Use Mud and Paint to Update Boring Planters

4 Materials
1 Hour

Easily give boring or old planters or vases a sophisticated facelift by painting them and smearing them with mud.

I searched for two years for planters that were a modern shape, large in size, and a sophisticated color that would go well on our front porch. After not having any luck I decided to DIY a pair to fit our needs.


For this project I used a pair of plastic textured planters that started with a salt and pepper finish. If you want a textured finish, using planters or vases that already have texture makes it easier to achieve the look. However, the mud will add some texture, and if needed, you can use Plaster of Paris to create the texture you desire.

STEP 1: Paint the Planters

I used a black spray paint to fully cover the old finish on the planters. Hand painting will also work. The type of paint you use should be determined by where you plan to place your finished planters. I have found spray paint to be the easiest and quickest way to cover the planters or vases, it's quick drying, and it holds up well to the elements indoors and out.

STEP 2: Mix Your Mud

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I used mud front our flower beds. Any mud will work, just be cognizant of the color of the mud because that is the color it will dry on your planters and vases.

The goal is to create a brownie batter consistency that is as free of rocks as possible.

STEP 3: Apply the Mud

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Use your fingers to apply the mud in the pattern you like. I went with sweeping side to side motions to create more of a pottery-like look.

STEP 4: Let the Mud Dry

Let your mud dry fully.

STEP 5: Wipe Off Excess Mud

Typically the last step would be to use a dry or damp cloth to remove any excess mud and knock off any large clumps. For these planters, the texture on them caused them to hold more mud than I wanted, so after wiping a few sections with a damp cloth, I went back over some areas with the spray paint until I achieved the look I wanted.


So far these have held up well to the constant sun and heat exposure of the front porch. They look like high end planters, but cost much less.

For more examples of using this technique or updating vases with spray paint visit my blog The Barn Collective and my instagram account here.

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Mark
    on Apr 25, 2020

    Sorry , I don’t get. What’s going to keep the dried mud from falling off the planters when it rains or you’re watering your plants and it spills over the sides? If the pots are plastic as mentioned, once you move them or plant anything in them won’t they flex. This would cause the mud to separate from the lots.

  • Donna
    on Apr 25, 2020

    How do you clean stainless steel without streaking?

    • Jan Johnson
      on May 8, 2020

      I agree with Lorena. Norwex cloths are the best. I even travel with them to clean things.

  • Sue Sanders
    on Apr 26, 2020

    Did you put a sealer over the mud to protect it from rain.

    • Lauren
      on Apr 27, 2020

      On the cases I’ve used this technique for inside I didn’t. I also didn’t plan to for these however since I went back over them in places with the black paint I think it sealed them some. You could spray a clear coat over them to protect them if needed.

Join the conversation

4 of 23 comments
  • Deb
    on Apr 26, 2020

    No, because I see others question the mud running if it rains. I’d like to see the answer.

  • Susie
    on Apr 27, 2020

    They really are pretty. But, the plastic pots I've painted peal off after a couple of years on the heat of the sun. I hope you have better luck with yours.

    • Lauren
      on Apr 29, 2020

      I think because these are so textured and I used an enamel spray paint they should hold up pretty well. Worst case they might where where the bumps and grooves are, but it would just add to the sort of plastered character, worn look I was going for.

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