Rainbow Pour Painting Flower Pots

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 so we could make Rainbow Pour Painting Flower Pots right away!!  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!!
rainbow pour painting flower pots

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, Rainbow Pour Painted Pots, 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.

rainbow pour painting flower pots
rainbow pour painting flower pots

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


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 rainbow pour painting flower pots?  What are you waiting for?!?
rainbow pour painting flower pots
See our newest pour-painted creation:
a DIY bird bath made from terra cotta pots here!

This post may contain affiliate links.

Genny Upton

A former teacher turned stay at home mom to two preschool aged children. Creator (and writer) at In Lieu of Preschool and Parent Teach Play. Currently publishing my first children's picture book!

  • Wowsers! I am completely in Love with this! The end result is just stunning. (I would have included this many pics too if I had this many unreal pics!) haha. Nice one

  • Oh wow! This i so cool! I love it! Can’t wait to try pour painting

  • Aleacia says:

    Your pots turned out great! I’m thrilled that you were so inspired by my post. We used those same paints from Michael’s, I think your green is darker though. I will be experimenting some more with colors later down the line (we’re in the process of moving) but I’m so excited to have pots for myself since I made the others as gifts.
    I like the way you suspended the pots, I had originally planned to place them on canvases so the extra paint wouldn’t be wasted, I may try that later too.
    Thanks for posting about your pots! 🙂

  • So amazing – this technique is new to me and I loved it on Aleacia’s blog and also yours! I can’t wait to try it! I think the ones where you ran out of paint are simply beautiful. Might be my favorite version you did. Conceptually, I can’t imagine how it turns out so awesomely, so I MUST try this with the kids! (Although, if I do it with my kids, they’ll definitely be smudgy pots!) Thanks for sharing your lovely photos 🙂

  • Ms. Liz says:

    They look great, every single one of them! I guess that’s the best part about this particular art project… you really can’t go wrong, even when you do something wrong! Pour painting is definitely on the to-do list over here. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Very nice! You all did a great job! My 8 year old son saw these pots and said, “We need to try that!” We’re in the middle of moving, hopefully, so we’ll have to postpone it until we get settled somewhere else.

  • I saw those last week too and thought they were just adorable! You just took went to work on it! WOW – They look even prettier with plants inside! All the pictures came out great! Thanks for sharing:)

  • Lorie K says:

    Love these! Pinned them to the Kid’s Co-op board!

  • Beautiful!!!
    Pinning 🙂

    Great to see your creation at Made With love,

  • This is such a fun technique! Thanks for sharing with us at the Kids Co-Op this week.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Just did this with my home daycare kiddos today. We had SO much fun! Since it was 4 1-3 year olds and just me I decided that we would work on them all together just one pot at a time. I had them do the little pots – 4 inch I think – and the attention spans were fading as we got to the 4th pot. I used pint glasses (we have no lack of those in our house from our college days!) wrapped in plastic grocery bags to set the pots on. Those were the perfect size and worked really well. I also decided to do these in the garage so we did not have the bug issue. Thanks for the heads up on that because he have plenty of them flying around IA already this year!

    Tomorrow we will head to the nursery to pick out the perfect flowers to put in them. These are going to make awesome Mother’s Day gifts for the kids to take home. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • wow!! wow!! thats it really!! wow!! Thats made a world of difference to how those post look.. and has brightened up your entire home.. WOW!! what a stunning idea.. Super impressed with your creativity.. Im following you now!! Sure hope you’ll drop by at Colours Dekor too..

    Thank you for sharing this.. and above all.. thank you for linking into Made by Love..

  • Nicole says:

    Wow they turned out wonderful! I am going to have to try this with the kids! Thanks so much for sharing! Have a wonderful week.

    Mama Of Many Blessings

  • Amy says:

    I can’t wait to try this with my son, they will make the perfect end of the year presents for his teachers! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Carrie says:

    These are so beautiful!! Thank you for sharing them at my Mother’s Day Gift Idea link party!

  • Amy says:

    Already got the supplies and tried it! It was awesome and even my 5 year old son with ADD loved doing it! I also found that if you slowly swirl small amounts of the paint on the bottom of the pot and then slowly push it over the side you get swirls in the paint as it slides down which is very cool. Thanks again, his teachers are going to love them! And so will Mommy and Ma-Maw!

