Creative Flair for your Outdoor Space: Painting Plastic Pots with Style

Welcome to ‘Painting Plastic Pots’ – your guide to adding a stylish touch to your garden and home! In this post, we’ll explore the simple yet transformative art of painting plastic flower pots and embellishing them with texture and mould castings.  Whether you’re looking to refresh your patio, balcony, or indoor space, I’ll share tips and techniques on how to paint plastic pots to look expensive.  So gather your supplies; it’s time to give your plants a charming, unique home they deserve!

Supplies for Painting Plastic Pots to Look Expensive

Paints formulated for plastic

Paint Brushes

Chip Brush

Primer (only if your paint is not formulated for plastic)

Air Dry Clay


Corn Starch

Silicone Moulds

Crust Texture Medium(optional)

Water (for mixing with paint)

Damp Terry Cloth Rags


Painting Plastic Pots to Look Expensive: How to Choose

Honestly, any plastic flower pot will work for painting;  Just look for a size and shape that inspires you.  Oftentimes, the planter that comes with your purchased plant works great, which is  kind to your wallet as well as the environment. Here’s the one I started with:

plain plastic pot before painting

How to Prepare Plastic Pots for Painting

The first thing to do to prepare a plastic pot for painting is to clean.  Wash any dirt off and then allow to dry.  Now determine what kind of paint you will be using.  If the paint is formulated for plastic, then you’re ready to paint.  If it’s not; then use a primer before painting. Refer to Step 4 below.

Plan Design for Painting Plastic Pot

Before you dive into painting, plan your design. Do you prefer florals, animal motifs, or maybe something more classic? Consider the pot’s location and how it will complement your space.  I love using IOD silicone moulds and air dry clay to embellish my pots.  It gives them so much character and uniqueness, and with the variety of silicone moulds available, your choices of design are limitless.

Step-by-Step Guide for Painting Plastic Pots

If you prefer a VIDEO TUTORIAL, scroll down below.

Step 1: Make Mould Castings

So what are mould castings?  Mould castings are images made by filling shaped silicone moulds with a medium of some sort.  For round or curved surfaces such as most planters, air-dry clay is the best medium to use.   The softness of the clay allows the casting to easily mold to its surface.  In my humble opinion, using  clay castings is how to make plastic pots look expensive.  There is such a variety of moulds to choose from; Painting plastic planters has never been easier! For this tutorial, I used the Sunflower Mould and the Hello Pumpkin Mould, with air dry clay, all by Iron Orchid Designs.

Tip:  Resins, such as epoxy or urethane, are also great mediums to use in silicone moulds for your DIY projects.  You can read The Art of Resin Casting for more details.

Before adding the air dry clay to the mould, you’ll want to dust it with a little cornstarch.  The cornstarch helps the clay image release easily from the mould.

Pinch off enough clay that you think you’ll need for the image and press it firmly into mould.  Remove excess clay with your thumb and fingers.

You’ll also want to smooth the clay after filling the mould to ensure level adhesion when glueing to the plastic pot.  This can easily be done with a paint brush handle by rolling it up and down the clay.

Smoothing back of mould casting with paint brush handle.

Once you’ve completed decorating with your embellish Painted Flower Pots, check out another DIY decor project using mould castings: How to Up Cycle Old Books for Beautiful Home Decor!  And if that’s not enough, mould castings can also be used to make your own wall art: Here’s How to Use Air Dry Clay to Make a 3D Church.  

Step 2: De-Mould and Glue Castings onto Plastic Pot

Now it’s time to de-mould and glue the casting onto the pot. Turn the mould over and bend it, allowing the casting to ease out.  Try not to pull on the clay which could cause stretching or smudging of the design.

de moulding casting from mould

Cover entire back of mould with glue and position onto pot.  I use Tite-Bond Quick & Thick glue because it dries quickly and holds really well.

Glueing casting onto plastic pot.

Repeat the process of adding various mould castings to create your overall design, then allow the castings to dry hard (8-10 hours).

Tip:  On surfaces that don’t lie flat, heating the castings with a heat gun can help the glue dry quicker and keep castings from sliding off.  You can also use painters’ tape to lightly hold castings in place.

For more tips using air dry clay and moulds, sign up for my Creative community below and I’ll send you my cheat sheet for perfect clay castings!

