DiY: Flower Pot Makeover

I may not have a green thumb when it comes to keeping houseplants and flowers, but like all Turks, I love growing herbs around the house. From spring through summer, we Turks fill our balconies, terraces and tables with mint and globe basil. In Western Turkey, along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts, you will find potted herbs growing almost everywhere you look: houses, offices, restaurants and bars. Not only do they look and smell nice, but the globe basil especially keeps mosquitoes at bay.

Time: 1 HoursCost: $0Difficulty: Easy
  • diy flower pot makeover, chalk paint, container gardening, crafts, gardening

Each year around this time, I start filling our deck with potted herbs, so I can be reminded of my homeland. But this year the weather is a bit late to reach normal Spring temperatures, so I thought I could use my time prettying my plain-Jane flower pots. As I couldn't wait to start my little project, I forgot to take before pictures of all. But thankfully I remembered to take the before picture of the small pot =)
  • diy flower pot makeover, chalk paint, container gardening, crafts, gardening

Last year I found one plastic and four terracotta pots at Put & Take. I refinished one of the terracotta pots and the plastic one last summer but didn't have time to refinish the other three. As I wanted all the pots look like a set, I decided to go with the same aqua hue that I used last year. If you would like to use it in any of your projects, you can find the picture of the color code on our blog.

After preparing my homemade chalk paint (you can find the homemade chalk paint recipe on our blog), I washed the pots of dirt and debris and let them dry. Once they were dry and ready for painting, I started brush painting with a half loaded chip brush. While I didn't cover all the surface with paint, I also didn't choose dry-brushing because I wanted some areas to get covered almost solidly to achieve that random distressed look I was going for.
  • diy flower pot makeover, chalk paint, container gardening, crafts, gardening

With this last pot, I happened to brush it more than I should, so it ended up looking almost fully painted. As I was going for a distressed look, I had to remove the excess paint with what I call "rubbing" technique. It is a good and easy alternative to sanding when you are painting with chalk paint. You can find more details on rubbing technique on our blog post.

As the painting and distressing was completed, it was time to pretty up the pots with different embellishments.

As my pots were finished, it was time to plant some herbs. Unfortunately I couldn't find any globe basil or mint in HomeDepot or in our local nursery. I think the weather is not yet warm enough to have a good selection of potted herbs. But I was lucky enough to find some thyme, Thai basil and lemon balm, so I planted those in my refinished pots for now.

Here are my jewels!..
  • diy flower pot makeover, chalk paint, container gardening, crafts, gardening
...and my pots are not bad either!
  • diy flower pot makeover, chalk paint, container gardening, crafts, gardening
I can't wait to show our deck to you in the summer: I line up these beauties next to each other at the corner of our deck, and in the evening breeze it feels like heaven with all that beautiful scent in the air.

Here are some close-up pictures so you can see the details better.

  • diy flower pot makeover, chalk paint, container gardening, crafts, gardening

And here they are, all together, including the ones I did last year. Having them all the same color helps displaying them as a set, but the different finishing details breaks the monotony.

  • diy flower pot makeover, chalk paint, container gardening, crafts, gardening

I hope you liked my jewels and their new pots.

For all the details on stenciling, rubbing technique, paint color code and much more please visit our blog post from the link below.

Handan, xo

Suggested materials for this project:

    Handan & Greg @ The Navage Patch

    Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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      • Hello Cornelia, That clear protective coat spray was only for sealing the metal embellishments. I applied a different protective coat to my pots (it is something new to me so I can't swear by it yet, but other bloggers seem to like it) as I mentioned in the post above or on our blog post: If you take a close look at the pictures you will see the ones I made last year: their finish is matter than the ones I made this year. It is because last year I used a different protective coat which I swear by its quality and durability as I left those pots out all through out summer and fall (but only put them in the shed for winter) and they didn't even have a nick or single area where paint would peel. I also used the same protective coat on a bunch of wooden decoupaged herb planters/crates and left those out all winter in CT winters. All that decoupage and wood itself stayed as new as the first day. That protective coat which I used last year is this one: I hope all this helps! -Handan
      • Thanks for the reply. I will invest in the protective coat.
      • Very pretty. Ok. This sound like a silly question, but how do you keep your herbs from over growing? Or do you use that much herbs in your recipes?
      • Use them fresh and dry the rest and save for winter.
      • Oh yes we use a lot of herbs! Be it with the tea, or salads or our meals. With certain ones we plant more than others such as mint and thyme as we dry them for winter use. Parsley and cilantro which are not in the pictures above I usually plant 2 big crates of each because we love the taste and every evening we use it for salads. Herbs are never enough for us =)

