I’ve been noticing white washed pots in a lot of farmhouse decor and white decor homes. Ever since joining Instagram a few months ago, these white pots just keep showing up in my feed. Every time I see them I just think how much I like them and would love to have some pots like that! Well, I decided I was going to have white pots for my kitchen herb garden this year.
why i went with terra cotta
At first I planned on purchasing my white pots, but as I started shopping around, I noticed that nice pots were about $10-$30 each. Then I noticed the terra cotta pots. I’ve always liked these pots anyway and I loved the variety of shapes and sizes to choose from. I’d seen a lot of people showing off their painted Terra cotta pots on Pinterest, so I decided to give it a try. I picked out 3 medium sized terra cotta pots that I thought would fit nicely on my dinning table. I went home with my 3 pots for less than $10 total. I knew I could use leftover white paint we had at home to decorate these pots just how I wanted.
This project sat on the kitchen table for a couple weeks waiting for a break in my schedule. I’ve found that I have to make breaks for my projects, that is the only way I can get them done. There is always more “work” to do, always some responsibility that tries to stay ahead of my efforts to create a homemade life. We all have the same amount of time in each day, and we have time for what we make time for. One Sunday, I chose to make time for my white pots.
a whiter white wash
Most of the white washing I was finding on Pinterest was very thing. So thin that the orangish terra cotta color was still very present. I wanted more of a solid white, but with the textured look that white washing gives. This was my first attempt at white washing anything so I wasn’t sure how much I should water the paint down. Since I knew I wanted a solid white color with texture, I decided to try the normal thickness of the paint first.
I gathered my supplies together: paint brush, old paint can, an old rag, a shop towel to protect the table, and my pots. As I was getting things set up, my husband commented that I might want to change out of my nice clothes before I started painting. I brushed it off at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I knew it would just be silly to accidentally ruin my nice clothes with a splotch of paint. I took an extra minute to run in the bedroom and change into some older clothes with some rips and tares before continuing.
three tries a charm
Throwing the shop towel over the kitchen table, I spread out my workspace. When I was shopping for my pots, I went ahead and purchased the little coaster bases for each pot. So I had three of these bases to test my white washing skills before I had to work on the more visible surfaces of the actual pots. I painted the first one solid white and then tried to use my rag to wipe some of the paint off in ares to create the textured look I wanted. Well, this didn’t work out so well! The paint soaked right into the terra cotta and wasn’t going anywhere by the time I grabbed the rag to do some texturing.
Next I found a disposable ziplock container and poured about 5 tablespoons of paint into the container. Then I added 1-2 tablespoons of water and mixed it together thoroughly with my paint brush. Grabbing the second planter base, I tried again. This time I got exactly what I was after! Nice white color, but thin enough to leave the marks of the paint brush trailing behind. When blended with the rag it was perfect! Exactly what I was hoping for. I perfected my blending skills on the third planter base but I still felt a little nervous about painting the pots themselves. Oh well! Time to get it done! It would either work or it wouldn’t, either way, I could still plant my plants in the pots just fine.
blending the texture with a rag
Starting from the bottom of the pot, I did three rows of painting. I found that my paint brush had enough paint to get all the way around nicely one time. Then I had time to blend the texture how I liked with the rag before the paint dried or soaked into the planter too much. I found that the watered down paint didn’t soak into the pot quite as fast, which is exactly what I needed, to give me time to blend and touch up.
I carefully set the pots aside to dry after painting the outsides of them. By the time I had finished painting all three pots, the first pot was basically dry. I picked it up carefully and turned it upright to paint the inside rim, just deep enough to reach the soil depth. This was one of the messiest parts of my task. Since I had already painted the outsides of the pots, any excess paint that ended up on the lip of the pot tried to run down the outside. I caught onto this on the first pot, so I was quick to grab up my rag to wipe the rim after running the paint brush around on the inside. Of course, it was also difficult to make a clean sweep with the brush on the inside of the pot, but it didn’t matter because the soil would cover the rugged edges of my painting. It was messy, but also the least visible part of the pot, so I didn’t worry about it too much.
the final product
From start to finish I’d say this project took me about 45 minutes. Most of that time was spent prepping my work space, and coming up with a plan. It was a very easy project and turned out just how I imagined. For my first time white washing, I was pretty pleased.