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    Step 3:  Add Crust Texture Medium to Plastic Pot

    Crust is a favorite product of mine.  It’s a texture medium by Paint Couture that adds so much flair to projects and it’s perfect for painting plastic pots to look like stone or concrete.  It goes on like a paste and dries hard.

    Crust texture medium

    Using a paint brush, spread the Crust in random places on the plastic pot, including the mould castings.  You don’t have to get complete coverage but you can add as much as you want.  Allow Crust to dry for 8-10 hours.

    Adding Crust texture medium to plastic pot and mould castings.

    You can also get a little fancy with the Crust medium.  Check out these DIY metallic pumpkins!

    Step 4:  Paint with Paints that can be used on Plastic Pots

    Painting the plastic pot is where your pot starts to come alive!  I always say that the creative process has an ugly stage; but just keep going!  You’ll be wowed in no time!

    My favorite paint for painting plastic pots is a clay based chalk paint by DIY Paint Company.  This paint works well on plastic and most any other surface; So no primer needed!  Using a paint brush, I brushed on one coat of DIY paint in the color White Swan, being sure to fill in areas around my mould castings.  If you are not using a paint that can be directly used on plastic pots, then you will want to prime your plastic pot first with a bonding primer.

    Painting plastic pot with white paint.

    Step 5: Create a Dark Paint Wash

    Before creating the paint wash, have a few damp terry cloth rags nearby.

    A paint wash is nothing more than watered down paint.  I used a dark grey paint color and mixed a small amount with water.   You just want to add shading, so a little bit will do.   I actually had too much paint in my wash and had to dampen a paint brush to move the paint around.  A good ratio would probably be 6-8 parts water to 1 part paint (depending on your paint).  DIY paint is very pigmented so a small amount goes a long way.

    Brush the paint wash over an area of the painted pot, letting it settle in all the nooks and crannies.  It’s best to work in sections because the paint wash will dry quickly.

    Adding paint wash to painted plastic pot.

    If you learn better by video, scroll down below!

    Step 6: Wipe back Paint Wash

    Using a damp terrycloth rag, wipe the paint wash back off, allowing it to stay down in the details of the mould castings.  It’s important to have several damp rags nearby because one quickly gets saturated with the dark color.  It may take several attempts to wipe back all the paint wash necessary, but it’ll be worth it.  I promise!  Again,  try using a very diluted paint wash and the process will be easier.

    Tip:  If the paint wash seems difficult to remove, you can spritz it with water or use a damp paint brush to loosen up the paint and then try wiping it back again.

    Wiping back paint wash from painted plastic pot.

    Step 7: Dry Brush with White Paint (Optional)

    This step is optional but it’s like adding a cherry on top! Using a chip brush, dip it into a small amount of paint and offload onto a paper towel.  Then very lightly brush the white paint on top of the mould castings and the crust areas.  There should be a minimal amount of paint on the tips of the brush bristles.

    Step 8:  Seal Painted Plastic Pot

    After everything is dry, apply a good sealant to protect your artwork, especially if the pot will be outdoors.

    Sealing painted plastic pot.


    Pot Placement and Plant Selection

    Place your newly painted pot in a spot where it enhances its surroundings. Choose plants that complement the pot’s design – vibrant flowers for a colorful pot, or lush greens for a more understated look.

    Maintenance Tips

    Again, if placing pots outdoors, be sure to use a good outdoor sealer.  Also, keep them covered and out of harsh weather conditions when possible.

    So, what do you think? Painting plastic pots is a super fun way to add a personal touch to your space. It’s a beautiful DIY project that’s not only easy but kind to your wallet and the environment. You get to turn something plain into a colorful, unique piece that spruces up any corner of your home. Whether you’re a seasoned crafter or just starting out, the joy of seeing your creation come to life is a feeling that can’t be beat. So, grab a plastic pot, maybe a mould or two, and wow your friends and family!

    If you have any questions about using air dry clays with the moulds, join my creative community and I’ll send you my cheat sheet for getting perfect clay castings!

    Does Casting with Air Dry Clay seem like a Mystery?

    I can help! Join my Creative community and I’ll send over a list of all my tips and tricks for getting perfect castings!

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

      Let me know in the comments if you try this!

      XO, Joanie

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