DIY Mod Podge Terra Cotta Pots

Make these fun DIY Mod Podge terra cotta pots to add to your spring decor. This post answers the questions: what is mod podge, how to use mod podge, and does mod podge dry clear?

how to use mod podge on terra cotta pots

It’s been a really long time since we’ve had a good, old-fashioned craft session…so I decided it’s high time we fixed that oversight! Today’s project is only the second Mod Podge craft I’ve ever shared on the blog. The first one was this Mod Podge Pumpkin, way back in 2013. So it’s been a while!

What is Mod Podge?

Just in case you don’t know, Mod Podge is a decoupage medium that is the ultimate multi-tasker…it glues, seals, and protects. It is used to adhere paper or fabric to just about any surface imaginable. There are several different versions to choose from, but my favorite is the formula with the matte finish.

Does Mod Podge Dry Clear?

The answer to that question is a definite YES. That’s the beauty of the product. It’s goes on white, but in just a few minutes, it dries to a clear and very hard finish.

How to Use Mod Podge on Terra Cotta Pots

Full disclosure: I did not come up with this craft on my own. These terra cotta pots have been floating around Pinterest for years, and I’ve always wanted to make my own version. So let’s go!

*Affiliate links included. Click HERE for my disclosure statement.

What you Need:

terra cotta pot with mod podge

Step 1: It’s a personal choice whether or not to paint your pots. If you like the terra cotta finish, by all means leave them unpainted. I wanted a soft white finish, so I painted mine with one quick coat of chalk paint. Make sure to let the pots dry completely before proceeding.

peeling layers of napkin for crafting

Step 2: Unfold several napkins and separate the layers. Most napkins are either 2-ply or 3-ply. For this project, you want the top layer only.

cut out napkins for mod podge craft

Step 3: Cut out designs from the napkins. Sharp scissors with a pointed end make the job much easier. Get my favorite scissors HERE.

how to use mod podge

Step 4: Pour some Mod Podge into a throw-away container. Brush the medium onto a section of a pot. Carefully apply a napkin piece and gently adhere it to the layer of Mod Podge. Smooth it out with the foam brush, covering it completely with more Mod Podge. Continue around the pot until the design is complete.

does mod podge dry clear

Step 5: Let the pot(s) dry completely, at least an hour. When dry, finish each pot with a final layer of Mod Podge.

Tip: These pots are not water-proof. If you fill them with potting soil and real plants, they must be prepared first. I heard from a reader who said she applied polycrylic spray to both the outside and inside of her finished pots. She planted herbs, and said the pots are holding up very well. Get Minwax Polycrylic Spray {HERE.}

blue and white pots with greenery

Taking Time for Ourselves

Since you made it to the end, I have to assume that you liked the craft. However, if you’ve been saying to yourself, “I don’t have time for this,” I hear you. There was a time in my life when every waking moment was dedicated either to my family, or my previous job. I went on like that for years, taking no time for myself. If I could go back to that time period and do things differently, I would definitely take better care of myself…and a big part of that would be taking the time to do things I love. I think I would have been easier to live with, and I know I would have been happier.

pink peony terra cotta pots

So…go ahead, get yourself some pots and napkins…and don’t forget the Mod Podge. Take an evening while you are watching TV, and cut up your napkins. Then set aside an hour to design and make your pots. Keep them for yourself, or give them away as gifts. Either way, I promise you will be more relaxed, smiling, and ready to tackle what’s next.

One more thought before I go. Taking time for ourselves is not selfish. It’s not a waste of time…and it’s certainly not undeserved. If it’s been a while, go ahead and plan a craft session…or schedule a manicure, or go out for lunch. You’ve earned it.

One last thing…I loved this craft so much that I made a set for Christmas! Get all the details {HERE.}

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82 Comments

  1. Hello! I would like to show you my pots, but it’s impossible to send any photos. I really love this craft, I’ve made 15 pots.

  2. Jeannette says:

    I miss crafting so much! I’ve been thinking this is something I wanted to do, so why not now! Thanks for this post. Yours turned out really nice!

  3. Stephanie | Gathered In The Kitchen says:

    These pots turned out adorable! I love the patterns you chose! I’m so happy that I came across your blog! I was going through my analytics and came across a referral source “These Peas Taste Funny”…a blog I used to love and follow waaaaay back in the day! I went to Terry’s blog (that is no longer being added to) and found some posts with links to my blog. Long story short, I found your blog also linked to some of the old posts that mine were linked to! Love that we’ve both been blogging for a looong time!

    You have so many amazing and wonderful ideas! So happy to be following along now!

  4. I will take any excuse to go into Tuesday Morning! I actually Mod Podge oyster and crab shells and make trinket holders and crosses out of them!

