How to Paint Clay Flower Pots

Updated February 21, 2017

If you would like to paint your clay flower pots, you will need to consider some important factors, or you will end up with a finish that won't remain durable. Because clay is ill-suited for paint adhesion, you must select the proper type of coating, or the finish will eventually fail. In addition, you need to know the proper application do's and don'ts, or you will end up creating a finish that is destined to chip and peel over time.

Work outdoors or in a ventilated area.

Place the clay flower pot on top of a fabric dust sheet.

Remove dirt from the flower pot using a dry, coarse plastic brush. Wipe any remaining dust from the pot with a sticky tack cloth.

Coat the inside of the pot with a polyurethane sealer, using a paintbrush manufactured for use with oil paints. Wait three hours for the sealer to dry.

Wash the brush with white spirit.

Coat the outside of the pot with porch paint, using the cleaned paintbrush. Wait two hours for the painted pot to dry. Apply another coat if necessary.


Rust-Oleum manufactures a high-quality porch paint, appropriate for painting clay flower pots. Ensure that the porch paint you choose is oil-based.


Do not use water to clean the flower pot, as this will interfere with paint adhesion. Don't use rags in place of a tack cloth, or you may leave dust that will inhibit adhesion. Do not paint the inside of a clay flower pot if you intend to plant vegetation in it. Only paint the inside if the pot is intended to be ornamental. Don't use ordinary acrylic latex or oil-based paints to coat clay flower pots, or the finish will chip and flake.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy-duty fabric dust sheet
  • Coarse plastic brush
  • Tack cloth
  • Polyurethane sealer
  • 2- to 3-inch oil-based paintbrush
  • White spirit
  • Porch paint
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About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.