Painting Pots: The Sponge Technique

July 27, 2018
Painting Pots with Sponge

Beautifully painting a flower pot might seem like a daunting task, but the easy sponge technique allows any gardener to transform simple orange terra-cotta pot into a unique look.

Terracotta pots bring a classic, charming look to a backyard patio or deck. Garden designers often recommend changing the terracotta orange to another color to give an entirely different look to the plantings. Grey or dark blue can look stately, dark green can fade into the background, and silver and gold can lend a contemporary note.

Sponge painting—using a small piece of sponge to overlay one color on top of a second—adds color and texture and isn’t at all difficult. Try using two shades of the same color, perhaps two blues to emphasize blue plants, or use two different colors, such as a sea green and black, to create pots that will blend into the background. Or create colors that tie into some element of your landscape, such as the muted tones of a stone walkway or the accents of garden furniture.

As a bonus, painted clay pots hold moisture a bit better than the more porous unfinished pots. But on hot days, diligent watering is required with any type of clay pot to keep the soil from drying out.

Here’s how to do it:

First gather the materials needed:

  • Terracotta pots
  • Two different shades or colors of oil-base enamel, any finish
  • Paintbrush
  • Natural sponge

Wash the pots, if they have been used, scrubbing off any dirt with a stiff brush. Let sit until thoroughly dry.

Using the paintbrush, apply the first coat of paint. Let it dry completely.

Barely dampen the sponge in water and then into the second color of paint, and apply, working to get an overall sponged look. Experiment to get the coverage you want, and then repeat it on the other pots.

Let the finished pots dry. Plant your choice of flowers and arrange as you wish.


The 2001 Gardener's Companion

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