As our next kit explores the joy of clay with the Terracotta Pot Craft Kit, we’re sharing our top 5 ways to decorate clay pots in a unique way that can mimic fired ceramics.
We love air dry clay (non-firing clay) for giving a grounding in hand-building techniques that you can easily try at home.
Once you’ve built your pot, either through slab, pinch or coil techniques, here’s some inspiration for how to decorate your new clay creation...
Stencils and Relief Prints
The scope for decorating with stencils and found objects is vast but we’ve a few ideas up our sleeve to get you started! We love the detail and shapes of fern leaves, and they’re in abundance right now (be sure to only collect what you need and use pruning scissors so you don’t damage the plant).
Use the leaf as a stencil and paint over it, leaving the beautiful leaf silhouette exposed in the raw clay, or paint your leaf then print as you would when block printing.
Or, while your pot is still soft you could try pushing a leaf into the clay body to create an indent of the leaf shape on the pot.
Engravings and Texture
You could add writing or symbols onto your pot whilst it’s part way through the drying process. The best stage for this is when it feels leather hard, somewhere in between soft clay and bone dry.
There are lots of ideal clay tools for turning and carving (one of which we include in the Terracotta Pot kit) that are perfect for adding texture to your pot.
You can then go ahead and add colour or shine to amplify your engravings (see the next tip!).
It’s super simple, but super effective. Grab some acrylic paint and coat your entire pot or half the pot in a few layers to get a good coverage (use masking tape to get a straight line if you just do half).
Alternatively, buff it off a bit with a sponge for more of a weathered, antique look!
You can then set the paint (so it doesn’t just chip off!) with some PVA glue. If you’re after a bit of a shine to your pot, we recommend using multiple layers of PVA or a clear varnish, which you can get in shiny, satin and matte finishes.
Raw Clay + Patterned Combo
We love the look of a painted, patterned side (either the inside or outside of your pot) and then leave the raw clay exposed on the other side.
It looks best when you’re using terracotta air dry clay as the warm richness of the colour is striking.
It also highlights the painted design you might create, such as this simple leafy design pictured above.
Our final idea for decorating your air dry clay pots is to speckle them with paint. In ceramics, you can buy and make your own glazes with speckles, for example, oatmeal with a beige base and brown speckles.
You can mimic this speckle-effect with flicks of paint, either onto the raw clay or the colour you choose to put as a base layer. It’s fun to play with contrasting colours as well as more subtle combinations.
This speckle decoration technique is one you’ll be exploring in the Terracotta Pot Kit!
Remember, if you’re looking to use your pot as a plant pot, we recommend lining with waterproofing material!
Photo Credits: Cassidy Philips, Darya Ginger and Viviane Okubo.