How to Upcycle Old Flowerpots | DIY Stenciled Terracotta Flowerpots | Oak Lane Studio
Welcome to another DIY home décor stenciling tutorial by Oak Lane Studio. In this how to stencil tutorial we will show you how to stencil terracotta flower pots. We will cover basic how to stencil techniques, how to stencil with multiple colors and how to paint terracotta.
You can decorate your own DIY painted flower pots with almost any stencil template you like and your favorite colors of paint. For this tutorial we used two classic spring and summer stencil templates: our Rose stencil template and our Vintage French Bicycle stencil template. We used Cloud White patio paint as a basecoat, Fiesta Yellow, Wrought Iron Black, Robin's Egg Blue, Bright Lime Green and Pinecone Brown acrylic paint colors for the stenciled designs.
Supplies for Stenciling Terracotta Flower Pots
- Two six-inch wide terra-cotta pots
- Paper towels
- Paper plates
- Glad Press’n Seal (available at most grocery stores)
- Rose Craft Stencil Template
- Vintage French Bicycle Craft Stencil Template
- Gyro-Cut Craft and Hobby Cutting Tool
- Frog Tape
- Craft Stencil Brushes
- Patio Paint
- Repositionable Spray Adhesive
How to Paint Terracotta Pots
We painted our terracotta flower pots with a basecoat of Cloud White Patio Paint. You don't have to paint your flower pots before you stencil them, but a basecoat does create a fresh backdrop that will make the stenciled design pop. Before you stencil, clean the flower pot with a slightly damp cloth to remove any dust and dirt. Dust and dirt will prevent the stencil from sticking to the flower pot.
How to Position the Stencil Template on the Flower Pot
First, figure out where you want the stenciled design on your terracotta pots. If needed, you can trim the stencil template with scissors to fit on the flower pot. Mark the stencil template where you want to trim the stencil and cut it down to size.
Then, spray the back of your stencil template with Repositionable Spray Adhesive. Do this in a well ventilated area away from the terracotta flower pots you will stencil, you only want the back of the stencil template to be sticky. Hold the spray can 6 to 8 inches away from the stencil template as you spray and keep your mouth closed while spraying.
Wait 30 to 60 seconds for the back of the stencil template to become tacking before positioning the stencil template around the flower pot. This is very important, our repositionable adhesive spray can be strong and if you position the stencil template too early you may have trouble removing it later.
Firmly press the stencil template onto the terracotta flower pot, make sure that all the small cutout design details lie flat along the terracotta pot. Once the stencil template is in place, secure the outer edges with Frog Tape (our favorite painter’s tape). This will help keep the stencil in place and protect the terracotta flower pot from any accidental smudges of paint that stray outside the stencil design.
Now it is time to Stencil!
How to Stencil with Multiple Colors
We stenciled our terracotta flower pots in multiple colors of paint to create a fresh and bright design. Stenciling in multiple colors is a lot easier than you might expect and we will show you how to recreate these multi-colored stenciled design.
Here are our expert stenciling tips for how to stencil with multiple colors:
- Stencil each color with a clean brush. You can use multiple stencil brushes, or clean your stencil brush between each color.
- Mask off the stencil cutouts you don't want stenciled in the color you are using with Frog Tape. This will prevent accidental smudges of the color in the wrong places. (We did not do this in our video, but it is really helpful if you are doing this yourself).
How to Stencil Terracotta Flower Pots
Stenciling is not the same as painting and a key difference is the amount of paint you use to stencil. Stenciling is done with a dry brush (or roller) using the "Dry Brush Technique". This means that you should only have a minimum amount of paint on your brush when you stencil, so that the brush is almost dry to the touch. If you stencil with too much paint, the excess paint will seep underneath the stencil template and blur the stenciled design, this is called "Paint Bleed".
We recommend using the "Dot Test" to check that you have the right amount of paint on your brush before stenciling.
The Dot Test for Stenciling:
How to check that you have the right amount of paint to stencil with a paint brush.
Once you have a dry brush you can begin to stencil. Stencil by swirling or stippling paint into the stencil design cutouts, brush strokes are not used for stenciling.
At first, only a faint color should be present, this is normal. Don't add more paint to your stencil brush until the brush is completely dry. Color will gradually accumulate as you stencil more layers of paint. 3 to 4 layers of paint is normal, but you may need more depending on the colors you are using. If you are stenciling into a very small design cutout, stippling is easier and more precise than swirling.
For this multi-colored project, choose one color of paint to start with. Mask off the stencil cutouts nearest the area you will stencil in that color and begin stenciling with the "Dry Brush Technique". We stenciled the rose first in Fiesta Yellow Americana Acrylic paint.
We stenciled the leaves next in green. We mixed Bright Lime Green acrylic paint with a dot of Robin's Egg Blue acrylic paint for a deeper shade of sunny bright green. Follow the same stenciling instructions above to stencil the leaves. Use a clean brush to stencil the second color.
