How To Stain Terra Cotta Pots

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It’s been several days since my last blog post, but for good reason — Rip and I have been transforming spaces in our home! Literally, I have woken up early in the mornings for 10 straight days, pulled my hair back into a clippy, thrown on some “get busy” clothes, and have been going none stop in making spaces and rooms in our home completely renewed. We’d crash around midnight … every muscle sore, but having that “such a good tired” feeling … only to get up the next morning ready to get at again!

Sunday afternoon, one of the small and quick things I did was I took some American Walnut stain, 4 large empty terra cotta pots and a roll of paper towels.


After cleaning the pots, I take 3-4 sheets of paper towels and wad them up into a ball. Then I shape the ball into a tube shape, dip the tip into the stain, and start rubbing the stain up and down all over the outside of the pots. I went a little heavy because I wanted to see some of the streaks…wanted it to look “rubbed” and not just “stained.” I knew the ferns would just pop out of the pots once they were darker, but honestly…I’ve never really been a fan of the plain o’ corraly-colored terra cotta pots.

When it comes to pots of greenery outside, I think of a tree — it’s brown on the trunk and green in the crown. Weeeeell, if my pots are all outside, I go by the same “rule of thumb” – I like dark brown or dark grey pots, (the trunk of the arrangement), with all the greenery rising up out of those pots! From ferns, to flowers, to planted shrubbery in them. It just looks natural and fabulous on any patio or deck.

Staining Terra Cotta pots is so easy, but be sure to do the inside lip of the pot so you don’t see “orange” when the dirt starts compacting around the plant. I do not stain into the pot where the dirt will go….I leave all of the inside unstained, (except 4″ from the top is stained), because when you go to water your plant, you don’t want the chemicals of the stain to get into the soil. Staining the outside is fine, and staining the lip of the pot is fine, too.

Hope this has been a little outdoor inspiration for you!,….and get ready, …. more is coming!

Happy homemaking,


*This will not work with plastic pots.

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lisa rippy

1 Comment

  1. Sara Leach on June 16, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    These look great!

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