Fun 'n Easy Stacked Patriotic Planters

Elena K, Hometalk Team
by Elena K, Hometalk Team
10 Materials
2-3 Hours
July 4th is just around the corner and I'm almost done with all my decorations!
These will look great in your garden, on your porch, on your patio, or even on your steps. Stay with me to find how I turned 3 boring clay pots into a focal point.
White, Red, and Blue: combine colors at will!
After making a wreath for the front door ( and adding a patriotic edge to my window box (, I've been working on a set of patriotic pots to welcome all my guests.
Materials you'll need for this project

- 3 Clay/Terracota pots of different sizes: I used 10", 8" (azalea shape) and 5"

- Spray paint, water-based exterior paint, or acrylic paint in white, red, & blue

- Sticky vinyl letters

- Newspaper

- Mask

- Plastic gloves

- X-acto or utility knife

- Foam paint sponge or foam roller, if using paint instead of spray paint

- Brush (optional)

- Silver or White Stars stickers (optional)

Wanted to try different painting techniques so I used spray paint, water based exterior, and acrylic-one on each different pot.

I realized spray paint is definitely faster but it's toxic and messier. At the end, I liked the acrylic applied with a roller the best.

I'll give you a more detailed account at the end!

TIP: Keep in mind that either way, you'll need to apply a couple of coats.

I'll be stacking the pots, so to make the "tower" a little shorter and more stable I used an azalea-shaped pot in the middle.

TIP: It's OK to paint slightly used pots. Make sure they're well cleaned and don't have any debris or price stickers.
Let's start with the top pot!
STEP 1: Place Letters Along the Rim of Your First (smallest) Pot

Open the stick-on letters bag. We're going to stick a G, an O, and a D to make the word GOD onto the small 5" pot.

Don't press yet. Place the letter first in position, and gently press to keep them in place.

TIP: The letter may tear if you try to reposition it - so it's a good idea to get a package with at least 2 or 3 of each.

Continue to complete your word, and finally press hard.
Time to paint it white!
STEP 2: Paint the Pot White

Get your materials and working table outside, or fully open the windows. Having good ventilation is important: Spray paint is not the healthiest in the block!

Put your mask and vinyl gloves on, and place the pot over the newspaper. Hold the spray about 1 foot away and gently press.

TIP: The paint tends to run off causing drips. I found pressing the nozzle gently (instead of all the way down) plus using small taps instead of a continuous and hard press, minimized drips.

Apply all the way around and let it dry for at least 30min before you reapply.

TIP: wait about 30 min and lightly touch the paint with your fingertip. If it feels sticky is not fully dry. Wait until it has fully dried to apply next coat.
Let tackle the blue!
STEP 3: Letter and Paint the Second Pot

Repeat STEP 1 to make the word "BLESS"

I wasn't quite happy with the results of the spray paint: it was messy, and more importantly, the fumes were really strong! (And as I mentioned in an earlier post, I have a bit of asthma and have to be careful.)

So this time, I'm going to use a different technique: water based acrylic paint applied with a foam sponge brush.

TIP: You can get any foam sponge from 1.5" - 2.5"

Again, get your gloves, mask, newspaper, and blue paint. You can also use an exterior paint-make sure it works in all surfaces, including terracota-or just acrylic in a tube from your art supply store.

I used what I had handy: blue acrylic from a tube diluted in a bit in water to thin it.

TIP: You can get blue water based exterior paint from your home center, and that would make.

Stir the paint well and apply with the sponge brush.
First coat done! Let's apply another one :-)
STEP 4: Add Extra Coats When Needed

The blue pot (as the white and red) will need at least one more coat to get an even covering. You'll need to wait until the paint dries to continue. (See earlier tip to know when paint is dry)

Feel free to apply a second-and third, if necessary-coat.

TIP: while you're waiting for the paint to dry, you can move onto the next step and come back to the blue paint later.
Almost there: time for the red now!
STEP 5: Letter and Paint the Third Pot

Here again, you can use a water based exterior paint or an acrylic tube. To get the perfect red, I'm getting fancy and will mix two red acrylic colors with a little water using a large brush to stir well.

TIP: If you go with a water-based paint, stir well before you use it.

One more time, get your gloves, mask, newspaper, and the red paint you just mixed.
Ready to roll? Let's do it!
Before you start painting, add your letters to make the word "AMERICA."

For this final color I'm going to try another technique: a foam roller!

