhiannon James

Terracotta pots are a good, inexpensive option for the garden but sometimes they can feel just a little bit dull. You can jazz them up with a coat of paint but if you want to create something really unique, why not have a crack at a collage. There’s no shortage of inspiration around: artists from Picasso to Grayson Perry have got busy with bits of paper, while mixing prints is a fashion favourite this season. So find the scissors and glue and get started on a mash-up masterpiece!

Things you’ll need

1. A terracotta pot

2. A selection of printed pictures or patterns – try using wrapping paper; pages from catalogues or magazines; wallpaper; colour photographs or seed packets

3. PVA glue

4. Acrylic paint

5. Waterproof sealant – we used polyurethane varnish

6. Paint brushes

7. Sandpaper


1. Make sure your pot is clean and then remove any bumps in the terracotta with sandpaper to create a smooth surface.

2. Seal your pot, inside and out, with PVA glue but leave any areas that you want to paint (with acrylic) bare. Leave the glue to dry. Then brush on the acrylic in the areas you’ve chosen. If you want to create a distressed look, you can gently wipe off some of the paint with a tissue before it dries – different effects can be created depending on how wet the paint is.

3. Assemble the collection of pictures you’re using to decorate the pot. Cut them into different shapes and sizes to add some extra interest to the design. Then, lay all the pieces out on a table and move them around until you find an arrangement that works.

4. Then you can start adding the pictures to your pot – it’s easiest to start from the bottom and work up. Take each piece, spread glue on its back and then press it on to the pot. There’s no need to wait for the glue to dry before you add the next piece, and in fact, it’s easier to reposition groups of pictures while the glue’s still wet.

5. When you’ve finished covering the pot, brush diluted PVA (four parts glue to one part water) over the collage and leave it to dry (it will dry clear).

6. Once the glue has dried, paint the outside of the pot with a coat of clear varnish. If the pot is going outdoors, it’s important to cover the base as well as the sides.

7. Plant up the pot and you’re done!


Leave a Reply