How to Paint a Plastic Pot with Acrylic Paints
You can make some colorful flowerpots and brighten up the garden, as well as show your creative side.
Take any plastic flowerpot. Don’t use a clay pot, because the moisture from inside the pot will leach through and ruin your paint. Get some acrylic paints in whatever colors you like. Be sure to use acrylic and not poster paints, because poster paints will fade in the sun.
You’ll also need some brushes in various sizes and a can of aerosol water seal, the kind you use on decks.
Start by painting a background color or colors on the entire pot. This serves as kind of a primer for the rest of the paint. The choice of color depends on the kind of design you want to put on. Brightly colored pots really pop, especially when they have brightly-colored flowers in them.
The background will dry in about four to eight hours, depending on the amount of humidity in the air. Then you can start to add your design. It’s important to wait until the background is completely dry before you add paint on top of it. The paint will never really bond to the plastic, so if you paint on top of a wet layer, you’ll pull the first layer right off. If you add any second layers of paint at any point in the project, the same applies.
You can pencil on your design first, or just start painting it. If you’re comfortable with just starting to paint, it’s not a bad idea. If you make a mistake, you can fix it by covering it up. Acrylic paints cover each other well, and the light paints even cover the dark ones if you add an extra coat.
Let one color of paint dry before you paint another color next to it. If you want to tape off a part of the pot to complete your design, you can use regular painter’s tape. It works very well.
When your pot is done, let it dry overnight. Then spray it with the aerosol water seal. One coat put on evenly is enough. Let the water seal dry overnight, then you can move the pot outside and put a plant in it.
Because the paint never bonds to the pot, your painted plastic pot may last only one summer outside. If it fades or becomes discolored, you can repaint it, though, because the water seal has worn off. After you repaint it, water-seal it again and it’s ready for another summer outside. If the pot is peeling, the best thing to do is throw it out, because it’s too much trouble to scrape off and repaint. Plastic pots are inexpensive, so you can let it go and do a new pot. If you have a pot that’s turned out especially nice, and you don’t want to risk ruining it, you can use it for indoor plants. It should last indefinitely indoors. You may still want to water-seal it, because you’ll be watering the plant.
Painting plastic pots is a lot of fun and a good winter project. It will help you get through those long months when you miss your garden.
Picture by Kathleen Murphy