How to paint a terracotta pot ? How to proceed ?

Today, when we talk about terracotta pots, we mainly think of flower pots that can be found on the market. However, many amateurs take pleasure in creating pots and other objects, within the framework of associations offering pottery workshops.

When the pot is already cooked, the only solution to decorate it is to paint it. How to proceed ? What paint?

Before painting the terracotta pot

Terracotta is a porous material that can be painted with any paint, water or solvent.

The different methods we indicate here will only work:

  • if the terracotta pot you want to paint is not covered with any waterproofing coating,
  • if the surface to be painted is perfectly clean.
  • either by soaking the walls with a vegetable oil,
  • or by using a waterproofing varnish.

The choice of paint will depend on the subsequent use of the pot, indoors or outdoors.

If you want to fill your pot with soil, it is necessary to waterproof the inside, before or after painting your pot, regardless of:

Painting terracotta naturally with lime

Lime is a very old material, natural and biological, which allows to obtain finishes with soft and matte aspects.

In DIY superstores, you will find small bags of lime blossom. This powder is obtained from quicklime slaked with water. Lime blossom should be handled with care: protective goggles and gloves are highly recommended.

Depending on the desired finish, you will add more or less water to your lime blossom to make what is called a “whitewash”.

Coloring milk of lime is only done with pigments of mineral origin. It is better to use only one because the mixtures are difficult to master.

Since lime has a high bleaching capacity, the final color is only known after complete drying. We therefore advise you to do a preliminary test to find out if the shade suits you. To quickly find out the shade of the dry paint, dry the test area with a hair dryer.

A lime blossom coating can last a few years outdoors. But after a while it will need to be refreshed or redone. Rain may temporarily change the color of the coating. But once dry, the coating will return to its original color.

For a better grip, you will wet the surface of the pot before applying the whitewash. For a brushed effect, you only apply one or two very diluted coats, largely crossing the brushstrokes and without covering the entire surface. For more effect uniformyou will superimpose several thin layers, waiting for the complete drying of each layer before applying the next one.

You can also apply only one coat of a milk that you have diluted less: brush marks may appear thicker for a more rustic.

Paint with acrylic paint

Acrylic paint can also be a good option.

You can totally use the leftover paint you used to paint your interior walls. This will allow you to harmonize your terracotta pot with the tone of your interior decoration.

If you want to draw patterns on your pot, in this case, it will be better to opt for acrylic paint in tube intended for artistic works.

You will first draw the patterns, either freehand or using the stencil technique. Then, you just have to put the colors on the delimited areas.

Many acrylic paints designed for walls are splatter resistant. Check if this is the case by reading the labels on the paint can. If you have opted for paint in a tube and you are proud of your achievement, you will want to protect the surface from shocks and humidity. You will then use a clear protective varnish in spray, compatible with acrylic, choosing the finish that suits you, matte or glossy.

Painting with glycerophthalic paint

The microporous glycerophtalic paint that is used to paint wood outdoors can be a good solution for pottery placed outdoors that you want to protect from difficult climatic conditions. However, these paintings are among the most polluting.

If the layer of paint you apply is too thick, the final appearance will be plastic and you will lose the interest of the terracotta support. You will therefore have to dilute it with white spirit beforehand.

Terracotta, a very old material

The appearance of terracotta dates back to the Upper Palaeolithic. Man has used this material to model animals and Venuses, but also to make elements for cooking food. It was not until much later, around 4000 BC, that the technique of the turn made its appearance. Technical objects therefore take on regular shapes.

Earth intended for cooking is generally the result of a mixture of different earths. The mixing must be carried out with care in order to obtain a final material with homogeneous qualities.

The clay is fired in an oven at a temperature between 850°C and 1150°C, depending on its characteristics.

Working the land can be a very satisfying, sensual and artistic activity. Some pottery clubs offer to enamel the objects made by their members. L’E-mail is the most resistant coating and the one that will best protect a terracotta pot over time. But the manipulation of enamels is an art in itself, complex to master. Perhaps one day you will be tempted to initiate yourself?

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