Plain terra-cotta garden containers gain weathered-over-time style with our 3 easy techniques.
Aged pots

Years of hanging out in the yard leaves pots with a mottled finish that's easy to replicate on new clay containers. To prep pots for all projects, remove debris with a damp cloth.

Aged pots

Speckled effect (Pot at left in photo) Mix one cup of garden lime with one cup of water to make a paste; apply a heavy layer using a foam brush. Let dry. Rub with fine sandpaper to take off enough of the resulting grit to achieve desired appearance. Resources Garden lime Mayville pulverized lime. Menards.

Chipped charm (Pots in middle of photo) A worn paint job gives pots casual color. Apply a coat of acrylic paint to the outside of a container. When almost dry (sticky to the touch), use coarse sandpaper to partially remove paint and form streaks. Stop there, or repeat the process with a darker shade for a two-tone makeover. Resources Paint colors (Top pot) 6464 Aloe and 6939 Turquish. (Bottom pot) 6464 Aloe and 6964 Pulsating Blue. Sherwin-Williams. (800) 474-3794;

Tough texture (Pot at right in photo) A roughed-up surface brings character to plain pots. To start, apply a water-based primer and white acrylic paint to the outside of a pot, drying between coats. Add clear crackle medium with a foam brush. This creates uneven texture. A layer of oil-based dark wood stain (photo at left) highlights bumps and ridges. Resources Crackle medium Delta Creative. Hobby Lobby. (800) 888-0321; Stain Wood Classics Charcoal oil stain. Sherwin-Williams. (800) 474-3794;

To protect finishes, spray the outside of pots with a clear enamel topcoat to seal. Also spray the insides to prevent moisture absorption when watering plants. Resources Clear topcoat Painter's Touch Ultra Cover 2X clear matte. Rust-oleum. (877) 385-8155;