Can You Spray Paint Terracotta Pots?


Last updated: August 31, 2023

Learn How to Spray Paint Terracotta Pots and the Types of Spray Paints to Use in this Comprehensive Guide.

Can you spray paint terracotta pots?

If you have new or old terracotta pots that you are looking to change how they look, painting is certainly one way of doing so.

Painting is easier to master, and you can even do the project on your own over the weekend without needing a professional.

If you are asking, can I spray paint a terra cotta pot? Tune in as I go into details about the essential information regarding the topic as long as providing you with a step-by-step process you can follow when painting terracotta pots.

Can You Spray Paint Terracotta Pots?

Spray paint can be used on terracotta pots. Spray paint is an easy-to-use, cost-effective, quick, and relatively durable way of giving your terracotta pots a new lease of life. Due to the porous nature of the surface, Acrylic paint is the best option for painting terracotta pots.

Why you should paint terracotta pots using spray paint

Some of the main reasons why you should consider spray painting when sprucing up your terracotta pots include the following:

  • Easy to use: Spray paint can be easy to use. All one has to do is hold the paint can at a 45-degree angle to, and 6-10 inches from, the pot’s surface. Spray painting terracotta pots is a straightforward process just like spray painting Yeti cups.

  • Faster: Unlike using a brush, spray painting is much faster. Generally, when spray painting, you will probably take less than one-fourth and a half of the time you would have taken in case you used a bristle brush and roller, respectively.

  • Cost-effective: Cost affects everything today, including the choice of paint to use when painting terracotta pots. Luckily, there are very good and reputable spray paints that are cost-effective and retail from as low as $1.5. This makes spray painting your clay pottery items a whole lot more cost-effective.

  • Relatively more durable than latex paints: While different types of spray paint are available in the market, most are more durable than latex-based paints. Also, spray paints are available for different uses, e.g., outdoor, indoor, removable, and marine.

  • Creative freedom: Sprays allow the painter more creative freedom, making implementing different finishes to clay pots much easier than brushes and rollers.

How to get the best spray paint for your pots

Before you walk into any local hardware or supplies stores and pick any spray paint, you should know which paint is the best. 

If you plan to spray paint terra cotta pots, planters, or any other items, I recommend using acrylic paint. Check out my post where I reviewed some of the best Acrylic spray paints to help you select the ones that fits your budget and preference.

I have used these paints for most of my DIY spray painting projects that involve clay, pottery, and even ceramic items.

Can you spray paint terracotta pots?

There are other paint options you can go for, such as epoxy, enamel gloss, and more. The main thing is to ensure that you check to ensure that clay is listed as one of the surfaces on which you may use the paint.

Step-by-step guide on how to spray paint a terra cotta pot

Let us quickly look at some of the materials and supplies that might be required and then take a deeper look at the steps involved in the process

Supplies and materials to be used

  • Safety equipment.
  • Newspaper, drop clothes, and cardboard.
  • The clay pots.
  • Primer and paint.
  • Sandpapers (120 and 200 grit).
  • Scour pad.
  • Cleaning supplies.
  • Waterproof sealers.

Step 1: Prepare clay pot


As always, the first thing you should do it to clean all the dirt and grime from your pots before anything else. 

You can use a scouring pad and gently rub off the dirt using soapy water. Remember to be gentle, so you do not make any markings on the pot.

After cleaning your pot, rinse it well with clean water and let it air dry. After this, you are ready to start sanding it.


You might be asking, is sanding important? The short answer is yes. 

Whether you are using a previously painted terracotta pot or a plain terracotta pot, sanding is a crucial step that should not be skipped – trust me, I have tried it!

When using a painted terracotta item, sanding could be a good way to remove the old paint so that the new one can stick properly to the item’s surface. 

In the case above, you should sand the terracotta pot slightly longer than if it was not painted. 

I recommend you sand using 120-grit sandpaper and then move to 200-grit sandpaper. Doing this should give you a surface that is ready for any painting.

If you are using plain terracotta pots, you could sand using the 200-grit sandpaper – you may have to make two rounds of sanding to get the surface of your terra cotta pot ready.

Step 2: Applying a sealer

Whether you will be spray painting the whole pot or not, I would advise applying a thin coat of sealer to the whole item – inside and out. 

The sealer will help make the pot a little more waterproof and thus will not trap or absorb any moisture, which may lead to the peeling of your paint job down the line. 

Ensure that you cover every part of the pot will the spray sealer. Let it dry, and then move to the next step.

Quick Tip: If you will use the painted clay pots outdoors, add another coat of sealant to the outer surface of the painted pots to give them extra protection from the elements. However, I usually skip this if the paint I use has a waterproof or moisture-resistant finish.

Step 3: Apply a primer

After the sealer is dry completely, you can then go ahead and apply a light layer of primer. 

Apart from reducing the amount of pahat your clay pot will absorb, the primer also helps the paint stick properly to the pot’s surface.

Let the first primer coat dry, then gently sand it before applying another coat of the spray primer. Sanding will rough up the pot’s surface so the first and second coats can adhere to each other well.

Once the second coat is completely dry, you can spray paint your terra cotta pot.

A Quick Tip: If using a spray paint that is both a paint and primer (2-in-1), then there is no need to use a primer; you can proceed with the painting process.

