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DIY Marbleized Terra-Cotta Pots

By: Carrie Topp , Chloe Deike 
Add pizzazz to your pots with this fun, DIY method of marbleizing containers with spray paints.

Give your pots a chic, marbleized look

Of all the ways to paint clay pots, creating this marble effect with spray paint ranks at the top for us. The finish is classy and a cinch to pull off. But the end result resembles high-end marble.

What you’ll need to marbleize your clay pot

Check out the materials list below and you’ll see that you probably have most of the supplies around your home already. We tested out a couple of pots using the spray paint we had on hand to get a feel for the project and then purchased paint in a specific color palette to get the exact look we wanted.

Materials

  • 5-gallon bucket or deep plastic tub filled with water
  • Terra-cotta clay pots (4 or 6 in.)
  • Spray paint (base coat and 2 or more colors for marbling)
  • Latex gloves and painter’s mask
  • Bamboo skewers
  • A cardboard tray and bamboo stakes

marbleized-pot-materials: Make a drying rack from a cardboard nursery flat and bamboo stakes cut to fit.

Pick your palette

The palette options are infinite — explore some great color ideas in our how-to video. In the pot you see here, we chose to use a matte gray, glossy black, creamy white and a touch of red to create a classic marble look. Look for color inspiration in your garden or home decor to help you choose your palette. Check out some of our favorite color palettes we experimented with in this PDF.

Collecting your materials will probably be the most time-intensive part of this project. The rest of the steps are a breeze and fun to experiment with!

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How to marbleize a clay pot

DIY-Marbleized Terra-Cotta Pots from Garden Gate magazine: Marbleizing plain clay pots is a great weekend project.

Step 1: Start with the base color

Prepare a drying space within arms reach for your pot to dry. We repurposed a cardboard nursery flat and cut a bamboo stake into sections that fit inside the flat. The pot can rest upside down while it dries here.

Wear gloves and a painter’s mask and spray paint the pot with the base color. We chose a matte charcoal gray. The paint won’t take longer than 10 minutes to dry. While you wait, fill the bucket or tub with water deep enough to completely submerge the pot.

spray-surface-with-paint: Work quickly spraying layers of paint onto the surface of the water.

Step 2: Prepare the paint

Next you’ll create the marble layer — be prepared to work quickly with these steps. First, completely spray to cover the surface of the water in the bucket with a layer of paint. Without delay, spray another layer of a different color of paint, and keep spraying alternating layers of color to create a solid film of paint on the water’s surface. We sprayed 5 to 7 alternating layers of black and white with one quick spray of brick red for a pop of color.

marbleize-surface-with-skewer: Swirl the paint colors together with a skewer to achieve a marbled effect.

Step 3: Create the marble effect

You can see the marble effect beginning to form on the surface above. Next, grab the wooden skewer and, using the tip like in the photo above, gently swirl the colors together a few times until you see a pattern that appeals to you.

Project tip

  • If you want to do multiple pots in the same bucket of water, skim the surface with your gloved hand or use an old mesh strainer to collect the leftover paint.
  • To use a different color palette, be sure no previous paint remains. If it can't be removed, it's best to dump the water and refill the bucket.

submerge-pot-in-water-to-marbleize: Submerging and lifting the clay pot should be done slowly.

Step 4: Dip your pot

Holding onto the edge of the pot, slowly dip to submerge it. You can see above that we held it at an angle so that water flowed in through the drainage hole and submerged easily.

As the pot is completely submerged, gently twist it back and forth to break the film of paint on the water’s surface. This prevents any accidental “double dipping,” which can muddle the marble pattern.

drying-marbleized-pot: Witness the marbled magic and set out to dry.

Step 5: Let it dry

Remove the pot slowly and set it upside-down to dry on a homemade rack made from a cardboard nursery flat and bamboo stakes cut to fit, like you see above. Inserting a finger through the drainage hole gives you a way to hold the pot without touching the paint. Your marbleized pot will be dry in no time and you can admire your terra-cotta transformation!

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Marbleized color palette inspiration

Check out these different color palettes we experimented with for this project in the gallery below. You can also download this PDF to print out as a reference.

Practice with Plastic Nursery Pots

To get the hang of the process, a perfect way to practice the marbleizing techinque is to try it out on a few plastic nursery pots. For these tests, we didn't bother with a base coat since the nursery pots were already black, purple and green. These is also a great project for kids!

Marble Colors:
(A) Krylon® Short Cuts® Turquoise
(B) Krylon Short Cuts Forever Blue
(C) Krylon® ColorMaster Gloss Bauhaus Gold
(D) Krylon ColorMaster Satin Pimento

Surf City Sequel

A different basecoat color and a punch of green were cast in this sequel.

Basecoat:
Krylon ColorMaxx Gloss Blue Ocean Breeze

Marble Colors:
(A) Krylon Short Cuts Turquoise
(B) Krylon Short Cuts Forever Blue
(C) Krylon ColorMaxx Gloss Citrus Green

Sweet on Citrus

Give your pot some zest with these bright colors.

Basecoat:
Krylon ColorMaxx Gloss Citrus Green

Marble Colors:
(A) Krylon ColorMaster Gloss Bauhaus Gold
(B) Krylon ColorMaxx Gloss Dover White
(C) Premium Decor Metallic Copper

Hickory Glam

Draw inspiration from favorite wood grains.

