As we nurture our plants on their journey from seed to flower or fruit, the pot in which they sit is often neglected. Here are some ideas to pep up your plant pots and brighten your patio or windowsill. Release your inner artist and learn how to decorate a flower pot with our clever, crafty ideas!
Before you start:
Clean the pots you intend to decorate with soapy water. Dry them well and patch up any cracks.
Remember to use gloves when handling PVA, putty and paint, and to protect your work area so that you don’t have permanent paint spots. Let’s get started.
The easiest option to brighten up an old flower pot is to paint it. This works beautifully on earthenware and plastic pots, although it is best to add the plant after you’ve painted or paint may spatter on leaves. To prevent paint from seeping through to the soil, I normally start with a sealant layer.
- Apply a thin layer of varnish or PVA to seal the pot. Allow it to dry thoroughly.
- Draft a few designs on paper before you start painting. If there are any borders on the pot, you could include these in your painting plan.
- Select your paint colours. It will depend on whether your pot needs to battle with the rain outdoors or if it is a plant that lives indoors. Waterproof craft paints are available. Acrylics will dry to be water-resistant but read the label carefully before you buy.
- Start painting, letting each coat dry before applying the next. Rinse the brush well between each colour.
- If you like, you can add stickers or glitter after the paint dries.
- Finally, if you want the new colours to last, you can varnish the pot or simply use another layer of PVA, which works in the same way. Allow it to dry thoroughly before you add your plant.
Collage is derived from the French word coller meaning to stick. Artists through the ages have used paper and card to create a different pattern or texture and you can do the same on your flower pots.
When you think of the amount of paper that makes its way through your letterbox and all the printed material on the packaging you purchase, you have a fantastic, free resource to use for decorating plant pots.
Old cards and gift wrap can work well too. These tend to be thicker so soak them in a bowl of water for a few minutes before using them to enable you to tear them.
- Tear the material into interesting shapes and start sticking them onto the glue. You can make piles of different colours so that you can just pick one, stick and move on to the next section.
- Wear gloves and start painting a layer of PVA on your pot as both sealant and adhesive for the paper.
- Press the edges down securely and continue right around the pot. You can secure thicker pieces by gluing the edges with a thinner piece on top.
- Look at it from a distance to see if you like the pattern!
- Finally, give it another layer of PVA to seal it and allow it to dry thoroughly.
3D shell decoration
Putty with embedded shells can transform a flower pot into a seaside holiday memento. You will need PVA, putty and some decorative shells (or beads).
Craft shops are full of items you can use and you may be able to upcycle a favourite broken necklace by using the individual beads.
You can use masking tape to get straight edges too. Stick a section where you want a straight line, then remove it after application. Paint can also be applied after the putty dries.
- Wearing gloves, knead the putty to distribute the elements evenly before you open the pack.
- Next, apply a layer of PVA which will both seal the pot and allow the putty to stick well to the surface.
- While the PVA is still sticky, start applying the putty evenly around the area of the pot you want to decorate. You might just want to create a border or you can apply it around the whole pot.
- Place the pot upside down on a firm surface so that you can continue to work on the sides.
- Start to press your shells into the putty. If they’re heavy, you might need to add more PVA or craft glue. This part is very creative so choose your shells and start arranging them nicely.
- Once you’re happy with the design, leave the pot upside down to dry.
- You can give the pot a final layer of varnish to weatherproof it if you’re using it outside.
I only recommend fabric for indoor pots because if it gets wet, it won’t last very long. However, on an indoor pot, fabric can look fantastic. Choose it to match the location and the plant.
- Use coloured ribbons and glue them in place, as a border around the top of the pot with PVA.
- Cut shapes from old patterned shirts or dresses and apply these to the pot, making sure there are no raggedy edges. Press them firmly into the glue on a pot.
- Fringes from old lampshades can provide fabulous edging on pots. Glue them onto the ribbon or use on their own.
- Wool can be rolled into shapes or plaited and used as a border. You can find many gorgeous ideas for hand-crocheted or knitted plant pot covers online. These contrast beautifully with the spikes of a snake plant, spider plant or an aloe vera.
Plant pot presents
- Paint brightly coloured designs onto earthenware pots and gift them to your gardening friends. Add a trowel, gloves and some seeds and your present is complete.
- Choose personal pictures for a unique collage pot. It might be butterflies, a special country, the fish they strive to catch or cartoons for a younger person. The love shows through in any homemade present and this pot will be treasured forever.
- Get creative and upcycle old plastic pots. Drill a few holes into the bottom of an old yoghurt or peanut butter pot and give it a new lease of life. They can be painted, decorated with beads and seeds, or collaged. If the recipient is a keen recycler, they will truly appreciate your upcycling efforts. You can even plant the pot with a perennial flower like a hyacinth that can be potted on into their garden.
If you’re planning to grow edible food in any of these flower pots after re-decorating, then make sure the paint, putty or PVA has dried completely before you plant the seeds.
It might be better to grow non-edibles if you are worried about possible leakage from paint.