Saturday, May 14, 2016

Update - My Handywork

Brighten up your Terracotta Flower Pots

My world would not be the same without the pleasure of bright, bold and cheery colours

There's just something so wonderful and serene about a striking shade of pink.

As the summer is kicking off to a great start, I wanted to put some time into my garden but If I plant flowers, I tend to eventually let them roam free until the garden is lost to a tangled sea of plants and weeds. This year I decided that I was going to grow my plants in pots. 

As usual, I wanted some pots that were bright and bold in colour to match the flowers but was rather disappointed not to be able to find anything suitable. With some quick thinking, I opted for some ordinary terracotta pots and a few cans of spray paint instead.

You're going to need a few bits for this
  1. Terracotta flowerpot
  2. Spray paint (2 colours for body, 1 colour for trim)
  3. primer
  4. sealer
  5. masking tape (small, medium, large)
  6. sharp blade (Stanley knife)
  7. scissors
  8. rubber gloves
  9. paper towels

  • When cleaning the pot, don't use water. Terracotta is a porous material and water will seep into it, making it harder for the paint to stick.
  • wear rubber gloves at all times when handling the pot to avoid smudging it.
  • Keep extra rubber gloves at hand.
  • before using the spray paint, shake the can for 60 seconds.
  • While using the paint, keep the can moving from left to right and right to left.
  • when finished spraying, turn the can upside down and spray it for ten seconds. This will prevent the nozzle from clogging up.
  • Paint in a well ventelated area.
  • cover any surrounding areas or furniture to avoid splashing paint on them.
  • wait for the paint to dry completely before removing any masking tape.
  • where possible, use matt or satin paint rather than gloss, matt and satin will spread easier so you get even coverage without using a lot of paint. You can always spray with a gloss sealer at the end to give it a shiny finish.

Choose your Colours

Now before we start, we're going to have to make a very important decision... what colours will I choose? We'll need three colours, two for the body and one for the trim. 

When picking colours, there are no rules, choose colours that you enjoy, match the colours to the flowers, create a colour scheme over three or four pots. I usually pick colours that compliment each other, which is a very simple formula.

There are three primary colours; red, blue and yellow. When you combine two of these primary colours, you get secondary colours; red+blue=purple, blue+yellow=green yellow+red=orange

A complimentary colour is one of the three primary colours, which isn't in a particular secondary colour. Red+blue=purple, the primary colour yellow is missing from the equation, therefore the complimentary colour of purple is yellow. Red compliments green and blue compliments orange

I'm going to go with Painter's Touch Sun Yellow gloss and a French Lilac satin for the body and Heirloom White for the trim, also satin. I'll finish it off with a matt sealer to give it a flat finish.

Step 1 - Cleaning

Put on your latex gloves and with some paper towels wipe down the the entire surface of the pot. Don't use any water or detergents.

Carefully peel  off any stickers or labels. If the sticker leaves any residue, I recommend using some sticker remover. Make sure to properly remove any of the chemical left behind on the pot with a paper towel.

Step 2 - Priming

To get a lasting and even finish, a primer is an absolute. I used the Painter's Touch Surface Primer spray for this. Alternatively, a cheaper method is to use an ordinary white emulation. The drawback to this though, is that it can leave brush marks. With the spray, you are guaranteed a smooth finish.

Whatever method you choose, ensure both inside and outside the pot are completely covered and allow at least an hour to dry.

Step 3 - Prepping

Gently tap the surface of the pot and ensure it isn't tacky. When it is completely dry cover the lip of the pot with the medium sized masking tape. Ensure to cover the brim and a centimetre or two of the inside.

Very carefully using your blade, trim the tape where the lip meets the body. Follow the natural groove of the pot so you get a nice even and straight edge.

Step 4 - Painting

Shake up your spray paint for 60 seconds and give it a quick spray on a test surface to ensure flow is smooth.
  • Stand about 250mm away from the pot.
  • Keep the can moving from left to right, to right to left as you spray.
  • If possible, move around the pot rather than moving the pot.
  • Spray with two light coats or until the surface is completely covered.
  • Allow at least two hours to dry before continuing.

When the paint is dry, use strips of the small masking tape to create stripes along the pot.
  • Turn the pot upside-down.
  • cut 4 strips of masking tape to reach from the lip, down the side, across the bottom and up the opposite side.
  • find the centre of the strip of tape
  • carefully place the strip along the bottom of the pot, using the hole in the pot as a guide to find the centre.
  • firmly press the tape along either side of the pot.
  • Get a second strip of tape and place it across the bottom of the pot so it forms a cross with the first piece of tape.
  • firmly press the tape the along either side of the pot.
  • With the third piece of tape, place it across the bottom, in between the first and second strips.
  • repeat for the fourth strip.

Get your second colour of paint and spray the pot in the same manner as you did with the first. allow to dry for at least two hours.

  • With your blade cut along the groove, where the lip meets the body of the pot.
  • With the large masking tape, cut strips wide enough to fit across the now purple gaps.
  • Be careful to place the masking tape across the groove evenly.

Remove the masking tape covering the lip

Spray the trim and inside of the pot in a neutral colour which will compliment the colours on the body such as off-whites, greys, stone or black.

Remove the masking tape when completely dry, I would recommend leaving it overnight at this point and spray with either a matt or gloss sealer. I prefer the flat finish over the shiny one so I chose a Matt finish. It all depends on the effect that is called for and your own preference. When I use bold colours like reds, navies and blacks, I tend to go with a gloss finish. Allow at least two hours to dry completely.

The finished results

© Sarah O’Regan

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