Containers forum: Ageing terracotta pots

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Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Nov 12, 2017 10:49 PM CST
I have most of my plants in terracotta pots, even the bigger ones. Their downside is the weight. Difficult to move, especially the big ones. But they look fantastic as they age naturally. But I have some that are planted, that still have that yawn orangey look, without the color variations needed to look fab. The pots are unglazed, so the stuff to be used on them to age the surface have to be non toxic to the plants that are already in them.
I googled it and the yoghurt thing attracts ants, really a not good idea inside the home!
I am thinking about dry brushing them with some paint, just a tad of paint on the brush, so to be very quick to dry on the surface and not cause any problems with absorbing.
Any ideas please?
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Nov 12, 2017 11:16 PM CST
I think dry brushing with paint would work fine, or even using a sponge dipped in paint. The pots are thick enough that the paint shouldn't be absorbed and hurt the plants. Since you are an artist, I bet your pots will end up very beautiful!
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Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
Nov 12, 2017 11:19 PM CST
I agree
Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Nov 13, 2017 12:11 AM CST
Thank you @plantmanager! I thought of trying some wax antiquing too, but I'm afraid that since the terracotta is so absorbent when unglazed, it will show an oily effect on it. I may try this near a bottom, and see. I have seen such wonderful results with lime, but I am very hesitant to use it when plants are in place. I will update with the results on one to get some feedback. Meanwhile, bring it on gals and guys, more ideas. Smiling
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Name: Frenchy
Falls Church, VA (Zone 7b)
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Frenchy21
Nov 13, 2017 5:35 PM CST
If you have some broken terracotta pottery you could practice on that and see what happens. Smiling
Name: Cheryl
Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
Nov 13, 2017 5:40 PM CST
Let us know how it works? I scored 50+ terracotta pots and saucers in various sizes for $30. I like the aged look, too.
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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
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Shadegardener
Nov 15, 2017 10:44 AM CST
I would water down some latex paint to get a more transparent quality. You could dab on multiple coats if you wanted something more opaque. I've found that undiluted latex paint will start to peel after a while (which may be the look you want).
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Nov 15, 2017 12:20 PM CST
Hi! I did finish some today! I like them. I am going to show you tomorrow, since it's night here now and I cannot photograph them. What worked for me was using multiple paints, very watered down acrylic, to give the effect of the lime that I wanted, then opaque acrylic paint, textured paint into the grooves of the terracotta, paint spraying and patinas. All of them were applied with brushes, sponges and sometimes a rug. I used colors like white, green, light and dark, burnt sienna, a tad of yellow, brown.
@shadegardener, thank you for the clever suggestion! I might as well use that in some other pots and update for the results!
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
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Shadegardener
Nov 15, 2017 12:29 PM CST
Faridat - Thanks. As I mentioned, I learned the hard way with the peeling paint. Admittedly, my terra cotta pots sit outdoors in the warmer months and that exposure does tend to "distress" pots without the work.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Nov 15, 2017 12:38 PM CST
Aah, yes, how lovely is the patina they acquire when outdoors! Lovey dubby
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Nov 15, 2017 5:07 PM CST
You could also try rubbing on fine soil or sand on wet paint to weather the paint a bit. Brush off any coarse stuff.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Nov 15, 2017 7:08 PM CST
Before I did much gardening I remember reading something about using yogurt to make pots look older. Made sense when I read it. Let me check that out and I'll come back later to edit this post.

Oh — it's a Martha Stewart video. There are others of course.

https://www.marthastewart.com/...

Here's one more link. It has different methods including the yoghurt one as well as using 2 different types of paint.

http://www.weekendgardener.net...

I'm not much of a DIY person which is my own fault, so I can't vouch for anything in these links.
[Last edited by tx_flower_child - Nov 15, 2017 7:23 PM (+)]
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Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Nov 16, 2017 1:30 AM CST
@tx_flower_child, these are good suggestions. I don't think the yoghurt method would work for me though, as it would probably attract ants. We had ant problems before and that would smell delicious to them, lol. But I'm sure it would work for outdoor use!
Showing you all some details of the work I've been doing. I still have a ton of sanding to do, but I'm taking it slowly, it's a lot of work to finish in a day or two.
I have to erase the drippings that show, and would like a subtler effect in some of the pots. But overall I think it is manageable to do.
I decided to work on different effects and experiment a bit, so some pots will happen to be a bit different from others.

