DIY: Decoupage a Terracotta Pot (with a child’s drawings)

I have Renee from About the Garden here with a fantastic Father’s Day gift idea!

An Easy Way to Decoupage a Terracotta Pot with Artwork

how to decoupage a pot

My Dad is the best Poppy! Not only is his shed a small gallery of all things artistic created by my little people, but he seriously still displays art that my siblings and I created some twenty something-something years ago. Whilst I adore that my Dad gives every item, no matter how amateur, the chance to shine, I thought this year I’d try to encourage my children to create something useful Poppy could use.

The thinking cap went on. But dear oh me, how do you give the man that has everything something useful?

Then light bulb! My Dad has always been a keen gardener, I remember pottering around with him in our back gardens picking tomatoes, rosella and squash. We always had an abundance of fruit trees (mango season was something to behold in our yard with over six trees) and more recently he has created a little oasis in the pergola area for all manner of potted plant.

So armed with my Dad’s love of pot plants and my children’s love of art, it seemed only natural to combine the two into an original Father’s Day Gift for 2014. 


Terracotta Pot

PVA Glue

Pencil & drawing materials

Paint brushes



Small flowering plant or succulent

How to make a decoupage pot

Step 1: Making a Template

It’s not as easy as printing off a template to use as terracotta pots come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. I found the easiest way to make the correct size template for the children to draw on, was to create my own. This is how:

1. Place a starting mark on the pot.

how to decoupage a pot
2. Holding a sharp pencil to paper and against the base of the pot, slowly roll the pot across the paper, using your starter mark as an indicator of where you need to stop. This should create a natural arched pencil line.

how to decoupage a pot

3. Repeat #2, but this time holding the pencil under the top lip of the pot.

how to decoupage a pot
4. Cut out the drawn template, don’t stress if it is a little large, this can be fixed later on.

how to decoupage a pot

TIP: If you’ve purchased more than one pot in the same size, you can photocopy or track around your initial template to save time. A good reason to buy pots the same size! 

how to decoupage a pot

What size pot is best? 

Really, it’s up to you what size pot you choose. For a first time project select something smaller over a gigantic terracotta pot, as it is much easier to work with. Ensure that whatever pot size you select it’s going to fit the plant you want, noting that most garden centers stock starts in 180mm pots.

Step 2: The Art

This part was easy. After I cut out the drawn template, I set the children to work with colouring pencils. I choose pencils over felt pens as they do not run when wet and I wasn’t sure how crayons would effect the protective layers required to make the pots water proof.

Alternatively, you can use artwork your children have already created and just cut to template size or rip into pieces for a layered decoupage look. 

how to decoupage a pot

how to decoupage a pot

Step 3: Glue Mix

Decoupage is all about glue. There are specialized products you can purchase from craft stores like Mod Podge, however diluted PVA glue does the same job.

Dilute two (2) parts PVA glue with one (1) part water, and mix together well. You want the glue consistency to be easy to paint onto the pot with a standard paintbrush. The glue will have a whiteness to it initially, but will dry clear.

TIP: You can mix glitter into the diluted PVA glue for that extra bit of SPARKLE! Or if you wish to paint directly onto your terracotta pot, mix PVA glue with colour paint pigments.

Step 4: Sticking and Painting

Application of the drawn template piece is a little fiddly, so unless you have older children, it’s a job for an adult. Here is how to get started:

1. Get the children to paint the terracotta pot all over with the glue mix and let dry. Then repeat. This process adds an excellent waterproof layer to the pot and will limit potential water damage to the paper artwork.

How to make your own decoupage glue
2. This is the adult part. Recoat terracotta pot with glue mix, than carefully but quickly apply the artwork, gently rubbing your hands over the surface to get the paper to adhere to the terracotta pot. Don’t worry too much if there are a few wrinkles, but you do want to push out any air bubbles trapped underneath.

how to decoupage a pot

3. Trim off any excess paper artwork around the bottom of the pot. Apply glue mix and glue the edges down. Tipping the terracotta pot upside down, allow the glue to dry.

how to decoupage a pothow to decoupage a pot

4. Most decoupage work requires numerous coats; ten (10) is what we did for this project, to seal and waterproof the paper artwork displayed. We spent a day coming back to our pots every 30-40 minutes a part and painted on another layer. Once complete give the pots a good week to dry out before adding the plants.

how to decoupage a pot

TIP: Whilst not essential for this project, it’s usually recommended with decoupage projects to give the surface a light sand after every application of glue mix. 

OPTIONAL: Kelly has had success using an outdoor varnish over projects like this to help to preserve colour. Jo Sonja’s Gloss Varnish – Indoor & Outdoor Use works well (available from specialist craft stores like Spotlight).

Step 5: Selecting the plants 

With our pots, we decided not to pot up, but rather have the plants from the garden centre sit inside the pots, so Poppy could pot himself. Poppy loves succulents, so my children selected two beautiful little succulent plants, one with the most beautiful orange flowers!

how to decoupage a pot

how to decoupage a pot

how to decoupage a pot

how to decoupage a pot

I loved this Father’s Day project, as it was something that my two and five year old could both get involved in. Best of all this method of decoupage is so versatile and cheap!

Pin it

Pin this idea for later. There’s a pin ready image to re-pin here.

Other Father’s Day Craft Ideas

Paddle Pop Sitck Note Pad Holder

Rock Paper Weight

Pen Holder Photo

Painted Frame

Decoupage Pot

Hand Print Canvas



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  • Reply
    Father’s Day Craft: Painted Frame
    August 4, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    […] Decoupage Pot […]

  • Reply
    August 5, 2014 at 6:37 am

    Love it Renee, almost simple enough that I could do it…almost

    • Reply
      August 5, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      Bahaaa…. I’m sure you could Dana. Try the ‘rip’ & ‘stick’ version (ripping strips of paper & glueing onto the pot), it’s the easiest way to start 🙂

      Have fun!

  • Reply
    Kelly Be A Fun Mum
    August 5, 2014 at 10:08 am

    This is fabulous Renee!

    • Reply
      August 5, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      Thanks Kelly 🙂 Was so much fun to make. We’re making some more & potting them with herbs ….. YUM!

  • Reply
    The Hungry Mum
    August 11, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    what a sweet gift idea – my mum would love this. I discovered your fab blog via the Problogger FB post RE newbies attending the Gold Coast event – I’ll be there for the first time, too. Excited/nervous 🙂

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      August 12, 2014 at 9:23 am

      I’m so glad you found your way here! Please make sure you say hi (and I will too)! See you soon!


  • Reply
    Amy Ellingsworth
    October 8, 2016 at 6:44 am

    Exactly what glue did you use? I cant figure out a way to make paper stick to my terra cotta candy jars I made. After a week or so the paper is easily pealed off. I used rubber cement the first time and a clear sealant matte spray the second time. Neither one worked.

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