  5. These are SO pretty! I’m inspired to try it!

  6. Dawn L. Juergens says:

    Oh Ann, what a lovely idea for Christmas to serve as house gifts, remembrances to friends, etc. I’ve ordered my pots, mod podge and poinsettia napkins to get a head start so I won’t feel rushed. I’m debating between filling them with cookies or planting princess pine in them. Heck, I may do some of both! Thanks for the scissor recommendation as well!

  7. Barb'ry Allen says:

    “You’ve earned it.” Ann, you are spot on. So many times people, women in general, put everyone else first. Not that I want to become a me, me, me person. Taking time to take care of yourself is the best thing for ALL your family and friends. You will be the better human being for it.

  8. Ana Montes says:

    Hello!
    I’m doing it with old boxes to store things. I wish I could send you some pictures! They look marvellous!😍

  9. If used for real plants, yes, you definitely must seal the pot inside and out. Michael’s Crafts sells a sealer specifically for terra cotta. Works great.

  10. You described me to a T;!! You write beautiful I don’t know how old this post is but I hope you have continued writing.❤️

  11. What do you do on the inside? Last time I dis this it all starter coming off when the plants are watered. The teracotta absorbs water….

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Liz…it’s best to use faux greenery. It may work to apply a waterproof sealer to the inside of the pots, but I have never tried it.

    2. Ann Drake says:

      I saw in the comments that one of my readers applied polycrylic spray to her finished pots. She sprayed on the inside and outside. It’s made by Minwax and I added a link to the post. I hope this helps!

  12. These are SO pretty! Thank you !

  13. Can’t you just use the entire napkin instead of cutting out each flower? Yours are gorgeous! I love the Christmas holly ones too! Linda

  14. Do you have to use chalk paint or will acrylic work also?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Bonnie…any kind of paint will work. Use whatever you have on hand. Enjoy!

  15. I made these and I’m very pleased with the results! Thank you. You inspire me. 💕

    Wish I could figure out how to send you a photo.

  16. Have you ever had the modge podge get sticky afterPutting soil in and planting/watering the pot?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Molly…I haven’t tried using a real plant. The greenery in the photos is all faux. I think the inside of the pots would need to be sealed in some way so the water can’t soak through. You could also use some other sort of pot, not terra cotta. I hope this helps!

  17. Mary cross says:

    Please tell me what I’m doing wrong. I cant seem to put my cut out pattern on without lumps and bumps. I paint the area first with mod Podge , put the pattern non on and paint again with mod Podge

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Mary…it’s easier to gently lay the pattern on and lightly press it down with your fingers. There will be some creases, but you can smooth them out with your fingers. Don’t paint the last coat of mod podge on until the entire pot is dry. Hope this helps!

    2. 5 stars
      These napkin flowers are super fragile and will tear very easily. Since the napkin layer is so thin, it’s best to place your cut-out flower onto flower pot (no glue), then apply your Mod Podge OVER the top of cut out design/flowers using a craft paint brush. It’s best to avoid using your fingers, b/c you can easily tear the thin napkin layer. Gently spread a pea size amount of MP over your flower starting in the center and work your way outward towards the edge of cut-outs. You can help smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles by taking a piece of plastic wrap/Saran Wrap and stretch it over the surface. (see Patti Elhoff on You Tube. She wrote the book on decoupage) Once the flower pot is dry, go over the entire surface with another coat of Mod Podge. Use faux flowers/plants inside your new, beautiful flower pot!

  18. Your clay pots are beautiful !! You certainly have inspired me to make these pots ! Thank you very much for the tutorial.
    Have a wonderful week👏👏🤗💕

  19. Ann, I just went to Tuesday Morning today and got some beautiful flower print napkins. I can’t wait to pretty up some of those pots!! Thank you for showing how to do it.

  20. Enjoyed your project. Decoupage can be very relaxing as it’s not “rocket science”! You are so right about taking time for yourself. When my daughter was a teenager, she informed me that she needed chauffeur service on a weekend night. I replied, “Sorry, I have a date.” She said, “But Mama, you’re not supposed to have a life.” The egocentricity of our children! A woman can only create so many children; in Maine, only garden for a small part of the year. Crafting, sewing, cooking fills the hole in my soul that needs to create and can be done at any time. Now that I’m retired, I try to do something creative or self-caring every day!

  21. These are adorable. I could make some for every holiday and special occasion! For those asking about sealing or waterproofing them… Mod Podge makes a spray matte clear acrylic sealer. It sold right next to the Mod Podge at Walmart.

  22. So pretty. And easy-peasy! These pots would make such great gifts for Easter or a friend’s birthday and many other occasions. Something handmade, even if this simple, is always especially appreciated, I think. Thanks for the tutorial!

