It’s this time of the year again! Flowers are at their best and I can’t resist bringing handfuls into the house! Instead of spending money on fresh cut bouquets to fill a few vases, I’d rather get a couple of small flowering plants. They live longer and they look beautiful when they’re placed in nice pots. Terra cotta pots are perfect – especially the ones that have an aged look. So far, paint has been the easiest and quickest known way to distress terra cotta, but I like to use my own, unique technique and distress them with a coat of plaster which also adds texture to the surface. I’ve already used such distressed pots in a couple of projects in the past, but today I’m taking this a step further and I’m adding words, dates and even company names that give so much more character and value to my, otherwise, plain terra cotta pots.
I first made a couple of them with the intention to use them for flowers and then I thought it would be kind of cute to have special pots for the herbs, in the kitchen. So I made two more for the basil and the parsley.
Here is how to make your own.
You will need: terra cotta pots, disposable gloves, foam letter stickers, a strong glue, a rubber band, a mixing bowl, toothpicks, (a brush and some craft paint are optional).
1. With gloves on, combine one part plaster and one part water into the mixing bowl. The mixture will be thin. Over a protected surface, hold the pot with one hand and take some mixture in the palm of the other hand and apply it onto the pot, turning the pot around to cover almost all external and internal sides but leaving a few spots uncovered. The dark clay should still be visible here and there so that the pot still resembles to a terra cotta container. Discard any leftover plaster mixture and rinse the bowl. Let the pot dry for about two hours.
2. When the pot is dry, place the foam letter stickers onto the pot using glue and a toothpick. The rubber band serves as a line to keep the wording straight. Αs these are 3D stickers, they look like they have been embossed onto the surface. Let the glue dry for about an hour.
3. Prepare a second mixture of one part plaster and one part water into the mixing bowl. Repeat the same process as above but this time cover only the foam letters and the area around each of them. Let dry for about two hours. Before the plaster is completely dry, make sure that each letter sticks out and if not, use a toothpick (or the tip of a knife if the plaster is almost or already dry) to remove any excess plaster around each letter that would cover the letter more than needed.
4. The plaster is very white so you might want to partially cover it with some craft paint in a pale shade.
On one of the pots I spelled out “St Germain 1908”. It sounded really French to me and the date was somehow relevant to the appearance of the pot. Doesn’t it look like it came straight out of an old barn in the French countryside? As for the second one, I gave to it a more Italian look and wrote “Bodero & Co, Italy, Est 88”, an (imaginary) company that I would love to shop from!
When making a thicker plaster mixture (1½ part plaster with 1 part water), the texture turns a little rougher, like the top left pot. On that same pot, I used some darker craft paint, an almost grey shade. There is no right or wrong way. All the pots look beautiful.
The little quantity of plaster applied on the wording is enough to make the foam letters turn solid as rock when it dries out.
It’s worth applying plaster in the inside too, as the top part shows even when the pot is filled.
I picked some pretty flowers to fill the pots. I know that the pink hyacinth will not last long but I love its scent. The geranium will be planted outdoors later in the season.
As for the basil and parsley, I’m so glad to have fresh herbs in my kitchen, and in such stylish containers!
I just finished this project so I haven’t had the time to experiment too much but I wouldn’t plant directly into the pots. Instead, I think it’s better to leave the plants in the plastic containers they came in. Also, these are for indoor use only. And last, adding some felt pads under the pots to protect the furniture would be a good idea!
I hope you enjoyed this post!