How To: Upcycle Your Old Plant Pots

Adam WilkinsonMar 10, '21

It is the perfect time to get creative and transform old terracotta pots into new pretty planters customised especially for your home! Whether you want to decorate your old terracotta pots to plant new foliage, to spruce up an artificial plant or disguise old planters before giving as a giftwe found dozens of thrifty and adorable ideas that are super easy and will breathe new life into your old garden pots and turn them into new treasures. 


This pretty papercraft involves cutting out pictures, gluing them on and coating in layers of varnish. The finished item can look so beautiful, it’ll appear professionally painted. By

Decoupage Old Plant Pots


  • Lovely decorative paper / fabric of your choice
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Paint brush
  • Glue (PVA or decoupage glue)
  • Gloss Varnish


  1. Prepare the surface: Make sure your pot is clean, dust and dirt free and completely dry.
  2. Cut Out Pictures: Select your picture and cut them out, be precise.
  3. Glue Picture in Place: Glue on your pictures, smooth out any wrinkles and wipe away excess glue.
  4. Varnish: Once the glue is fully dry. Varnish the pot one layer at a time. Between 5 to 10 layers may be required depending on thickness of paper and fabric and how smooth a finish you would like. Leave each layer of varnish to completely dry before adding the next.

Chalk Paint

Beginner-friendly and perfect for kids, using chalk paint is a great way to upcycle your mis-matched pots. Chalk paint allows you to personalise for a cute and fun twist. Ideal for planting herbs and labelling. Then when ready simply wipe away and re-use. Did you know chalk paint comes in a variety of colours? Perhaps try a pastel shade ideal for spring.

Upcycle Old Plant Pots with Chalk Paint


  • Chalk Paint (any colour of your choice)
  • Paint Brush or Foam Brush


  1. Paint the Pots: Ensure the plant pot is clean and dry, then paint with the chalk paint and allow to dry. Apply a second coat and then leave to dry.
  2. Bake the Pots: Once completely dry, bake the terracotta pot in the oven on a moderate heat for around 15-20 minutes or so, then turn the oven off and allow the pot to cool completely in the oven. This process bonds the chalk paint onto the surface. Avoid this step if using plastic or glass pots.
  3. Personalise: Add any message you like! Perhaps draw or doodle on a pattern. If you don’t like it, wipe away and start again, easy!


Don’t throve away your well-loved or chipped china, glass or decorative ceramic dishes. Re-purpose those decorative dishes to upcycling an old plant pot. Create a pretty pattern or mix and match different colours or tiles for an original look.

Mosaic Decorated Plant Pot


  • Old decorative china / tiles (broken into pieces)
  • Tile Adhesive
  • Varnish (gloss)


  1. Prepare the surface: Make sure your pot is clean, dust and dirt free and completely dry.
  2. Glue on the pieces: Spread the adhesive on the pot. Press the broken tile pieces into the adhesive in your desired pattern or design. Leave to dry overnight.
  3. Grout the Pot: Spread tile grout in the gaps and wipe away any excess with a damp cloth. Leave to harden overnight.
  4. Varnish: Once fully dry, varnish the pot one layer at a time. You’ll need a few layers. Allow each layer to completely dry before applying the next.


Who doesn’t like a bit of bling? Adding a little gold leaf to old planters will spruce up any corner with a touch of luxury. Be creative with it, try painting the pots in your favourite colour first.

Gilding & Adding Gold Leaf to Old Plant Pots


  • Gold Leaf sheets (available in silver and copper too)
  • Paint brush or foam brush
  • Glue (PVA or decoupage glue)


  1. Apply the gold leaf: To a clean, dry pot, apply a thin layer of glue to where you want to add the flecks of gold, let it dry slightly so it is still tacky. Apply the gold leaf (using the entire sheet or pieces) with your fingers. It will tear easily so use a light touch. 
  2. Brush off the excess: With a clean and dry brush, brush off the excess gold leaf. Repeat the process until you get the desired look.

Painted & Colour Blocking

Painting old terracotta pots is an easy way to add a splash of colour to your home and garden, and a fun activity the kids will love. Ideal for Easter and summer holiday past-times. Check out our Easter Activities blog post.

Painted Plant Pots


  • Paint (colours of your choice)
  • Paint brush or foam brush
  • Clear paint setting spray


  1. Prepare the surface: Make sure your pot is clean. Soak it in warm water and scrub if required. Allow to completely dry.
  2. Apply your paint: Apply a base coat of the paint to the pot in any design you wish and leave to dry. Apply to second coat until you achieve the desired finish and allow to completely dry.
  3. Set with setting spray: Use the spray as directed. Ensure it is suitable to use on paint. 
  4. Add finishing touches: Apply any additional paint effects or accessories you like. Perhaps try tying on some twine, use maker pens to add faces or notes, or perhaps stencil on a design.

When it comes to upcycling the possibilities really are endless. Let your creativity flow and have a bit of fun with it both indoor and out.

For more garden decoration ideas take a look at our Get Garden Ready for Spring blog post jam-packed full of tips and tricks to spruce up your garden in time for summer entertaining and sunbathing. 

Assortment of Painted Plant Pots