Ombre Terra Cotta Pots

I was digging through my old flower pots looking for something to plant some seedlings I had been growing in, and also looking for a new project, when I stumbled onto some small terra cotta pots.  I decided to spray paint them some bright colors, but I didn't know how to make them special or unique.  I decided to try an ombre effect with the spray paint. Like most of my projects, I had no idea how it would turn out.

I started by placing my pot inside a cardboard box. I sprayed one with a base color of bright purple and the other with a base color of orange (almost the same color as the terra cotta, but a bit brighter). I gave them each their own box since I was spraying them such different colors.

After a couple light coats with the pots turned over, I flipped them and painted the rim and just around the top of edge of the container.  I knew that whatever I used them for, I probably wouldn't need the bottom inside to be well coated, so I focused on the top and rim of the pots.

I let that dry for about an hour before I flipped it back over and sprayed the very bottom with a coordinating color.  For the orange pot, I sprayed red onto the bottom.

Then I carefully sprayed the bottom edge of the pot, but turning the box and focusing my spray right at the bottom of the pot and making light passes.  The lip of the top edge of the pot got a little red on it, but when you turn it rightside up, it just looks like a shadow and not like a mistake.

On the purple pot, I sprayed some teal paint, but the spray paint had a different kind of nozzle and I had to focus my paint on the bottom surface of the pot as it sprayed too wide of a beam to spray horizontally along the sides of the bottom, but it still turned out ok in the end (notice this pot got a little teal on the rim too).

Both pots ended up with two distinct colors.  I was so happy my little experiment worked out!  I put some glass beads into both pots and tried them out as pen cups, but I might have something else in store for them in the future.  They turned out really cute and were very easy to make--the toughest part was waiting between coats.


  1. These are lovely painted pots. I've painted terracotta pots similarly but after a season of watering and sun exposure the paint starts to crack and flake off due to the porous terracotta surface. The only way around this eventual undesirable result is to first paint the pots with primer. Have you experienced flaking and cracking?

    1. I didn't end up using these for plants (I liked them so much I ended up putting them in my office with pens), but I have found that the paint lasts a bit longer when you paint the inside of the pot too.

  2. Can I ask how you got the white lines in the paint?

    1. That's just a reflection from the table. There are no white lines in the finished paint.


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