  23. These are beautiful Ann!! I will be making some for our home. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Hi thx for sharing your Rosemary uses with Pinterest! I’m going to try several as I have two huge bushes that need trimming! I just read the Terra cot mod pudge project. Looks so easy and fun use of beautiful paper napkins! Have you used mod podge with fabric too? I’m thinking of doing some shadow boxes etc using old vintage tea towels that belonged to my great, great great Aunt and Grandmother. Some of these are from the 1930’s -50’s. I think I’ll practice with a rag type towel first then if successful I’ll move forward.
    Thx again!
    Many blessings,
    Jennifer S

  25. Amy Kaminski says:

    You are so right my friend!

  26. Thank you, Ann, I need to take your advice. And this craft looks so fun!

  27. Irene Kimball says:

    Ann,
    So pretty, fairly easy and fun to do. Can’t wait to get my supplies. Thanks for posting.

  28. Trish Bandach says:

    I LOVE this Ann!!! So on trend right now!! Definitely making these!! 🌷
    Thanks for sharing!!

  29. The pots are beautiful Ann. thank you for sharing such a wonderful craft idea. I love the pretty prints on cocktail napkins, so I look forward to trying this project.

  30. Carol Richer says:

    Love this Ann! Love your blog! Yes, taking time for yourself is NOT SELFISH! I will mod podge some of my clay pots soon! I also love crafts. My Mom (who grew up in the 1940’s) did crafts with her sisters. In their day there was only radio. So that’s what they used to do! I always look forward to reading blogs like yours! I find it very grounding!

  31. Jauquetta says:

    You can also do this on the BACKSIDE of clear plates. Use them as chargers or dessert plates but hand wash. Did some in the 70’s and I kept them 8 yrs and then I changed my style and gave them to my neighbor, she used them for years, too. Just hand wash.

    1. Barbara Loyd says:

      Thank you for the suggestion of using clear glass plates. I have a stack that needs some refreshing images.

  32. How well do these last with watering plants and it soaking into the terra cotta? Do you know? I don’t know if mod podge is waterproof. If not I guess they would be great for succulents. These are so lovely. Love your message too. I agree!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Mimi, Mod Podge is not waterproof. If you can find some sort of liner to put in the pot, then I think it would work to use a live plant. There is a Mod Podge that is water resistant, but it doesn’t say that it’s waterproof. I used faux greenery to fill the pots in this post. I hope this helps!

      1. Mimi Matthews says:

        I had no idea that greenery wasn’t real! Makes sense though. I just love these and need to make some Thanks for the response.

    2. I sealed mine with polycrylic spray so i can plant herbs. I sealed the outside once the modge podge was completely dry…2 days to make sure. I also sprayed the inside. They have a beautiful glossy finish as if they were glazed. Mine have been outside all spring and summer and are really holding up.

      1. Mimi Matthews says:

        Thank you Roxanne! I may give these a try!

  33. I agree with your philosophy of taking time for yourself. I can’t believe that is so hard for us to do. I’m really trying to change that for myself this year.

  34. What a simple and cute idea! Perfect for Mother’s Day or a girlfriend gift. They would also make such a pretty table setting with the napkins to match. …and your advice about making time is spot on Ann!❤️

    1. Dian Owens says:

      These are lovely! Easy and relaxing projects are fun. The stores should have lots of pretty napkins for Spring and Easter right now. I have some pretty Fall and Christmas designs in my stash, too.

  35. Teddee Grace says:

    These turned out great. I think I don’t leave enough white space when I do these decoupage projects. I’ve done Easter eggs in the past and last year did pumpkins. I intended to try some Christmas ornaments and didn’t get to that last year. I get my napkins at Tuesday Mornings. Do you have a good source? I can never find exactly what I’m looking for.

    1. I find my nice paper napkins at upscale local card and gift stores.

      1. Teddee Grace says:

        Thanks for responding!

    2. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Teddee, I included Amazon links in the post for the napkins I used. There is a huge selection and I’m sure you can find something you like!

      1. Teddee Grace says:

        Thanks for the links!

  36. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says:

    Ann, these pots are so cute! I will definitely be making some! Thanks, so much, for sharing this craft with us! We appreciate you!

  37. Love these! Love your message also ♡

  38. These are so beautiful and such a great idea! I can’t wait to try these this Spring!

  39. Your pots turned out so pretty, Ann! Many years ago, I covered pots with fabric and used white glue. Mod Podge gives a more durable finish, though.

  40. Thank you Ann. You are right, this project has been around for years. I thank you for giving it your beautiful style. I appreciate your words of wisdom. We need reminder of this from time to time.

  41. Molly Tilson says:

    I need try this, I have some beautiful napkins that would be beautiful on a pot!

