Rainbow Pour Painting Flower Pots



rainbow pour painting
Last week, I read a blog post by Aleacia at Dilly-Dali Art that changed my life.  Okay, not really.  But I did read a post with the coolest. art. activity. EVER!!!  And, it did change my life in that I had to run out to a craft store for paint AND a home improvement store for pots immediately.  Now, I am all about arts and crafts projects from stuff we already have at home, but this one made me want to RUN out right away to get the things we needed to buy.  Trust me when I say it takes something really special for me to be willing to do that!! 

In the 6 days following the reading of the coolest-art-activity-ever post, we have attempted this project twice.  The first time we followed Dilly-Dali’s instructions to a “T”.  See her post so you can drool over their artwork…I mean, read all the directions! 😉  (Go ahead, it’s really simple!)

Immediately, we all fell in love with the painting technique.  I mean, who doesn’t love squeezing stuff out of a bottle?  And the layers of colors that slide down the sides of the pot are just mesmerizing!  

For our first attempt, we painted 8 small terra cotta pots, most of which will be gifts for Mother’s Day (for various family members the kids chose to make them for–Shhhh!  Don’t tell!).  I painted them white with indoor/outdoor spray paint first.  


Then we used acrylic paint in rainbow colors and followed Dilly-Dali’s methods. 

$2.99/each at Michael’s.  I used a 20% off entire purchase coupon.

The next day, I painted the lip and interior with some of the red acrylic paint once the pots were dry enough to be placed upright.  


I sprayed them with polyurethane after they were completely dried.


Here’s the one I’m keeping for myself…er, I mean, that the kids made for me!


I think the pots turned out beautifully, but we did run into a few issues:

  • Too much paint.  Aleacia warns in her post that less is more, and we definitely learned that the hard way!  Less IS really more in this case!
  • Bugs.  Because the paint takes a really long time to dry, flies, gnats, and other flying bugs can’t seem to stay out of it.
  • Un-level ground.  This causes the paint to not flow over the sides evenly, so sometimes I had to adjust the pot’s level by hand to get paint over all sides.
  • Smeared paint.  With the pots surrounded in a puddle of wet paint, you have to move them once the sides seem dry.  Unfortunately for us, even though the sides felt dry to me, I managed to get fingerprints or smear the paint on several of our pots.
  • What to do with the saucers?  There’s no real way to paint the saucers to match.  I tried rolling the saucers in the pooled, leftover paint, but did not like the look on the two I tried.  I decided to just stick with the white spray painted look for the rest of them.

We had so much fun with rainbow pour painting attempt #1, it inspired me to do a few projects I had been putting off: we had 2 houseplants that needed repotting (badly!) and we wanted to get a palm tree for our porch.  I bought an 8″ pot, a 10″ pot, and a 14″ pot (if memory serves me correctly about the sizes, that is!).

To try to improve upon what we did the first time, I decided to try a few things differently for attempt #2:

  • Too much paint.  Well, we still used too much paint, but I think we did somewhat better.  We tried to use smaller amounts at a time and just rotate through the colors over and over.
  • Bugs.  To limit this, we did 2 of the pots on our screened porch.  Big improvement!
  • Un-level ground.  Because I was aware that this was important, I tried to make sure they were as level as possible before starting, but I still tipped the pot as needed to get more even overflow.
  • Smeared paint.  To prevent this, I suspended each pot above the ground using various buckets, containers, and even our sit-n-spin under the pots.  I then placed cardboard and paper bags underneath to collect the dripping paint and protect the floor.  This was a HUGE improvement and I highly recommend suspending your pots!  Leave them until they are completely dry and you will not have any smeared paint or cardboard stuck to the lip of your pots!
  • What to do with the saucers?  Instead of trying any crazy painting technique, I just choose to paint them white.  I also sprayed the whole pot, lip of the pot, and the top part of the interior of the pot white.  With the suspension technique, I didn’t have to go back and paint the lip of the pot afterwards.

Here’s attempt #2 with the 3 larger pots.  I started by painting the pots and saucers white with indoor/outdoor spray paint.

A good way to reuse pizza boxes!
Here is the 8″ pot from start to finish.  It sat on top of our sit-n-spin.
Here is the 10″ pot from start to finish.  This one was my fav!  It was sitting on top of a giant, empty pretzel container from BJ’s.
I wish I could have frozen it at this point.  Isn’t it lovely???
Here is the 14″ pot from start to finish.  It was sitting on top of several buckets stacked on top of each other, suspended over a used pizza box.  We sort of ran out of paint on this one, but I really like the look we ended up with.
Ahhhhh!  Now that’s better!
So, that’s it!  Our 7 bottles of paint lasted for all 8 small pots, and the 3 larger pots.  It probably would have gone a lot further, too, if we could have remembered that less is more!  LESS IS MORE!!! 
I want to say a big thank you to Aleacia at Dilly-Dali Art for sharing this really awesome idea and inspiring us to make some really fun, usable, and unique art! 🙂
And I want to apologize for including WAY too many photos…but you should have seen how many I had to cut out already!  Hey, this is my blog and I can go photo-crazy if I want to, right? 😉
Have you tried pour painting?
See our newest pour-painted creation:
a DIY bird bath made from terra cotta pots here

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