Love the look of aged terra cotta pots? Find out how to create DIY aged black pottery from basic terracotta pots with just a few steps.
I’m no stranger to DIY faux aged finishes: aged terracotta pots, layered and chipped paint finish, vintage patina on metal, antique gold leaf effect, worn paint look… I’ve probably tried an aged finish on almost every surface (except my skin, of course 😉 ).
And though I’ve been drawn to more crisp, clean furniture lines recently, I’m loving the trend of black aged terracotta pots and other antique decorative accents. So I decided to try my hand at my own DIY aged pottery look with some terra cotta pots I already had.
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How do you make pottery look old?
There are many ways you can do this (including a recent trend to give a mud wash to pots after spray painting them), but I had two main criteria for my black clay pottery look:
- Authentic aged look
- Sturdy enough finish to actually use for interior potted plants
As such, this tutorial uses materials that are not necessarily outdoor weather proof, though they would likely be fine on a well-covered porch. The finish is sturdy enough to withstand gentle water and wiping, though. It will not wash off when a few drips from the watering can overflow the side of the pot.
It is not as smooth as barro negro pottery (which is a black clay pottery from Mexico). My parents actually have lots of beautiful barro negro pots, and they are smoother and thinner than these terra cotta pots. If you are trying to achieve that look, you might want to start with glass vases instead of hefty terra cotta pots.
DIY Aged Black Pottery Tutorial
I’ve made you a little video, but there are also picture and written instructions below if you prefer that!
- terra cotta pot (preferably with some urn-like shape)
- matte black spray paint
- dark gray paint
- (optional) medium gray paint and/or cream paint
- plaster of paris
- mud (I mixed water and potting soil for a thick, pasty mixture)
How to give a pot an aged look
Give a basic terra cotta pot an aged finish with this DIY aged black pottery tutorial
- Lightly spray paint the pot black
Using a matte black spray paint, give the entire pot a light dusting. Full coverage isn’t needed (actually, it’s better to have a tiny bit of the terra cotta still peeking through here and there).
- Mix plaster of paris into gray paint(s)
While the spray paint dries, add heaping spoonfuls of plaster of paris into your gray or cream paint(s). Stir until mostly combined. Some lumps are actually ok; the paint should be thick, not runny.
- Dry brush the gray paint onto the pot
If you are using multiple colors, begin with the darkest and then layer on the lighter colors. Lightly brush the gray paint(s) in random patterns over the pot, focusing on the upper curved surfaces where natural aging is most likely to have occurred. Try to avoid brush strokes, but if they are obvious, use a paper towel to blot the paint.
- Rub dirt into the paint.
As the paint is drying (before it is completely dry!), get a small amount of mud in your fingers and rub it into the wet paint. The mud doesn’t have to be anything special; I just mixed some water into my potting soil. The dirt will both smudge the paint, giving it a more natural aged effect. It will also create texture on the pot which, once the paint is dry, is securely set and should not wash off if the pot gets wet.
I just love the way these pots turned out!
I did one pot (the urn-shaped one) with just one dark charcoal gray, while I did the other pot (the bee-hive shaped one) with charcoal, medium gray, and cream. They both turned out lovely, just with a different overall color.
If you do have trouble with the finish not withstanding watering, you could follow up with a matte sealer. I have now been watering these new little fiddle leaf fig clippings often, though, and they finishes have stayed beautifully. You could also fill the pot with faux plants, of course, and not worry about the water.
I just love diy projects that help me turn something I already have into something fresh and new (or old, as the case my be 😉 ).