Plain terra-cotta garden containers gain weathered-over-time style with our 3 easy techniques.
DIY ways to age garden pots

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

1: Speckled Effect 

For the pot shown 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.

2: Chipped Charm

The colorful pots in the middle of our photo reflect a worn paint job and 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.

3: Tough Texture 

A roughed-up surface brings character to pots, like the one at right in our photo. 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 highlights bumps and ridges.

How to Protect Your Pots

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.