aging a terra-cotta pot

The Secret to Instantly Aging a Terra-Cotta Pot


Don’t you just love pottery that looks weathered or aged. Terra-Cotta, as it is, can be relatively inexpensive, but it is very “orange-y” in color. I like the more muted tones and the aged look of Terra-Cotta without paying a fortune for it at a boutique. I heard about this technique for instantly aging a Terra-Cotta pot. To me, this one is the quickest and most authentic-looking ways to age a Terra-Cotta pot. I have tried several other techniques such as blending buttermilk and live moss in a blender, painting it on the Terra-Cotta pot, then leaving it in a cool dark place for weeks to “grow” the moss. It took too long and didn’t really work like I wanted it to. I tried dry-brushing chalk paint onto the pot, but it didn’t really look aged, it just looked painted. I was so happy to learn about this technique. When I went to the nursery and asked where to find a bag of “Garden Lime” (a soil amendment to raise the pH in soil), I got a funny reaction from the store clerk. She told me that where we live, the soil is very alkaline and it’s totally unnecessary to add it to our soil. When I told her what I was planning to do with it and she was excited to know how it would turn out. I think I’ll go back to the store with a picture for her!

Here is a “before” photo of my Terra-Cotta pot. (Notice how orange it is?) I found it at a thrift store for a dollar. It has a molded design and it even had a few minor cracks and chips. All the better!

Aging Terra Cotta Pots

The first step is to mix equal parts of the Garden Lime and water. Put the lid on the jar and allow it to sit for about 20 minutes. (A little goes a long way, so you don’t need to make a lot!)

Garden Lime for Aging Terra Cotta

Then shake it. (The granules will tend to settle to the bottom, so stir it occasionally while using.)

Garden Lime for Aging Terra Cotta Pots - - Copy

Brush it all over the pot using a sponge brush, making sure to brush out any drips. Allow it to dry for several hours or overnight. (Be sure to protect your surface with newspapers or plastic.)

Terra Cotta Pot -

It will look (and feel) very “chalk-y.” If you like this look, you can leave it as is, but the “chalki-ness” tends to come off it’s handled too much. It would be perfectly fine to leave it on a shelf just like this (with an artificial plant in it.) If you are planning to put a live plant in the pot, you will need to spray the inside of the pot with a clear matte finish spray.

Terra Cotta Pot aged with Garden Lime -

So if you are planning to use it for a live plant that will need to be watered, or if you just like the darker look, you can spray it, inside and out, with a clear matte spray. The spray will protect the finish and keep the moisture in the soil from discoloring your beautiful pot.

Aged Terra Cotta Pot -

When completely dry, go ahead and plant it with some potting soil and your favorite flowers or herbs.

How to Age a Terra Cotta Pot -

Here are some cute Terra-Cotta pots with some molded designs that we found on Amazon. These would be gorgeous after instantly aging them with this technique!

Clear Matte Spray


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