Basecoat:
Krylon ColorMaster Gloss Bauhaus Gold

Marble Colors:
(A) Krylon Short Cuts True Taupe
(B) Krylon Short Cuts Espresso
(C) Premium Decor Metallic Copper

Double Marble

We waited two days before marbleizing with the second pair of colors.

NO BASECOAT

Marble Colors:
(A) Rust-Oleum American Accents Smooth Satin Coral
(B) Rust-Oleum® 2X Ultra Cover® Satin Green Apple
(C) Krylon ColorMaxx Gloss Dover White
(D) Krylon ColorMaster Semi-gloss Black

Surf City

Basecoat:
Krylon ColorMaxx Gloss Dover White

Marble Colors:
(A) Krylon Short Cuts Turquoise
(B) Krylon Short Cuts Forever Blue

Project tip

Miniature-sized spray paint cans like the Krylon short Cuts are a win for this project. It’s easy to hold one in each hand for quick work!

Sheen Sampler

Three separate sheens are showcased here.

Basecoat:
Premium Decor® Metallic Copper

Marble Colors:
(A) Krylon ColorMaster Semi-gloss Black
(B) Rust-Oleum® American Accents® Smooth Satin Coral

Likin’ Lichen

This color palette was inspired by a lichen-covered twig found on a hike in the Black Hills.

Basecoat:
Krylon ColorMaster Semi-gloss Black

Marble Colors:
(A) Krylon ColorMaxx Gloss Citrus Green
(B) Rust-Oleum American Accents Gloss Ocean Mist

Copper & White

Two different colored terra-cotta pots, two different looks!

NO Basecoats

Marble Colors:
(A) Premium Decor Metallic Copper
(B) Krylon ColorMaxx Gloss Dover White

Amethyst Amour

Fall in love with this gem-of-a-pot.

Basecoat:
Rust-Oleum® Painter’s Touch® 2X Ultra Cover® Ultra Matte Slate

Marble Colors:
(A) Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Satin Silver Lilac
(B) Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Gloss Purple
(C) Rust-Oleum Glitter Clear Sealer

Practice with Plastic Nursery Pots

To get the hang of the process, a perfect way to practice the marbleizing techinque is to try it out on a few plastic nursery pots. For these tests, we didn't bother with a base coat since the nursery pots were already black, purple and green. These is also a great project for kids!

Marble Colors:
(A) Krylon® Short Cuts® Turquoise
(B) Krylon Short Cuts Forever Blue
(C) Krylon® ColorMaster Gloss Bauhaus Gold
(D) Krylon ColorMaster Satin Pimento

Surf City

Basecoat:
Krylon ColorMaxx Gloss Dover White

Marble Colors:
(A) Krylon Short Cuts Turquoise
(B) Krylon Short Cuts Forever Blue

Project tip

Miniature-sized spray paint cans like the Krylon short Cuts are a win for this project. It’s easy to hold one in each hand for quick work!

Surf City Sequel

A different basecoat color and a punch of green were cast in this sequel.

Basecoat:
Krylon ColorMaxx Gloss Blue Ocean Breeze

Marble Colors:
(A) Krylon Short Cuts Turquoise
(B) Krylon Short Cuts Forever Blue
(C) Krylon ColorMaxx Gloss Citrus Green

Sheen Sampler

Three separate sheens are showcased here.

Basecoat:
Premium Decor® Metallic Copper

Marble Colors:
(A) Krylon ColorMaster Semi-gloss Black
(B) Rust-Oleum® American Accents® Smooth Satin Coral

Sweet on Citrus

Give your pot some zest with these bright colors.

Basecoat:
Krylon ColorMaxx Gloss Citrus Green

Marble Colors:
(A) Krylon ColorMaster Gloss Bauhaus Gold
(B) Krylon ColorMaxx Gloss Dover White
(C) Premium Decor Metallic Copper

Likin’ Lichen

This color palette was inspired by a lichen-covered twig found on a hike in the Black Hills.

Basecoat:
Krylon ColorMaster Semi-gloss Black

Marble Colors:
(A) Krylon ColorMaxx Gloss Citrus Green
(B) Rust-Oleum American Accents Gloss Ocean Mist

Hickory Glam

Draw inspiration from favorite wood grains.

Basecoat:
Krylon ColorMaster Gloss Bauhaus Gold

Marble Colors:
(A) Krylon Short Cuts True Taupe
(B) Krylon Short Cuts Espresso
(C) Premium Decor Metallic Copper

Copper & White

Two different colored terra-cotta pots, two different looks!

NO Basecoats

Marble Colors:
(A) Premium Decor Metallic Copper
(B) Krylon ColorMaxx Gloss Dover White

Double Marble

We waited two days before marbleizing with the second pair of colors.

NO BASECOAT

Marble Colors:
(A) Rust-Oleum American Accents Smooth Satin Coral
(B) Rust-Oleum® 2X Ultra Cover® Satin Green Apple
(C) Krylon ColorMaxx Gloss Dover White
(D) Krylon ColorMaster Semi-gloss Black

Amethyst Amour

Fall in love with this gem-of-a-pot.

Basecoat:
Rust-Oleum® Painter’s Touch® 2X Ultra Cover® Ultra Matte Slate

Marble Colors:
(A) Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Satin Silver Lilac
(B) Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Gloss Purple
(C) Rust-Oleum Glitter Clear Sealer

Published: Dec. 2, 2020
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