      • @B.s.nelson There is no name for this color as I mixed up some "Ooops paints" to achieve the color I wanted. But I did get it color matched at HomeDepot so I could share the color code. The color color code is on our blog post. Also the paint has no brand because it my homemade chalk paint. Again I have the recipe for that on the blog. The pot which is lighter color is one of the two I did last year. The color seem to be lighter because of the different protective coat those have. They have mat protective coat where the new ones have satin, so the sheen gives that variance in the hue. Otherwise paint is the same paint =)

      • @Rose Thank you so much, Rose! I usually buy what they call "Oops Paint" (discounted paint) every time we go to Homedepot. So I have quite a big ooops paint selection in different hues of blues, greens, whites and grays as those are my favorite colors. Every now and then my son and I mix different colors up in small plastic cups (in a way color experimentation) to see who is going to come up with a cool color. This color was created during one those fun activity times :)

      • Hello, Tracy - Congratulations on your daughter's wedding! Now I need to tell you that I am not an expert, but just an enthusiast on this subject. Knowing this answer may affect the arrangements for your daughter's wedding has me a little nervous, but I will tell you what I know. If anyone else reading this has ideas, I welcome them too! :) 3" pots may be too small for certain herbs. For example globe basil would grow a good amount in three months time, but to have the full globe shape I would plant 3-4 plants together in one pot. So considering that, it wouldn't fit in a 3" pot. To enhance the growth with herbs or any vegetables I grow, I use fertilized soil when I transplant. I didn't try any synthetic fertilizers yet, as I am used to what my mom and grandma taught me: good old composted cow manure. I mix only a very little amount into the soil and I prepare that mixture about a month before transplanting. Also when I transplant I don't ever touch plant's root ball. I grow them in peat pots. I cut/trim the top half of the peat pot and leave the bottom part intact, then put the plant in its new soil as is. That helps the roots gradually getting used the new soil. This also helps the roots not burning from the fertilizer (hence I prepare the soil mixture about a month before transplanting). Another thing my mom taught me is that herbs love sunlight, but not heat. So I place them in an area where they would get morning sun or afternoon sun but I never subject them to hot noon sun. Also, herbs like globe basil love a little breeze. So whenever we don't have breezy evenings, I stroke their leaves with my hands ever so slightly. That promotes growth and helps leaves having a bit of air. As for watering, I either water them from the bottom in the mornings (without water touching the leaves) or mist them in the evenings when I don't have to worry about leaves getting wet. I never mist them in the mornings because there is a big chance that their leaves would burn with the sun due to small water drips left on the leaves. My grandma used to tell me "herbs are like kids: Talk to them nice and feed them decent, they'll grow up to be good and strong. But if you treat them too good they'll get spoiled before you know it :)". So this is what I follow. I don't ever treat any vegetable or herb too good, they get their water and love (stroking) from me and that seems to be working for us. -Handan
      • Hi Hadan, Thank you for the soil & watering tips, grandma knows best! I was worried about the 3" pots being too small so I might just have to ditch that plan but I have a back-up plan to try - I had some mint in my garden so I took a bunch of cuttings this morning and that will be my emergency plant, you know that grows like crazy and might just might be the answer for those 3" pots! I know what you mean about the fertilizer - I was a horse trainer for years and the same goes for horse poop, lol. I will do what you said and start prepping the soil in the next day or two so it will be ready in a month or so. Very interesting tips on the basil. I am going to grow some for myself and do it your/grandma's way of course. thanks again,Tracy
        Tracy CTracy C Laurel, MD · answered Apr 19, 2016

      • Thank you so much! Yes we do grow loads of cilantro just as other herbs. I have to say I do nothing special to keep them alive and that might be the trick :) All I know is: 1. All herbs like sunshine, but not too much of it, so I put them in a place where they get either excellent morning sun or evening sun, but never expose them to direct noon sun. 2. Also all herbs like little breeze. But as we don't receive evening breeze every night I rub them with my hands ever so slightly as if I am petting our dogs. That gives their leaves a a little air to breath if that makes sense and creates that breeze effect. 3. I water them every evening by using the mist setting on our hose nozzle. 4. With cilantro, parsley and basil I pick the tallest ones every so often (like an inch or two from the head part) so they wouldn't go into flowering. Otherwise I don't do anything special to any of them and just with doing these things I seem to have luck :)
      • Thank you! I live in a very hot, humid climate and my back yard is pretty shady -- maybe that's the issue. I can grow other herbs just fine, though.
        C-loC-lo Mandeville, LA · answered Apr 18, 2016
      • Hi I live in Sydney. My basil is thriving and I do basically nothing except watering. One lot is growing in very poor soil and it seems to be thriving. I've even found basil seedlings coming up between the gaps in the cobble stone pavers. Almost no soil. When I fully pampered my basil, I really didn't have much success. Another lot that I dug up, cut back and replanted in another area with poor soil, thrived. So you never can tell.