For this one I went for a "moss effect".
I also used textured paint in the grooves, they were unpainted, plain terracotta color as well.
Then I worked on the textured paint with green acrylic.

Thumb of 2017-11-16/Faridat/979df6

The details on the handles. Lots of texture.

Thumb of 2017-11-16/Faridat/144b8b

This is the biggest one that I worked on yesterday.

Thumb of 2017-11-16/Faridat/9ea995

From the left to the right, one is an untreated terracotta, the right one is the one I am working on.

Thumb of 2017-11-16/Faridat/62f619

I even touched the plates a bit with some green on a sponge anto give them a bit of ageing.

Thumb of 2017-11-16/Faridat/e32a89

Some more details for another one:

Thumb of 2017-11-16/Faridat/c633af

Thumb of 2017-11-16/Faridat/7ce947



Thumb of 2017-11-16/Faridat/fcd526

In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Greece (Zone 10b)
Houseplants Foliage Fan Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Aroids Bromeliad
Orchids Region: Europe Garden Art Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Faridat
Nov 16, 2017 1:53 AM CST
And I sanded a bit this plain white one I got from IKEA, cause it's so boring.
Not much added, but the lines of the underneath color showing made it somewhat more interesting.

Thumb of 2017-11-16/Faridat/e84ddd

Thumb of 2017-11-16/Faridat/3e6f5b
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Nov 16, 2017 1:55 AM CST
Wow! You've been busy! And very creative! Love it.

Earlier I went back to the top of this thread where you posted about yoghurt and ants. Obviously I had skimmed over that part.

You didn't actually use real moss did you? I know that you said that you went for a "moss effect". That was the one thing in both links that I had a problem with. Martha Stewart and the other author seemed like it was perfectly natural to have moss hanging around. Or that you could grab some without hurting anything. Made me raise my eyebrow a bit. (As a teenager I spent hours learning how to raise just one eyebrow for the quizzical look. Of course it's amazing what teenage girls will do.) So anyway, I raised the eyebrow and thought, 'Hmmm.' But whatever you did looks fantastic. I have lots of ceramic pots and if you come to Texas I'll be glad to put you to work.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Nov 16, 2017 1:56 AM CST
We just cross posted. That white one isn't boring anymore. Looks good.
Greece (Zone 10b)
Houseplants Foliage Fan Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Aroids Bromeliad
Orchids Region: Europe Garden Art Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Faridat
Nov 16, 2017 2:08 AM CST
Hi! No moss used at all. It's an imitation that I think it somehow works. Heavy acrylic on sponge pushed into the corners of a textured paint. That gives the effect of a pot that has been outside for a while. I have some more in the works, but the weather is just terrible today and will photograph when it gets sunny. I had great effects with the copper wax also, it adds a bit of shining to the edges. Ha ha, the one with the moss hanging around, it was funny! What was she thinking? I may try the yoghurt thingie for the small garden we have though. Ants wouldn't be a problem there.
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Nov 16, 2017 2:12 AM CST
I didn't know that ants liked yoghurt. I mean, who knew?

Greece (Zone 10b)
Houseplants Foliage Fan Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Aroids Bromeliad
Orchids Region: Europe Garden Art Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Faridat
Nov 16, 2017 2:19 AM CST
They ADORE yoghurt. I know as I had once left a supermarket bag, a closed and tied one, with the yoghurt itself covered also, inside it. Left it outside the entrance for maybe 15 minutes to go get something else. So many ants were feasting when I returned to get it. Trashed the yoghurt, learnt the lesson.
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
[Last edited by Faridat - Nov 16, 2017 2:20 AM (+)]
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North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Nov 16, 2017 3:11 AM CST
That's especially sad because I love Greek yoghurt. For years I only ate (or drank straight from the jar, tsk tsk) Bulgarian yoghurt. But suddenly, after some 20 years, it was hard to find and got very pricey. Plus the stores stopped selling it in pint (?) jars so that it was too heavy to lift and drink straight from the jar. So I switched to Greek yoghurt and am thinking I have some in my fridge that I might just get right now. Bedtime snack!

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