TIP: Of course, you don't need to try the spray paint, the foam sponge brush, and the roller. I'm just trying to show you how you can complete the same project in different ways; and which technique I liked the best.

Dip the brush in the paint and apply to the clay pot. Then use the roller to even out the paint.

TIP: Or, skip the brush and dip the roller in your paint and directly apply - as you'd do if you're painting a wall.
Here they are: my white, red, and blue pots!
STEP 6: Reapply Paint Where Needed

Looking good! Before we move on and start peeling off the letter, let's take a look at the paint job: Do you like the finish? Is it even? If you're happy with the coverage, skip this part and go to STEP 7.

If you feel the paint needs to be a bit more even, apply another coat.

Remember: It doesn't need to be perfect! But you need to be happy with it.
Let's make a fancy rim!
STEP 7: Add a Different Shade to the Rims

Since each pot has a different color, I decided to make all the three rims a darker blue. It serves two purposes:

1. It will make the letters pop a little more.

2. And ill unify my pots and color scheme.

TIP: Again this is a step you can skip-up to you! :-)

But if you decide to go all the way thru, all you need is get a darker blue and apply that color to just the rim. I used the roller and suggest you do as well.

TIP: After the first coat of paint, wait at least 30 min for a second application.
What a surprise! I really like the dark rim!
Don't you think if makes a difference?

So if you don't, or prefer to keep it simple, skip STEP 7 and move onto 8.
Time to tackle the letters!
STEP 8: Peel of Those Letters!

Exciting! We're finally ready to peel the letters off.

Use your x-acto or utility knife to score around each letter. It's likely the paint adhered to the plastic letters and may peel off when pulling.

TIP: Scoring before pulling will prevent this from happening.

Go ahead, score and gently, pull one letter at a time. Take your time-I know you can't wait to see it finished but no need to rush!
And voila! I think we did a nice job :-)
Don't you think the blue rim made a difference?

We're almost done. But before we make it pretty, let's recap for a minute:

We used the white spray paint in the small (white) pot and it bled-you can see how the white went under the letters. The medium (blue)-where we used the foam sponge to apply the paint-seems a little better. But still, a little bleeding occurred.

However, the red is perfect! If I had to do it again, I'd use the brush & roller technique with acrylic tube paint.

TIP: Besides, I suggest you press the letters hard to improve adherence and use a foam roller to apply the paint.

Ok, let's move on!
Time for some planting!
STEP 9: Plant Your Patriotic Flowers

To keep my patriotic theme going, I decided to just use petunias in two colors: white and blue. They're fast growers, need little maintenance, and love the sun. So they make a perfect choice for summer.

Get your flowers ready, good soil (I'm using manure, but compost is also a great choice), a small trowel and the larger pot. We're going to start at the bottom.

Fill the red pot almost all the way up.

TIP: before you plant your flowers in the large (red) pot, place the medium (blue) on top and lightly press. That'll give you an indication of how much space your plants will have.

Since I'm going to put my patriotic "tower" against a corner, I won't need to plant flowers in the back so pots can be off-centered: That gives me more planting room in the front.

Anyway, go ahead and plant your flowers in the low level. Once you're finished, move onto the second, and finally the third.

TIP: Because we have so many colors already, keeping the flowers to fewer colors will probably look better!

But again, you can go wild here: This is such a fun project!
These pots are definitely the focal point!
Before you put it in a prominent spot, let's make it shine!

Lucky me, I found silver stars stickers that I'm going to use in the base of the red pot. They're so easy to apply! All you need to do it peel and stick.

So if you have stars-in white or silver-go ahead and add them to your red pot.

Now - We're done!

And with this project, I've completed my July 4th garden decor.

Again, you can view my other posts here- here:

Happy Independence Day, ya'll!
Suggested materials:
  • 3 Clay/Terracota pots of different sizes: I used 10", 8" (azalea shape) and 5"   (Garden Center)
  • Spray paint, water-based exterior paint, or acrylic paint in white, red, & blue   (Garden Center or Craft Store)
  • Peel off letters   (Craft Store)
See all materials
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • Grandmasue10 Grandmasue10 on Jun 30, 2016
    What is Azalea shaped? All the pots look like regular round pots to me.

  • Nell Nell on Jun 30, 2016
    What are azalea pots?

  • Johnny Huckaby Johnny Huckaby on Dec 23, 2018

    Since you used water based acrylic paint without a varnish or sealant won't the paint get washed away eventually, when watering the flowers?

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