Program Details
Terracotta Pot Painting Activity

This is a two-day activity (so paint can dry). It can be a great way for residents to get creative and make pots for their own windowsill herbs and succulents or to share with a loved one as a gift. 


  • Terracotta pots - new or used - one for each person in the group
  • Terracotta sealer (terracotta are porous and unless you seal them, water will seep through in a few months, ruining the projects)
  • Acrylic craft paint in desired colors
  • Foam brushes and artist paint brushes

How to clean used terracotta pots: 

You’ll need a stiff brush and soft brush, white vinegar, and a large plastic container or sink. 

  • Wet and remove dirt with a stiff brush as much as possible. You may use sandpaper for stubborn dirt.
  • Make a vinegar and water solution (the ratio should be half & half) and submerge pots and soak for 30 minutes.
  • Use a soft brush to scrub off the remaining dirt. 
  • Allow to dry thoroughly either in the sun or overnight.

How to clean new terracotta pots:

  • Remove tags and stickers by soaking in warm water for one hour, then scrub clean with a brush. Dry completely before painting.

Instructions for Painting:

  • Spray terracotta sealer thoroughly on the insides of the pots (this is done outdoors by staff, preferably on the day before the session).
  • Cover the work surface with newspaper to avoid a mess. 
  • Give each resident a pot or two, plus a foam brush and paint.
  • Instruct by example if needed; sit with them and start a project. 
  • If the pot absorbs the first coat, apply a second, even a third. It is a good idea to let the paint dry for 15-20 minutes in between coats.
  • Protip: Don’t apply paint to the bottom; it hinders drainage. 
  • Encourage residents to customize their projects.

Here are some examples of designs:

  • Use painter’s tape to create a geometric herringbone outline using the artist brushes 
  • You can glue pictures or cord braids around the pot to give it more texture 
  • Use neon paint to make bright, beautiful designs! 
  • Use some old, recycled nail polish as paint for the finer details in the design
  • Write messages, such as “Happy Spring!” or “Spring has sprung!” 
  • Scallop the edges in a different colour to make the pots pop!
Staffing Requirements
Expected Outcomes
Program Type
Level of Care
Assisted Living
Independent Living
Long Term Care
Memory Care
Dimension of Wellness