      • Hello Karen, no unfortunately chalk paint is not water proof, nor is latex or acrylic is. Given enough time all eventually would start wearing off if left unprotected at outdoors. Therefore I apply protective coat for the items I use outdoors which mentioned in above post: "Before gluing the metal embellishments, I applied two layers of protective coat on the painted and stenciled pots. Once the protective coat dried, I glued the metal embellishments on the pots." For the protective coat I used the one in the below link for the first time (in a way to test how it would hold) and so far it seems good, but time will show better ;) : the pots I made last year I used Modern Masters' product which is slightly pricier than its peers, but I love it. It is matte, it is good quality, it is simply gorgeous. Here is the link for it if you want to check it out: Hope this info helps. Have a great day!!

      • I have many Hostas and the snails / slugs love them but I do use the snail bait which does work here . I believe the trick is to spread the bait before you see the evidence if their presence..then I repeat probably sooner than the product suggests because I just cannot bear to see the hole in the Hosta's beautiful leaves... Beyond this have you tried putting a shallow dish of beer in the vacinity of the plants the snails are attacking.....I have read that they will crawl in and drown,die....whatever.
      • This is true I have used the beer also. The slugs and snails just love it and die. Also I have heard using crushed egg shells around the plant works they don't like brossing over the shells.
      • I have used the crushed egg shells successfully around the plant. Also, crushed filbert (hazelnut) shells will also work.
      • I buy bags of nut shells at hardware store an generously surround areas around hostas...they do not like the shsrpness!
        ToniToni Hubbard, OR · answered Apr 22, 2017
      • Diatomaceous earth works well. Just sprinkle around the base of your hostas and even work it into your soil around the plant. Also, Sluggo works great and is eco-friendly.
        JenniferJennifer Cedar Park, TX · answered Apr 22, 2017
      • used coffee grounds work for many intruders, just sprinkle around plants
        VlaffeyVlaffey San Pedro, CA · answered Apr 22, 2017
      • If all else fails they love beer and it kills them quickly,I have used it many times.

      • I thank the main reason snails keep coming back is because a new crop of eggs keep hatching. Too bad there isn't a way to kill the eggs.
        SherrieSherrie Salem, OR · answered Apr 22, 2017
      • I also use the crushed egg snails. It works because where the shells are, there's no snails. I also sprinkle dried coffee grounds around plants. The coffee is liked by the plants, but critters don't like it.
        17sunshine17sunshine Riverside, CA · answered Apr 22, 2017
      • That was suppose to be crushed egg "shells". I don't crush them tiny but leave them to where there's some jagged edges on the shells.
        17sunshine17sunshine Riverside, CA · answered Apr 22, 2017
      • I know regular table salt sprinkled on slugs kills them instantly. I've heard it's the same for snails but I've never tried it. I wonder if a small ring of salt around the hosta would keep them away? Salt is cheap too.

      • Hi Carol, you certainly can paint them if you'd like. One thing I would do though before painting. I am not sure how big your pots are so I am not sure how easy to do this but to ease your paint job I would try to lift them a little from the it by putting small 2x4s underneath or small bricks. This is only to ease your job while painting and also it could prevent (at least a little) any bugs crawling up to your pots while the paint is drying. Another thing to consider is that if your pots are terracotta then the walls would be porous (in a way like a sponge). And since there are already plants in it and those plants have been watered the terracotta walls would already have some water in their cells. That can make painting a little tougher than normal, because paint can have a little hard time sticking to the surface. So first I would test a little area, preferably towards the bottom. See if paint sticks to them good or not. If it does go ahead and paint it. If it doesn't then first use a clear protective coat on the outer surface of the pots. I am thinking either spray can version or oil based brush on version should do the job. If you put two coats it would of course be much better and that should create a normal dry surface for your paint. Once you've done that then you should be good to paint the pots. I hope this helps :-) If you end up painting your pots please post the pictures here on Hometalk as I would love to see the results :-D -Handan
      • Definitely too heavy to lift but not terracotta! They are a textured ceramic. I may have to save your idea for future pots!
      • Oh they must be biiig biigg pots!...I love big pots :-) If they are ceramic you should be good to paint the pots directly without doing any prep ;-)
      • Carol, could you slide a few shims under the pots to lift them a little bit? Even enough to put some plastic (even a cut up place mat would work.) underneath to avoid painting the ground around them. (or whatever is there.) The bottom would be the hardest part but if you used a small brush and did that part slowly it would give you a base to work on the rest of it. Good luck! :)

