finishedMany gardeners love interesting flowerpots, but a collection of custom containers is pricey and most of us prefer to spend our gardening budget on plants. This month's Frugal Gardner project is cheap, simple and quite attractive. It would even make an excellent craft for children and might encourage younger gardeners to start their own container gardens.

My niece, Cassidy is home from college on her winter break and couldn't wait for a chance to do a Frugal Gardener craft, so we came up with this drip painted project that pleased us both.

I have a huge stack of orphan clay pots that are just begging for a facelift. Friends and relatives know I garden, so they are always bringing me their dearly departed gift plants that never seem to survive. I give the deceased a decent burial in the compost heap and wash the newly empty pot to await my next project.


Materials for this project are inexpensive and easy to find. We used clean clay flowerpots, acrylic craft paint, a satin finish white paint and a satin finish clear topcoat.


Cassidy sprays the inside edge of the flowerpots with the white paint. It isn't necessaary to spray the whole interior, but do spray below what would be a soil line.


We set the flowerpot on an old nursery pot to elevate it some. This keeps the rim of the pot off the surface of your work area and will be important in the coming steps.


She covers the drainage holes with some masking tape to prevent drips and a mess to the interior of the flowerpot.

pouring paint

Now comes the fun part! Cassidy starts pouring layers of paint on the top of her flowerpot. She's careful to start each new layer inside of the previous one.

pouring paint

She keeps adding layers of paint and the build-up eventually starts to drip down the sides of the flowerpot.

paint dripping

By adding more paint, the layers run and drip down the sides, making an interesting pattern. Now, the wisdom of elevating the pot rims off of the work surface is evident. Make sure your work surface is large enough to hold quite a bit of wet paint!

new flowerpot

Now that she has the first pot merrily dripping its way to glorious art, Cassidy starts on the second pot. She chooses her favorite colors for this one; green, purple and black.

paint dripping

Once Cassidy has her paint poured, the rest is up to gravity. She was able to add drops of paint here and there, to encourage stubborn areas to start dripping, but for the most part, it was on its own. Notice the pools of paint on the work surface.

cleaning the bottoms

Our pots had bottoms that allowed some of the paint to remain pooled. This would take ages to dry and the tape covering the drain holes would be difficult to remove. We took paper towels and wiped the bottoms to remove the excess.

peel off tape

After a couple days of drying, Cassidy returns to finish the project. She removed the tape covering the drain holes.

seal the pots

We went outdoors with our drip painted flowerpots and some satin finish clear sealer. Cassidy seals both inside and out since the paint we used was water-based.

finishing up

Cassidy puts the finishing touches on her drip painted flowerpots. She plants a Sansevieria trifasciata in the multi-colored one, as it is going to live in my freshly remodeled utility room. The purple, green and black pot will go with her back to California and college, when she returns in a few days.

flowerpots in room

Our frugal flowerpots are unique, attractive and inexpensive. We used clay pots already on hand, four bottles of acrylic craft paint (about 60 cents each) and two cans of spray paint. The spray paints were hardly used and there is plenty of material for other projects remaining.

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Check out previous editions of the Frugal Gardener!