As many gardeners do, I have a growing collection of less than beautiful plastic flowerpots. The sun and weather has beaten these containers to a point that each season, a few more of them get pushed to the back of the garage or greenhouse. They sit empty and unplanted, simply because they are no longer attractive enough to welcome visitors to my front door. Many of them have never been used, but are gifts from well-meaning friends who show up with a stack of pots left over from their attempts to become a gardener. Many still have the unfortunate victims of their efforts enshrined in moldy potting soil. As the stacks grow taller each season, my determination to do something about the situation finally has reached the critical point.

There is a product on the market now made by Krylon that gave me the inspiration to give these unsightly, unfortunates an extreme makeover. This spray paint actually bonds with plastic, and will not chip or peel.

Visions of lovely matching containers, sitting full of bright blossoms filled my head, so I went and purchased a couple of cans of this wonder paint and went to the greenhouse to select a suitable guinea pig. Here is how I transformed this unsightly container into the lovely plant receptacle in the image above.

Materials needed

ImageAt least one well-worn plastic plant container.

Krylon Fusion® spray paint. I chose two different colors of the Hammered Finish line.

Pot scrubber, steel wool, or similar type of cleaning pad.

Good cleanser.


Piece of sponge, old rag, or plastic wrap.

An old fork or large nail (optional)


The first mission is to clean the used container completely. Wash thoroughly with the cleanser and the scrubber. All bits of dirt, scale and soil must be removed. Wipe over the entire surface with the alcohol. If your pot is clean, and isn't encrusted with stuff, just do the wipe-over. The operative word here is Clean.

When your pot is completely clean and dry, choose a temperate, well-ventilated area to transform your container. The area should be between 40 and 85 degrees, taking into account that the cooler it is, the longer it will take for the project to dry.

ImageImage Cover the immediate area with newspapers or plastic to prevent messes, and prepare to spray the flowerpot. By setting the pot up on a small block or stand, the entire surface can be painted in one session.

Shake the can for a couple of minutes to mix the contents. Spray in a sweeping motion, while holding the can between 8 and 12 inches from the surface. Use light coats to cover, and the finish will be much more even. Spray the bottom edge, and down inside the interior for a few inches. Make sure that the paint will end below the soil line.

ImageImage I was wanting a custom look for this project, but for those who simply want to give the old pots a face-lift, you are done. For those who want to be a bit more adventurous, continue the saga.

After the first color has been applied, let the container dry for about 15 minutes. Depending on your individual temperatures, times will vary, but it shouldn't be sticky.

Spray some of the second color into a disposable dish. An old deli container, or something similar will be perfect. Dip the sponge, or similar material into the paint and start to dab it on your freshly painted container. Work quickly, and try to cover in an irregular pattern. Some may want to leave just a small amount of the original paint showing, others will prefer to just highlight the edges with the contrasting color.Image

When a satisfactory look is achieved, the custom finish can be developed even more. While the top layer is still wet, objects can be drug through the surface to create interesting textures. An old fork or nail head can be scraped across the wet paint to create the design shown. Press the object firmly enough to drag it through the top layer of paint, but leaving the lower layer. This creates the look of those expensive resin planters for a fraction of the cost. This technique works best on smooth surfaces. The pot that I was working on had a slight texture, and the results were not quite as dramatic as they would have been if the surface was slick.

The possibilities are endless, and this product can be used with success on other materials too. As with any painting project, your success will depend upon your preparation. Cleanliness of the surface is the most important, and some practice may be necessary to achieve some of the more elaborate looks.

A telephone call to the Krylon company resulted in the following advice: Your container's state over the seasons will depend upon the conditions where it is used, and its durability will be affected by sun or freezing temperatures. Proper storage during the winter months will greatly extend the lifespan of your painted containers. Chances are, the finish may fade over time, but the good thing is, a fresh coat of paint will perk everything right back up. The company had many good suggestions for using this product. Among then, patio furniture and faded plastic storage bins.

I like it, because for once in my life, all my flowerpots will match!