  42. I did this for my mom for Mother’s Day a few years back and gave it to her with her favorite flowering plant in it. Turned out beautiful & she loved it. I love your choice of patterns!

  43. Morn Ann~ Love this craft idea and will make an attempt at this as I’m already thinking giving as a small gift for First Day of Spring(!), Easter, Mother’s Day and the list goes on. Your honest self-reflection made me smile in ways. Married and childless my working years were pretty much devoted to ‘the job.’ You know that quote something to the effect of “when on my death bed, I won’t be wishing I spent more time at the office”…. that will be me. And when flying and the flight attendant asks parents with children to place their mask on themselves first, there’s a reason for this, and we all need to remember that…….

  44. The pots are adorable and an easy craft.I agree, we all need time to ourselves.

  45. Sheila DelCharco says:

    Wow, these turned out so pretty!

  46. Love this Ann! Love all that you post! Great advice too, women don’t take the time for ourselves and we need to. For if we are happy and healthy, we can be our best for others!

  47. Linda C Johnston says:

    I am so glad you took the time to talk about taking time for yourself. I think if more women did this regularly, the rest of the time would be so much better for them and their families. Good for you!!! Oh yes, loved the pots!

  48. What a great craft project, Ann! I love to craft but haven’t taken the time to plan a craft project. These would make a great hostess gift gift with a plant inside. Better get my mod podge out of the closet! Thanks for the inspiration. 😊

  49. I love this project! I totally agree with the statement of taking time for yourself. The pots are lovely and will definitely try making some for myself and friends. Thank you Jean

  50. Susan Cecere says:

    I have done this with varying size eggs. They look pretty in the nests I bring out for spring. I also tuck them in my table display that I change with the seasons.

  51. Kathy Menold says:

    Ann, Havent done a mod podge project in years. I used really pretty floral print napkins to cover the back of clear salad plates and only used the glue on the back so they could still be used to eat off at a spring tea party our herb group held. Fun to make and will definitely try the little pots.

  52. Ann, I will be buying pots today! I have done this technique with Easter eggs and it is so much fun! Another great source for quality napkins is Tuesday Morning. I love your blog…thanks for all your inspiration.

  53. Love this! I just bought all the needed supplies—thanks for the links!
    Me time is so important, how often I forget this.

  54. Nancy Bailey says:

    I have been a crafter forever, but have never tried doing anything with Mod Podge. Now I just have to make some of these flower pots! Thanks for the inspirational ideas Ann – and I love that you include sources.

  55. Thanks for a lovely project, Ann! Thanks too for the reminder to spend some time dong things we love to do just because it makes us happy. You are wise, and I know I needed that reminder today.

  56. Denise Cox says:

    Ann, what a lovely post this morning!! I have seen MANY modge podge crafts… as well as ones involving terra cotta pots, but these peonies really caught my eye!! I love peonies and flowers in general. Thank-you for the link as well. They will make nice Easter gifts… or anytime gifts for the Spring /Summer!!! 😊

  57. This is a very pretty craft project. Being that clay is porous, I am assuming these pots are filled with faux plants. Or, do you waterproof the inside of the pot?
    Thank you!

    1. Denise Cox says:

      Hi Nancy,
      I have read from a You Tube site, ‘Upcycle with Decoupage’… she suggestes how to completely waterproof outdoororoof her pots using a ” Spar” varnish. It’s actually made for boats so it also provides UV protection as well as other types of outdoor protrction. Granted, this is if you were to keep your pots outdoors. But while in not an expert, I’m left with the feeling you could keep live plants in them as well?? Perhaps you could ask her?? In all of My reading, I’ve yet to come across an answer. However, I also know of another product, and this MAY answer your question. Krylon Crystal Clear… You can find on Amazon. The former product requires a tedious process, while this is a spray on. Good luck… Perhaps you could try with an inexpensive plant you don’t care about ( is there such a thing… (🤔😢😊)

    2. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Nancy…yes, the pots are filled with faux greenery. If you used a pot liner, I think it would be OK to use live plants. I wouldn’t do it in the basic terra cotta. I hope this helps!

    3. 5 stars
      My finished pot is on Pinterest. Thank you for showing us something that can easily be done, provides a useful end product, and adds beauty to our homes. A few girl friends joined me in the backyard (all the while social distancing) to make our individual pot. The conversation eclipsed the craft and provided a much needed time of fellowship.

      1. Ann Drake says:

        This is simply wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing!

  58. What a precious idea. And what a great addition to a kitchen table. Thank you so much for taking the time and effort so share such wonderful easy ideas with us.

  59. GReat great idea. We all could use some “me” time. Crafts are a good way to relax and use our imaginations. And it’s almost spring so this would never a good project.

    Thanks Ann for keeping us inspired

    1. I don’t know where the word never came from. This would be a good project for spring