      • Cut off the old ones and enjoy until they are all gone. Then plant them in your yard. It may take two years, but eventually they will bloom (after they have recovered their strength).
      • Hi, Martha. Cut them so that all the nutrients in your soil can go toward the new growth instead of being wasted on dying or dead vegetation.
      • unless you're overwatering (allowing root/bulb rot), they'll return year after year (and multiply!) so make sure they're in a sunny place and you'll be fine.
        JenniferJennifer Cedar Park, TX · answered Apr 22, 2017
      • Remove the bulbs wash them store in a paper bag till next time to plant
      • Best idea is to plant the bulbs in your yard or REPOT into better soil , and/or bigger pot, there's only so much the soil in your pot can give your tulips. Also tulips need COLD weather for a couple of weeks every year to bloom well.

        If you want to HOLD til next fall - dig up, clean the dirt off but DO NOT "WASH"!!! They need to be almost completely dry to store! Put them in newspaper - then inside a paper bag - in your refrigerator! (Crisper is good) until planting time in fall.
        SusanSusan Jacksonville, AR · answered Apr 22, 2017
      • Bulbs gather nutrients from the soil BUT ALSO THROUGH THE LEAVES! Don't cut them back until those leaves have turned brown, etc.
        SusanSusan Jacksonville, AR · answered Apr 22, 2017

      • I tried decoupage with two terracotta pots: one I took inside for the winter time and one I left it out (we live in CT, so we have pretty harsh winters). The one I kept indoors still looks awesome, and I love it! The other one started peel during the second summer. So yes Mod Podge will work on terracotta planters, but you need to keep the planters indoors during winter. -Handan

      • You could buy some filigrees that are very thin at your local crafts store. You can bend them very easy. Look in the jewelry section for the filigrees
        I hope this helps
      • Yes, some do. I found some really cute ones at Hobby Lobby with the 40% off coupon. They are in the beads/jewelry section. I used them on candles and wine bottles, and they bent easily, but are strong enough to be sturdy. Craft on!!

      • Hello Judy, yes you definitely can fix your pots. Depending on how big the holes are you may even be able to use Apoxie Sculpt. Here is the link if you'd like to check Apoxie Sculpt:
        I hope this info helps! :-) -Handan

      • Funny you should ask, because I actually did. I mean, one of those pots you see in the pictures is plastic, and the paint held up exactly the same with other pots, if not better. :-)
      • I have seen this tried, but you would need to use a bonding agent. Otherwise, the paint will just peel off.
      • If you seal the in side of the pots they will not peel. I have about 8 pots and the paint is still on them & no peeling. Terra cotta absobs water so if its not sealed it makes the paint flake off.

      • I haven't sealed mine from inside, but after painting I put 2 coats of flat matte protective coat. Last year I forgot to put them in our shed for the winter (which is a big "no" for Connecticut winters), but amazingly the paint held up so great. Not even a little chip or anything. Therefore, the key could be applying paint and 2 coats of protective layer only to the outer side ;-) -Handan
      • Terracotta and paint don't mix too well. I live in Florida where we have hot humid summers. Painted terracotta peels like crazy. I would use a paint stain instead of paint if you plan to keep your pots more than one or two seasons and especially if you live in a hot humid climate.
      • If you use a primer or chalk paint it will keep it from peeling. Ilive in is humid and it is hot..we go to Florida to get away from the heat and humidity. I had little clay pots I used for my husband and my renewal.... I filled them with herbs..Rosemary and lavender, Mint and basil, they were used for centerpieces on each table . That was in May of 2013 and those little pots are going strong. I removed those herbs from them though as they got to big and needed more room.

      • I also wonder, what about plastic? Same technique or something different? LOVE this and I have plastic pots.
        MarkeenMarkeen Scottville, MI · answered Apr 24, 2017
      • the same question about plastic pots please?
        MM Gulfport, MS · answered Apr 27, 2017
      • Hello All, exactly the same process with the plastic pots. In the picture below you can see the first plastic pot I've done. -Handan