Easy Ways to Age Terra Cotta Pots and Style Them

Wendy McMonigle in her she shed
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Easy ways to age terra cotta pots and style them for your home and garden. Stack them in the shed, or decorate your mantel with them.

You have probably noticed by now that I like to collect things. OK, that might be an understatement. My collection of vintage and antique objects that I have found at garage sales and estate sales is constantly growing and I love to find new ways to use my treasures.

One collection that I use frequently is my terra cotta pots. I love how versatile they are. They are featured in many of the DIY projects I share here on my blog, and I use them in several ways around my home and garden. They are also inexpensive and can be easily transformed to take on different looks and functions.

garden bench covered with terra cotta pots
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What is the Difference Between Terra Cotta Pots and Clay Pots?

The terms clay pots and terra cotta pots are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference if you want to get technical. Clay is the raw material used to make terra cotta pots, but certain characteristics make this material unique.

Terra cotta pots are made from earthenware clay which gives it that iconic brown-orange color, which is also called terra cotta. It is fired at a low temperature and left unglazed to provide it with the porous texture it is known for. For more details, see this article from eHow, which gives an excellent, detailed explanation.

While I love the look and texture of terra cotta, clay pots can also be used interchangeably in many of these uses.

Different Ways to Age Terra Cotta Pots

I have been after the perfect way to age terra cotta posts for some time now, and I am not sure I have found the perfect answer yet, but I have seen some that I like.

Let me list the ways I know you can age terra cotta pots.

  1. Paint
  2. Lime Solution
  3. Yogurt
  4. Buttermilk and moss
  5. Salt Soak
  6. Clay Soil
  7. Fertilizer

Aging Terra Cotta Pots with Yogurt

I have not tried these all, but I will share three methods I have tried myself.

One of the most natural-looking patinas can be achieved by simply slathering plain yogurt on a new pot. Yogurt applied to dry pots yields more dramatic results. For a subtler look, first, soak pots in water for 15 minutes. All you need to age your terra-cotta pots this way is plain yogurt and a paintbrush. Stir the yogurt and dip your brush into it, brushing to coat the surface of the pot, covering it completely. Then set your pots aside in a shaded place. I find it helps to occasionally spray the jars with a mist of water to keep them damp. Leave the pots in a cool, shady spot until they achieve the desired look for at least one month.

How to Age Terra Cotta Pots with yogurt
How to Age Terra Cotta Pots and Style Them
How to Age Terra Cotta Pots with yogurt
How to Age Terra Cotta Pots and Style Them
How to Age Terra Cotta Pots and  Style Them
How to Age Terra Cotta Pots and Style Them

Aging Terra Cotta Pots with Salt

This method is probably one of the quickest and easiest ways to age terra cotta pots, but it does take quite a bit of salt.

Secondly, I would not suggest planting in these pots as the salt is not good for the plants, just use them for decoration.

The first thing you need to do is fill a bucket that’s larger than your pot with hot water. Pour salt until there are no more crystals that will dissolve in it; the solution should be fully saturated. Mix really well and then set your clay vessel into the bucket. Let the pot sit in the bath for as long as necessary, usually about 3-4 hours but sometimes overnight depending upon how large your pot is.

Aging Terra Cotta Pots with Salt
Aging Terra Cotta Pots with Salt
Aging Terra Cotta Pots with Salt
Aging Terra Cotta Pots with Salt
aged terra cotta pots

Aging Terra Cotta Pots with Fertilizer

You can also age terra cotta pots with fertilizer to give them an aged look. This process will not damage the plants, so you can use them to plant in. You need to dissolve the fertilizer in warm water, you will want to use a very heavy dose of fertilizer for this process. I used 1/2 of the miracle grow bag for one pot to soak. I mixed the solution in a bucket, placed the pot in another bucket, and then submerge the pot for a few days.

Aging Terra Cotta Pots with Fertilizer
How to Age Terra Cotta Pots with Fertilizer
Aging Terra Cotta Pots with Fertilizer
How to Age Terra Cotta Pots with Fertilizer

From the three ways I tried to age my pots, I think the fertilizer is the fastest and the easiest way so far. The pot below sat in the fertilizer for about 48 hours. I also like the fact that the fertilizer still allows you to plant in the pot.