Step 4: Staging your work area

We all know that if you stage your work area properly, the painting process will be enjoyable and much easier.

Ensure the area is well-aerated and has enough space. Place the pot you will paint on a drop cloth, cardboard, or newspaper. Ensure you have enough space to move around to paint different sides of the pot.

Put on your protective equipment, i.e., respirator mask, gloves, coveralls, and goggles.

Step 5: Spraying the pot

You can now start spray painting your pot. 

When painting a small and light pot, I usually put my hand inside it and turn it upside down.

With my hand still holding the pot in this position, I spray paint the bottom and then the other outer areas of the pot. 

I then put it down upright and spray paint the inside of the pot. 

Remember that if you use the pot for your plant, there is no need to spray paint the entire inside surface.

You can paint halfway into the pot and leave the bottom half of the item without being spray painted. This is because this part will be covered by soil and won’t be visible.

A Quick Tip: Remember to apply multiple thin layers of spray paint. Let each coat dry completely, and then apply the next coat. Typically, 2 to 3 thin coats are enough to give your spray painted terra cotta pot the finish you want.

It is important to note that you should never spray paint inside any pot you will use to store food because spray paints are not food safe.

Best Spray Paints for Terracotta Pots

There are a lot of spray paints available to buyers online. However, the following three are my recommendation for the best spray paints for terra cotta items:

1. Rust Oleum American Accents Spray Paint

Rust Oleum is a brand that is synonymous with high-quality spray paints, and the Rust-Oleum American Accents Spray Paint is no exception.

This paint can be used on various surfaces and materials, including clay terracotta.

It comes in various colors, such as flat white, flat black, and gloss apple red, giving buyers different options for the matte finish they want. There is also a gloss finish option called clear gloss.

It is available on Amazon in 12-ounce cans and has a spray comfort tip.

2. Rust Oleum Painter’s Touch Spray Paint

The Painter’s Touch line of spray paints from the brand is one of the best all-purpose paints I have seen on the market. 

Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Spray Paint comes in different colors and is available in many finish types, such as matte, gloss, semi gloss, metallic, high gloss, satin, and ultra matte.

The paint is available in both 11-ounce and 12-ounce cans and generally takes about 20 minutes to dry to the touch.

3. Krylon Acrylic Spray Paint

Krylon Acrylic Spray Paint is my go-to selection for the right paint for most DIY projects, including sprucing terra cotta pots.

The manufacturer packages the paint in 11-ounce and 6-ounce cans.

The spray paint provides an excellent moisture-resistant glossy finish and only takes 2 hours to dry completely for you to handle and only 10 to 15 minutes to the touch.

Is it important to seal my terracotta pots?

Sealing your terracotta pots is a crucial step that should be taken when spray painting. You must seal the inside of a pot before anything else, especially if you plan to use it to keep your plants.

Sealing makes the waterproof; thus, it will not absorb moisture from the surrounding environment (given the porous nature of clay), leading to your paint job peeling off.

How to seal terra cotta pots

Depending on the scenario, you can seal before or after – in most cases, this is the option of the painter.

  • Sealing before painting: This is what I prefer. I seal the pot inside and out, making it waterproof before I prime or paint it.

  • Sealing after painting: After sealing before painting, you may opt to seal the pot, especially on the outside, if it will be placed outdoors. This will give the paint job an extra layer of protection from the environment.

FAQs – Can You Spray Paint Terracotta Pots?

Can I use Rustoleum to paint terra cotta pots?

Yes, you can use Rustoleum when spray painting terracotta pots. Two of the best products for clay pots from the manufacturer are Rust Oleum American Accents and Rust Oleum Painter’s 

Touch Spray Paint. More details on these two paints are discussed in the post.

What type of spray paint is best for clay pots?

Acrylic spray paints are best for clay pots because they stick well. In addition, the paints are some of the quickest to dry and will, in most cases, take about 15 minutes to dry to touch and 2 hours to dry completely.

Is sanding necessary when spray painting my terra cotta pot?

Sanding is a necessary step that should be taken. If your pot was previously painted, sanding could be a good way to remove the old paint so that the new one can stick properly to the item’s surface. 

What is the best spray for painting terra cotta pots?

Krylon Acrylic Spray Paint is my go-to selection for the right paint for most DIY projects, including sprucing terra cotta pots.

The manufacturer packages the paint in 11-ounce and 6-ounce cans, providing an excellent moisture-resistant glossy finish.

Should I seal my terra cotta pot before or after painting?

You should apply a thin coat of sealer to the whole item – inside and out – before painting. You may also add an extra sealant for outdoor plant pots. This will give an extra coat of protection from the elements.

When painting my terracotta planter, should I paint the entire pot?

No, you should not paint the entire planter. You may paint only half of the pot on the inside since the bottom half will not be seen after you fill in the soil. However, you should always seal the entire pot.

Content Summary

Spray painting provides a quick and easy way of painting terra cotta pots. The best part is that spray paint does not require you to bake your clay pots after painting them.

This makes these paints, especially acrylic spray paints, perfect for home décor and DIY projects involving the painting of pots.

However, just like any other painting process, you have to ensure that you follow the right step and recommendations so that you get the best results. This should not be a problem, given that I have shared my proven step-by-step guide when spray painting clay pots. 

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