by Jane Lake
Decoupage is an easy craft technique that can be used very effectively on terra cotta pots or plastic pot sleeves. Because it is so simple to do, decoupage offers endless decorating possibilities.
In this project, we used paper napkins with an Easter egg theme, but you could use similar techniques to decorate a plant pot for any special occasion, or to suit the plant you have growing in it, or the decor of a particular room.
Plastic plant pot sleeves, of course, have the advantage of being easily removed or rotated to suit each season and will last longer because they don’t have direct contact with moisture from the growing plant.
- terra cotta pot or plastic plant pot sleeve
- decorative paper napkins, magazine pictures, gift wrap, wallpaper, seed packets, old postage stamps, or fabric
- decoupage medium, either gloss or matte finish or white glue thinned with an equal amount of water
- foam paint brush or soft bristle paint brush
- optional: craft paint or spray paint
1. Wash the pot or pot sleeve and let dry thoroughly. If desired, base coat the pot or the pot sleeve in a paint color that will work well under your chosen decoupage material.
The base color – either the original or the paint – will show through most paper napkin decoupage projects. You should therefore use a white pot sleeve, or paint your pot in a light color, if the original color will dull the final finish. For our project, the medium brown plastic pot sleeve was fine without paint. The base color is also less likely to show through thicker decoupage materials, such as magazine pages or some fabrics.
2. Cut or tear around the motifs that you wish to decoupage on the pot. If you want a central motif that will not be overlapped with other designs, then cut or tear around it, then cut or tear lots of other colored background pieces.
Vary the size of the decoupage pieces for the best effect.
Our project was completed using only egg shapes, or partial egg shapes, cut from one Easter theme paper napkin.
3. When working with paper napkins, usually the top printed layer of the napkin is carefully separated from the other layers and only the printed layer is used for decoupage. However, in this case, both layers of a two-ply napkin were used together for each egg shape.
4. Begin decoupaging by spreading a thin layer of decoupage medium over a portion of the plant pot or sleeve. Cut a straight line at the bottom of the first paper shape and align it at the bottom of the pot or sleeve, overlapping the bottom rim just a little. Press the paper down with your fingers, gently curving it over the rim. Coat the entire piece with decoupage medium, or thinned white glue, using the paint brush to carefully smooth it into place.
5. Continue adding more pieces, overlapping each piece as you go. Treat the pieces at the top of a plant pot sleeve in the same way as you did the bottom; cut the paper piece close to the rim, but overlap the rim a little and stick the overlap down on the inside of the pot.
On a plant pot that will be filled with moist soil, take the decoupage only to the rim, but trim it off without overlapping to the inside.
6. Once the pot or pot sleeve is completely covered, paint on one or two more coats of decoupage medium and let dry.
Before decoupaging, consider sealing all surfaces of a terra cotta pot with polyurethane sealer or patio paint to protect the decoupage finish from moisture.
Use decorative-edging scissors to cut out the decoupage pieces for a unique effect.