It does help to cover the areas you don't want stenciled the second color with Frog Painter's Tape. Wait a few minutes for the first color of acrylic paint to dry before masking it with frog tape.
And that is how to stencil our first terracotta flower pot!
How to Prepare to Stencil the 2nd Terracotta Pot
We stenciled our second flower pot in a multi-colored vintage bicycle design. This design features smaller stencil details that are much closer together. To stencil these details in different colors we used Glad's Press'n Seal, available at most grocery stores and supermarkets, and our Gyro-Cut craft and hobby cutting tool. The Gyro-Cut is a really wonderful craft and hobby cutting tool with myriad crafting uses, you can learn more about this versatile hobby tool here. This technique works better than painter's tape if your are stenciling smaller, closer together details in more than one color.
First, cut a piece of Glad's Press'n Seal to fit the stencil template. Lay the Press'n Seal on top of the stencil template and smooth out any wrinkles and bubbles. Then, use the Gyro-cut to cut out the stencil elements you want to paint in the first color. We stenciled the bicycle basket first, so this was the first stencil element we cut out.
Peel the Press'n Seal cutouts off of the stencil, but leave the rest of Press'n Seal to mask the stencil designs you will paint later in another color. Figure out where you want the design on the flower pot, and trim the stencil template to fit on the flower pot if necessary.
As we did with the first terracotta pot, spray the back of the stencil template with Repositionable Spray Adhesive, and position the stencil on the terracotta pot. Use Frog Tape to hold the ends of the stencil template along the pot's curvature. Now, for the stenciling!
How to Stencil the 2nd Terracotta Flower Pot
Stencil the second terracotta pot with the Dry Brush Technique, just as we explained above. We stenciled the bicycle basket first with Pinecone Brown acrylic paint. Once the first stenciled element is finished, wait a few minutes for the paint to dry. Then remove the Press'n Seal, and place a new piece of Press'n Seal over the stencil template.
Use the GyroCut tool to cutout the next element you want to stencil in a second color. We stenciled the bicycle wheels, pedal and seat in Wrought Iron Black acrylic paint. You can use tweezers to peel the new Press'n Seal cutouts off of the stencil template. You can also recover previously stenciled areas with smaller piece of Press'n Seal instead of recovering the whole stencil.
If the stencil template starts to lift off of the terracotta pot, a chopstick or knitting needle can help you hold the stencil cutouts in place to prevent paint bleed.
Continue masking the stencil cutouts with Press'n Seal and stenciling each section with the Dry Brush Technique. Make sure to use a clean brush each time you stencil a new color.
We stenciled the bicycle frame with Robin's Egg Blue acrylic paint, the flowers in the bike basket with Fiesta Yellow and the flower leaves with Bright Lime Green acrylic paint.
When you are finished stenciling the bicycle, wait for the paint to dry before gently peeling the stencil template and the Frog Tape off of the terracotta flower pot.
How to Clean the Stencil Template
Our stencils are washable and reusable! But they do require a little care to keep their fresh appearance. After you finish stenciling, always wash and dry your stencil, paint brushes and paint rollers to keep them fresh and reusable.
For this DIY stenciling project, we stenciled with water-based paint which is exceptionally easy to clean off of stencil templates. To clean the stencil template, first soak it in hot water for five minutes, this will loosen any paint that has dried on the stencil. Then wipe away all the remaining paint with a cloth and store the stencil template for future DIY stenciling projects. Read our How to Clean Stencils FAQ for more details on how to clean stencils.
Oak Lane Studio’s DIY Painted Terracotta Pots will make your warm, sunny home even brighter this Spring!
Watch our How to Stencil Terracotta Flower Pots video tutorial:
Learn how to paint terracotta flower pots in this easy, budget-friendly DIY home décor project from Oak Lane Studio. This is a great DIY home improvement summer project. You can spruce up your porch, patio, front stoop, garden or terrace with these decoratively painted terracotta flower pots. Painted and stenciled flower pots are a wonderful DIY home décor hack.
"Spring" into beautiful days with Oak Lane Studio's DIY Painted Terracotta Pots. These stencils work great with both indoor or outdoor acrylic paints or ink rollers and are perfect for flowerpots, wooden crates, decorative trays, or anything else you want to brighten up around your home! See our other DIY home décor stenciling hacks, such as our Ikea Welcome Doormat Stenciling Hack tutorial, or our How to Stencil a Lampshade tutorial.
Learn more about how to stencil your home and create beautiful home décor in whatever style you like. Visit our Stenciling Blog, or Video Gallery for how to stencil tutorials and projects tips. Browse our home décor stenciling projects Photo Gallery for ideas and inspiration on how to use stencil templates to decorate your home.