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How to Age Terra Cotta Pots in 5 Easy Steps

Do you love the look of vintage distressed terra cotta clay pots? Learn how to age terra cotta pots in 3 easy steps with paint.

I’m going to be honest with you…I’m not a big crafter.

I’d kind of rather buy it than make it.

Does that sound lazy?

Well…that’s part of it but really I’m afraid of spending all the money on supplies and then the project doesn’t turn out the way it’s supposed to.

Crafting isn’t cheap!

On the other hand, I always see décor pieces that I know I could make myself.

So, I take a photo if I’m out shopping.

Or I save the idea to a folder on my phone if I’m scrolling social media.

And there it sits…for months…or even years.

Well, I finally decided to do one of the inspiration projects I saved.

Actually, I bought all the supplies over two years ago.

Did I tell you crafting intimidates me too?

I was planning a tablescape for Easter and knew I could create a beautiful centerpiece arrangement with aged terra cotta pots.

It was time to pull out the new clay flower pots I bought years ago and figure out how to make them look old.

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What Supplies Do You Need to Distress Terra Cotta Pots

supplies including several pots, paint & brush for aging terra cotta pots on table

I had purchased a variety of different sized pots.

Use whatever size flower containers you may already have at home.

But if you need to purchase some I’ve linked the sized I used for my table display below.

Some clay pots were small 3.5″ like these.

Others were even smaller at just 2″…and just so cute!

One was a nice sized 6″ terra cotta flower planter.

And I really liked the shape of this rose pot.

The great thing about terra cotta flower pots is they are super affordable.

So you can grab a bunch in different shapes & sizes to create a beautiful collection.

You can find clay pots at most craft, home improvement and big box stores.

Or click any of the links above or the photo at the end of this post to shop online.

Easy Peasy!!

How to Create an Aged Clay Pot with Paint

Before starting this project I did a little research to figure out how I wanted to do this craft.

Oh boy…who knew there were so many methods.

Everything from paint to garden lime to yogurt!


I really liked how fast the painted techniques were since I was planning to do my tablescape that same day.

And I needed to faux paint 13 flower pots.

So, the quicker the better for this DIY!

Nothing like procrastinating on this project for over two years and then needing it to be done in an hour.

Anyone else like me? LOL

But I promise this is the easiest, quickest craft!

YouTube video

I used white acrylic craft paint to complete my distressed planters.

The first step is to add the white paint to a small bowl then pour in some water to thin out the paint.

I didn’t measure but I’d guess the ratio was two parts paint to one part water.

Next, mix the paint and water with a small chip paint brush.

crafter using paper towel to wipe paint on pots

Initially, I used the paint brush to lightly apply the paint to the pot…but it didn’t look great.

Brushing the paint on made it appear too painted… if you know what I mean.

So, instead of using a paint brush, I grabbed a paper towel to paint the pots.

There isn’t a wrong or right way to do this…it’s more a personal preference of how you want the end product to turn out.

Using the paper towel, I scrunched it up and dipped it into the paint.

Then, I lightly applied the paint to the pot.

Next, I immediately rubbed it off with a clean part of the paper towel.

It was a little messy but don’t worry…acrylic paint washes off easily.

Since clean up is simple, I didn’t bother wearing gloves while painting.

painted terra cotta clay pots on cardboard after painting

You can see in this photo above that the pot laying down is the first one I completed using the paint brush.

Notice how much thicker the paint looks than the others.

That’s not really the look I was going for.

The paper towel method was definitely the better option for me.

Honestly, it took no time at all to paint all 13 planters with the paper towel technique.

I also painted the inside edge of each terra cotta pot.

This ensures the top of the planter looks distressed if your flower or plant doesn’t fill the entire pot.

How to Distress a Terra Cotta Clay Flower Pot

sanding painted clay pot to give distressed look

After I was finished painting all the terra cotta pots, they looked…well…painted.

I didn’t love them.

And I wanted to love them!

If I were artistic, I would have tried to add different colored paint…maybe some gray or green.

But remember, I needed this done fast!

So, I grabbed some sand paper from my garage and got to work quickly sanding the painted planters.

I used 220 grit sand paper but any sand paper you have would do a great job.

two small painted and distressed terra cotta clay pots

In this picture above you can see the comparison.

On the left is the pot after sanding and the right is the pot before sanding.

I guess I should have shot this photo the opposite with the before on the left.

But I think you get the idea! LOL

Doesn’t it look so much better after sanding?

completed aged terra cotta clay pots stacked on table

This was such an easy project.

It took me less than an hour to complete all 13 terra cotta pots.

Since you’re painting and wiping off at the same time there really is no waiting time for them to dry.

And I can’t wait to share how they look in my Easter centerpiece and tablescape.

Stay tuned!

Update: See the aged terra cotta pots in a pretty spring centerpiece here and the Easter tablescape here!

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aged terra cotta pot collage

Do you have another simple way to age terra cotta pots?

Share it with us in comments below!

completed aged terra cotta clay pots stacked on table

How to Age Terra Cotta Pots in 5 Easy Steps

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: Under $5

Do you love the look of vintage distressed clay flower pots? Learn how to age terra cotta pots in 3 easy steps with paint.


  • terra cotta clay pot
  • white craft paint
  • water


  • paint brush
  • paper towels
  • sand paper


  1. Add 2 parts white acrylic craft paint to 1 part water in bowl and stir.
  2. Scrunch up paper towel and dip into thinned paint.
  3. Apply lightly and quickly to terra cotta pot.
  4. Wipe immediately with dry paper towel.
  5. Use sand paper to sand off some of the paint to distress flower pot.


If using outdoors you may want to protect the terra cotta pots and apply a clear top coat.

Did you make this project?

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