Learn how to age terra cotta simply, without using the yogurt method
Naturally aged terra cotta has so much more life and appeal than new stark orange clay; however it takes years for terra cotta to achieve this stage if you are allowing nature's due process. We can speed this process up though by combining a few simple ingredients.
I love the look of a worn terra cotta pot or vase. It feels warmer in a room and adds an element of old, while simultaneously grounding that space however large or small it may be. Unfortunately, natural materials & artisan pots seem to average in the hundreds of dollars and even thousands the larger they get.
T I P S F O R U S I N G T E R R A C O T T A
Technically you are supposed to pre-soak your pots before planting because they can dry out the soil quicker than a regular pot. I did not though because I wanted these ones to have that dry brushed look. Another great tip is to cover the drainage hole in the bottom is to use either a broken piece of terra cotta or just use a coffee filter so the soil does not fall out. It is important to remember when working with terra cotta pieces, that it is a porous material so water will move between soil and walls so be sure to handle them with care and bring them in for the winter months.
If you're like me, the yogurt method completely freaked me out because I was so worried it would smell like dairy-gone-bad in the house. I also really wanted to make sure this actually looked aged, versus looking like someone had just brushed white paint on top. Finally, I did not want my interior pots to have an English garden mossy look, but rather more of a white patina.
M A T E R I A L S
Terra cotta pots from home of the thrift store
Plaster of Paris
Stir Stick (I just used my hand)
Matt clear sealer spray
Optional: Brown, green acrylic paints or pastel crayons
H O W T O :
Mix your plaster of paris according to the package. I used one cup of plaster and one cup of water for the amount of pots I was doing
Add however much sand you want to the plaster. The more sand you use, the more grit your pot will have. For a 1:1 ratio of plaster, I used 1/4 cup of sand.
optional: tint your plaster with paint for more colours
With your hands, smooth the mixture over your pots wherever you want there to be an aged spot. I brushed most of the pot knowing I would sand after. Make sure you get plaster along the rims and inside the first inch or two of your pot so once planted you do not see the orange terra cotta
Allow them to dry completely
Sand your pots where you want that natural wear. Imagine if they were aged naturally, where the most wear would be: rim, edges, bottom.
Spray them with a matt sealer to finish.
I love the timelessness of terra cotta and how it becomes more beautiful with age. This patina is often caused by salt and calcium seeping through combined with algae and moss growing on the surface. Allowing your pots to age naturally is a beautiful process, much like any raw material but sometimes giving it a little head start helps as well!