How to paint a birdbath

Updated February 21, 2017

Paint a birdbath to add a decorative touch to your outdoor decor Birdbaths are often made from metal, terra cotta or concrete. Concrete and terra cotta birdbaths are porous and you should paint them with breathable paint that allows moisture to evaporate through the painted surface. Metal is non-porous; you can easily paint metal birdbaths with metal spray paint. Make sure that you properly prepare the surface of any type of birdbath before applying paint.

Clean the birdbath thoroughly with full strength white distilled vinegar and a scrub brush. You can also clean the birdbath with a 50/50 blend of bleach and water. Let the birdbath dry completely.

Apply concrete sealer to the outside of a concrete birdbath. Seal the inside and outside of a terra cotta planter birdbath with terra cotta sealer. Many sealers can be used on either material; read the application recommendation. Most sealers are applied with a brush or a roller, similar to paint. Read and follow the sealer manufacturer's recommended application directions and dry times. Allow the sealer to dry completely.

Prime the outside of a sealed concrete or sealed terra cotta birdbath with exterior latex or acrylic primer. Latex and acrylic paints are breathable and will allow moisture to escape. Prime a metal birdbath with metal spray primer. Allow the primer to dry.

Apply the first thin coat of exterior latex or acrylic paint or metal spray paint to the primed surfaces. Let it dry. Apply a second thin coat of paint and let it dry. Continue to paint thin layers of paint until the birdbath is covered completely. Make sure to allow the paint to dry between coats.


Decorate the painted birdbath with a pattern using stencils or templates. Acrylic craft paints work for the decorations on any type of painted birdbath.


Seal, prime and paint a birdbath in a well-ventilated area.

Things You'll Need

  • White distilled vinegar
  • Scrub brush
  • Concrete sealer
  • Exterior latex or acrylic primer
  • Exterior latex or acrylic paint
  • Paintbrushes
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About the Author

Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.