SHOP THE SUPPLIES YOU NEED TO MAKE AGED TERRA COTTA POTS

Other Ways to Age Terra Cotta Pots

You can check out a few of these other posts I found on some of the other ways to age terra cotta pots.

My friends Ann and Anna @simplytwomoms have aged their pots using paint, click here to see their post

Patti from Hearth and Vine has also tried some creative ways to age her pots here

Natalie from My Vintage Porch used the LIme process to age her pots, they are beautiful too!

I’d I love to use terra cotta pots around my home and garden, I wasn’t kidding. They are everywhere! Here, I will share some of my favorite and most unique uses.

No matter which way you decide to age your terra cotta pots, I am sure you will love them and enjoy them for years.

Let’s Style These Beautiful Terra Cotta Pots Now

table decor with terra cotta pots

First on the list, is using flower pots for a beautiful outdoor dining table. I love the natural, rustic feeling they bring, especially paired with the bright blue and white pattern in this tablescape. blue and white. I also just happen to have these fabulous dishes that are terra cotta on the back and blue and white on the top. You can see how the two colors and patterns make for a beautiful table.

Create a cake stand

cake stand made from terra cotta pots

A unique way to use terra cotta pots that you may not have seen before is to create a cake stand. Start by placing a pot upside down for the base. Then, place a clean plant saucer or drip tray on top as the platform. Secure with glue and you are ready to serve!

Grow seedlings

supplies needed to plant seedlings for a cut flower garden

A classic use for terra cotta pots is to use them for growing seedlings, so I couldn’t leave this one out! I always have a collection of pots under my potting bench, in my She Shed, and in my garden. Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post about preparing to plant a cut flower garden where I used pots to start seedlings. They also work great for growing herbs and succulents.

Christmas gifts

planted paperwhites for christmas gifts

Every year I plant up paperwhites in terra cotta aged pots and give them as Christmas gifts. They were so easy to make; just plant your paperwhite bulbs, tie a ribbon around the top, and voila – instant Christmas gift! Who wouldn’t love to receive this during the holidays? You just need to remember to order your bulbs early as they take about 6weeks to grow large enough to give as gifts.

Make French Pots

DIY French botanical pots

I also love to transform pots to give them a completely new look, like these pretty French botanical inspired pots. They are super fun and easy to make. First, paint the pot with white acrylic paint. When dry, rub on French decals, then use dirt to antique them.

You can also make beautiful botanical books to go along with the pots. See my step-by-step instructions on the blog.

Garden décor

decorative garden wall made from stacked terra cotta pots

You can also use pots in the garden for more than just growing! There are so many ways to use them to add fun decoration to your outdoor space as well. This decorative wall of stacked terra cotta pots makes an interesting backdrop amongst the greenery and colorful blooms at this nursery.

Amazing Terra Cotta Pots

terra cotta pot decorative storage

Hopefully, now you can see why I love terra cotta pots so much! Their versatility allows for many amazing uses. The decorative and functional possibilities really are endless.

What are your favorite creative ways to use terra cotta pots? I would love to hear from you.

Happy Fall
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9 Comments

  1. Great tips! Thanks for sharing on Crafty Creators!

  2. Meagan says:

    So glad you shared with us, all the aging methods you have used on terra Cotta pots. They all look very fun to try.

  3. Susan says:

    Love all of these ideas Wendy! The cake stand idea is fabulous! So creative and would look great on any table! Susan

  4. Love the paperwhites planted for Christmas gifting. The Tartan plaid ribbon is the perfect touch.

  5. Tammy says:

    I am like you, Wendy. I love Terracotta Pots. There is just something about them and so much to do with them too. My favorite way to age is the yogurt method. Whenever I have some leftover plain yogurt, I use it on my Terracotta Pots. Love the patina.

    • wendy says:

      Thank you Tammy, I had really good luck with a few using the yogurt and then several that did not work at all, do you have any tricks to share?
      Thanks for stopping by to visit.

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