With just a few simple art supplies, you can create charming hand-painted flower pots for your home or garden.
To see more on this style of painting, check out The Art of Stone Painting for a tutorial using the same art materials.
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After trying out some painted stones like the ones shown in The Art of Stone Painting tutorial, I thought I’d try a similar style of painting on clay flower pots since the method works on just about any surface.
Artist Sehnaz Bac, author of The Art of Stone Painting, has all sorts of design ideas to choose from. These videos show time lapses as she paints her famous decorative stones. You can see how the design starts with an outline and the background colours and then progresses as more intricate details are added.
How to Hand-Paint Flower Pots
I did this project with clay flower pots. Many primers or base coats work on a lot of surfaces, so you could paint wood, plastic, canvas, glass, or metal as well. Paint the world!
These are the art supplies I like to use.
- Acrylic Craft Paints
I like the all-purpose ones (wood, plastic, canvas, glass) intended for outdoor use.
- Uni-posca Paint Marker Pens
I love these pens. They apply nicely, the colours are lovely, and, they do not bleed when varnish or another protective surface is applied.
The ones I use are sold as ‘ultra fine’ but the tips are thicker than the ultra-fine Sharpies. I wish they were finer but the benefits far outweigh this one small complaint.
- Sharpie Pens – Ultra Fine Points
The set I linked to is a good price and offers a nice selection of colours. Be sure to get ultra fine for fine details. Also, test them out first. Some Sharpies bleed when top-coated in varnish or other similar products if they have not been left to cure for a long period of time (weeks).
- Pencil and eraser for sketching your design
- Craft Paint Brushes
Get various sizes. I use sizes 0 to 3 for fine details, and 12 or higher for covering larger surfaces (on small pots).
I find you do get what you pay for with brushes. I like to shop in-person and feel the bristles, to be sure I’ll like them. Also, with proper, immediate cleaning, they can last a good long time.
- Protective Product
You could use a spray varnish, polyurethane, or Outdoor Mod Podge. I use whatever I have on hand.
- Prime the areas you want to decorate, using either proper primer (for painting walls) or white acrylic craft paint, which is what I used here.
- You don’t have to prime the entire surface. If you are painting a flower, for example, you could just sketch the outline of the flower in pencil on the side of the pot, and then fill in that area with the paint or primer.
- Next, sketch out a basic plan for your ideas.
- This style of painting works in layers from back to front, so your sketch will guide you for adding the first layer of background colours.
- Start filling in the shapes you sketched with paint. Don’t worry if your edges are not precise. You can trace around everything with coloured pens to tidy it all up and give it a finished look.
- Be sure to let each paint colour dry thoroughly before applying paint, pen, or ink on top. This way you will not damage your art supplies. If you’ve ever tried using a Sharpie on not-thoroughly-cured craft paint, you know the problem. It ruins the pens and dampens your day.
- Alternate between paints, and fine pens, to get the look you want. There are also art inks in various colours.
- The Uni-posca Paint Marker Pens are my favourite. They go nicely on top of paint and do not bleed when sealant or varnish is applied later.
- If you don’t like something you’ve done, it is possible to paint over it and start again if your original paint is not too thick.
- When you are happy with your design, leave it to dry for a few days to be certain everything has cured. Wait a few weeks if you used Sharpies.
- Then, apply a spray varnish, polyurethane, or Outdoor Mod Podge to protect the surface.
- If the flower pot will never be getting wet or exposed to direct sunlight, you can leave it unprotected.
- If your flower pot is going outside, pick a sealer or spray varnish with UV protection to prevent any fading from the sun.
- Also, be sure you’re choosing the finish you prefer. These products come in various glossy, matte, satin, and clear finishes.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