DIY Aged Terracotta Pots

You know those beautifully aged terracotta pots you've seen lining the front doors of paint peeled casa's in the likes of Puglia, Italy? They are so gorgeous! Well, we're currently updating one of our outdoor spaces at home and if you've been following along on Instagram, you'll know that we have also been on the hunt for some potted olive trees. Last week we managed to get our hands on two stunning olive trees, thanks to our lovely Instagram community who suggested a few places we visit on the Sunshine Coast. We knew they would look beautiful in terracotta pots, but wanted the pots to have an aged and weathered effect.

So what is terracotta? It's an Italian clay that is baked to make ceramic pots, and because they're made from clay, the pots are porous. Which means, over time, they take in water, salt and other absorbent materials, and become weathered and worn over time. Sometimes they crack too, which adds even more character! This is exactly the look we wanted to recreate; so we got down to business.

We sourced our terracotta pots from a local garden centre. Truthfully, we were hoping to get the more classic round shape but because of Covid, deliveries have stalled coming into Australia and when it comes to sourcing here on the coast, our options can be quite limited. After a bit of trial and error, we have managed to recreate our very own DIY Aged Terracotta Pots using only water, white paint and dirt - and we couldn't be happier with the end result! Read on to find out how we did this. 

 

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Materials

  • Terracotta pots from Bunnings
  • Dropsheet from Bunnings
  • Old towel 
  • Approximately 1 heaped tbsp of white paint.
    • I used a sample pot of Lexicon Quarter by Dulux from Bunnings, which is a cool fresh white and is the perfect choice this project.
    • You could also choose a really subtle grey like Benjamin Moore's Grey Owl (which is my favourite grey).
  • 3/4 cup water 
  • A few handfuls of dirt - we used potting mix from Bunnings

And if you're going to be potting some olive trees, or other trees into your DIY Aged & Weathered Terracotta Pots, you'll need:

  • One sheet of Chux cloth per pot. You can also use a thin wet sponge.
  • A bag of small rocks or crushed stone from Bunnings
  • Premium potting mix from Bunnings

 

Steps 

We've created an Instagram Reel showing the entire process, which you can watch here. And here are the steps broken down:

  1. Place your drop sheet on the ground or a table, then put your terracotta pot on top. 
  2. Mix your paint and water in a container.
  3. Place your old towel into the paint mixture and start by swiping across the terracotta pot in a horizontal direction until you have covered the entire pot. Remember to paint a few inches down the inside of the pot from the rim. You can use as much or as little of the paint mixture as you like. It's all about experimenting and layering. Wait a few minutes for the paint mixture to dry.
  4. Place your old towel back into the paint mixture and paint the terracotta pot in a circular motion until you have covered the entire pot. Wait a few minutes for the paint mixture to dry. What we are doing here is creating the layers of your aged and weathered look. 
  5. Place your old towel back into the paint mixture and lightly dab the paint onto terracotta potuntil the entire pot is covered. This gives a cracked, almost paint peeled effect and you don't need to cover every inch of the terracotta spot - leave some spaces free of dabbing. Wait a few minutes for the paint mixture to dry. 
  6. Place your old towel back into the paint mixture and wipe across the terracotta pot, then quickly grab a handful of dirt and wipe across the pot in in a horizontal direction until the entire pot has been covered. If your terracotta pot has any cracks in it, push dirt into the cracks for an even more authentic, weathered look.
  7. Create more layers using the dirt by selecting some of the areas to be rubbed with more dirt, but in a circular motion. You are looking for a non-perfect aged and weathered look, so enjoy rubbing on the dirt and making some areas darker and some areas lighter. Wait a few minutes for the paint mixture to dry. And you're done! 

 

If you are also wanting to re-pot olive trees in your aged and weather terracotta pot, line the base of the pot with a wet sheet of Chux cloth. Place a few handfuls of rocks on top of the Chux and cover the base of the pot completely. Place your olive tree in the middle and completely fill in and cover with premium potting mix. Water immediately. 

 

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