If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know that my styling projects always include a bit of greenery. Whether it’s a succulent or a vase of fresh flowers, nothing really brings a space to life like plants. If you are looking for a new way to display your favorite green friends you’ll love today’s DIY for distressed Terra-Cotta pots. You won’t believe how easy it is to make brand new look old again!

There is no shortage of plant love around my house and with my wedding only a few months away, I thought I’d try to find ways to incorporate more potted plants into our theme. This will make the wedding feel like us and help keep our floral costs manageable. Luckily, Pinterest is full of people with similar tastes and I found plenty of inspo for using potted plants as wedding centerpieces. Here are a few of my favorites:
potted plant inspo {photo cred: Pinterest}

potted plant inspo

{photo cred:  Pinterest}

After looking at several inspo options I came back to reality and reminded myself that if I wanted to actually save money, I couldn’t buy all new fancy planters. I have an abundance of Terra-Cotta pots thanks to my plant obsession – and a serious clearance sale at Joann Fabric last week – but  even in a fall wedding, I didn’t want a clay color to be the focal point. So what’s a girl to do? Distress, distress, distress.

I read a few articles online about various ways to distress clay pots. Honestly, most of them seemed way too complicated. One even said you had to soak them overnight in a solution. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Here’s what I did instead:

How to Easily Distress Terra-Cotta Pots


  • Terra-Cotta Pots in various sizes
  • A lint free cloth (to wipe down the pots before painting)
  • A small paintbrush (mine was 1.5”)
  • White paint (tip: this is a great way to use up paint samples!)
  • Sandpaper (I used a coarse grit)materials for distressing terra-cotta pots


  1. Wipe down Terra-Cotta pots to remove any dirt, dust, etc. It won’t your pots up if something gets left behind, but starting with a clean surface will save you time in the sanding phase.

  2. Using a small amount of paint on your brush, apply paint to outside of Terra-Cotta pots and inside rim. Don’t worry about brush strokes or painting the entire surface,  loosely covered is fine. Let dry.
    paint terra cotta pots white
  3. Once the pots are completely dry, take a coarse grit sand paper (trust me on this) and begin sanding the pots. I sanded in small circles and around the entire pot.
    let dryKeep sanding until you start to like the look. Tip: don’t forget to sand on the inside rim of the pot.
    use sandpaper to distress Terra-Cotta pots
    {left: before sanding | right: after sanding}terra-cotta pots before and after sanding
  4. Wipe any dust off. Voila! Distressed Terra-Cotta pots.
    distressed terra cotta pots

Styling with Distressed Terra-Cotta Pots

After a day of distressing and planting, I couldn’t wait to see what the distressed Terra-Cotta pots would look like in a tablescape. There is a large outdoor table bae made in our backyard that I used as basecamp for completing this DIY. It’s also the space I decided to style once everything was a wrap.

terra-cotta pots styled on table

I looked around my home decor for items that could be used to style the table and grabbed a fun bronzy cactus and vintage candelabras that were my grandmothers. Then I  added smaller votives and a few dark candles to bring in the cabernet accent color of our wedding.

styled table with terra-cotta pots, candles

To break this look down across some of the smaller tables at our wedding I’m planning to use similar live edge wood centerpieces with the plants, brass candleholders and fresh flowers with the help of our amazing florist, Anna at Urban Petals.

So what’s the verdict? I love how these pots turned out and and planning to do more. They were probably one of the easiest DIYs ever since we had all of the materials around our house already. What do you guys think? Did you try it? Leave me a comment below and let me know how you feel about these DIY distressed Terra-Cotta pots 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *