Marbleized Terra Cotta Pots Painted With Shaving Cream

Terra cotta pots are a staple of outdoor gardening, but let’s face it, they can be a little dull. While there are many ways you can dress them up, here is a painting technique that creates a marbleized pattern thanks to good ol’ shaving cream.

I've used this shaving cream technique for Easter eggs to make swirled color eggs, so I thought I'd try it with terra cotta pots too.
Paint a base coat of any color on the clay pots using chalky finish paint, and let it dry for at least an hour. Chalky finish paint does not require a primer and dries to a matte finish. The matte finish is important because the paint that will later be applied will rub off if the finish is glossy.
Apply shaving cream to a large plate or baking dish, and spread it out with your fingers. You don’t need too much. The layer of shaving cream should only be about a half inch thick.
Place drops of acrylic paint randomly on top of the shaving cream. I use paint specifically designed for outdoor patios because it withstands the elements, and it is actually sold in crafts stores right next to the clay pots. Choose two to three colors.
Dip a skewer into the shaving cream and run it through the paint vertically and horizontally to create swirls in the paint. Don’t swirl the paint too much. You want to create distinct swirls rather than have the paint mix and become muddled.
Place the clay pot at one end of the plate and roll it across the shaving cream and paint. The shaving cream acts like a “cloud” to support the pot as it rolls and picks up the paint. Wear plastic gloves to avoid getting paint all over your hands.
After the pot is covered in shaving cream and paint, let it sit for about an hour so the paint that's touching the pot becomes set.
Blot off any excess shaving cream with a paper towel. Try to use clean towels as you blot so that the excess paint that has transferred to the towels does not go back on to the pot. 
Let the marbled pots dry for about two hours before handling and using them.     
You can use them as planters for succulents.
Or wire the pots to a wreath form for a gorgeous succulent wreath.
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Jonathan Fong

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


Have a question about this project?

3 of 28 questions
  • Chris G
    on May 11, 2019

    I checked the link to the nail polish version. Is it necessary to paint the interior of the pot? Is it to protect plants from the chemicals in nail polish or the sealant?

    • John Lewallen
      on May 11, 2019

      Same answer as below:

      I recommend sealing the inside of terra cotta pots before painting with a finish you don't want absorbed, or chalky in appearance.

      Use a sealant spray (easily purchased at any craft store) to seal the inside of your pot. Spray the inside of your pot with a full coat of spray.

      Apply additional coats as needed. Since terra cotta pots are so porous, you may have to repeat this 3 or 4 times. Make sure you allow each coat to dry before applying another.

      I would soak the pot in warm water for 30 min. first. Then wipe clean and let dry throughly. This will rid the pot of a majority of dirt and chaulk.

  • Cynthia Bush Justice
    on May 11, 2019

    I painted some clay pots and even painted the inside to help prevent the dirty water from bleeding through after I water my plants. The dirty water stain still bled through to the outside. Shouldn't you paint something on the inside of the pots to prevent this from happening?

    • Jan
      on May 6, 2020

      Easy solution. Keep the plant in the plastic pot it came in, and put that in the clay pot. That way the dirt doesn't touch the clay pot. And, you can change the plants anytime without a mess.

  • Mara Vsn
    on Sep 10, 2019

    hi. I like this idea and will try it.

    Do I barnish after?


Join the conversation

2 of 161 comments
  • LaRena Dorsey
    on Aug 28, 2019


  • Mara Vsn
    on Sep 28, 2019

    I did one and came out good, not marbeled but interesting.

    I tryed it again on a plastic pot, did not dry as the first one and

    will have to do it again. oh well. have to try it again. Thanks

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