  • Deebi27 says:

    OMG my gosh, what a great idea…flower pots!!! Why did I not see this before Mother’s Day! UGH!! Well it is on hold for next year, but I have an empty terra cotta pot, I will play with tomorrow with my acrylics in the classroom…

  • kraftykat424 says:

    love this idea, also i had an idea for your saucers, why no sit them under your hanging pots as you paint them? then as it drips off of the pot it will color the saucer as well. gonna have to do this with my girls.

  • Diane36301 says:

    I really love these. Thank you for sharing. I really love the last one that you said you ran out of paint on. I would pay for this pot. As for the saucers. I think if you set them on their side and put a few drop of paint on them and let the run like the pot it would have the same effect. Thank you again for sharing.

  • Anonymous says:

    I like your pots better 😉

  • JulieS says:

    I think I am going to try this, but what do you think about putting a strip of painters tape around the top edge so that there is a white stripe to match the white of the base. Or do you think that the paint will be too thick to pull it off neatly?

  • Sara Pierce says:

    these are so adorable!!! Can’t wait till my little one is old enough to do this with!

  • Holly says:

    You inspired us!! Thank you for the tip to suspend the pots, it worked GREAT!!!



  • Erica says:

    The last one is my favorite! I think I will give this a try…and perhaps limit the color palette to match the room it is going in. Thanks for the ideas!

  • I have the preschoolers for vbs this year, and I’m so going to let them do this… but with one big pot… and we’ll work on it each day to use in the room for the year! Thanks for the idea… it will be a such fun!

  • Anonymous says:

    My favorite is the last one you published! Awesome job!!

  • Kris Koch says:

    They are stunning! My kids are going to freak when they see these. Going to have to get the supplies right away and try them out. Every photo was better than the previous. LOVE the last one best. Running out of paint made for a spectacular piece!!! Thanks for sharing. Pinning away!!!!

  • Elizabeth says:

    I am totally not crafty, but when I saw the original post I thought I could handle this to make gifts for the teachers at our nursery school. But I have a very basic question which probably reveals my lack of craftiness: do you need to wait for each later of paint to dry? If not, why don’t the colors mix?

  • soliwit says:

    I am absolutely in love with that last one, really perfect….I am SO going to do some this week!!!!

  • I just tried this idea and it didn’t turn out perfect, but will try it again because it was so much fun! See the repost on mommanowwhat.com

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for idea!! Love it!!~Donna((John’s wife))

  • I have a very basic question which probably reveals my lack of craftiness: do you need to wait for each later of paint to dry? If not, why don’t the colors mix

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    • Nope, you just use one color right after the other. The acrylic paints are pretty thick and don’t really mix when you use this technique, though I’m not sure of the reason that they don’t…. 🙂

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  • Anni says:

    What a beautiful project! I made two flower pots myself here: http://bastelbazooka.blogspot.de/2013/03/artsy-fartsy-flower-pots.html
    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Cheers, Anni

  • Denise says:

    Love the pots! I am thinking about doing this for an activity for our church family retreat, but I am need of knowing how long it takes them to dry. We would be doing them on Friday evening, would they be dry Sunday when it is time to leave?

    • Genny Upton says:

      Thanks! Yes, I would think they would. I’d suggest bringing along wax paper to pass out (or something similar) to sit them on for the trip home just in case they are still a tad sticky. It’s really only the bottom of the pot that takes awhile to dry. The sides dry pretty quickly.

  • Denise says:

    Love the pots! I am thinking about doing this for an activity for our church family retreat, but I am need of knowing how long it takes them to dry. We would be doing them on Friday evening, would they be dry by Sunday when it is time to leave?

  • Jude says:

    Just imagine getting a few smaller pots and doing the process and makeing them into a ‘wind chime’.

  • Janet says:

    Love this! So fun and easy to do! Did this with my kiddos last weekend!


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  • Rosalie Gilbert says:

    This is awesome! I cannot wait to try this with my 8 year old grandson.Thank you so much for all the beautiful photos and also thank you very much for all your tips after trying it.My grandson and I made painted nesting soup cans this summer to make wind chimes and that is where your extra tips after already trying it comes in handy because after trying it with the cans I found easier methods of doing it. Our nesting can wind chimes came out of the family fun Mag. craft section. They came out so pretty too. We used empty soup cans,empty veg. cans,and empty tom. cans. I now cannot wait to try your idea. Sometimes I feel like I live to make crafts .I am now hooked on Pinterest everyday.

  • jacky says:

    I loved this idea and the bird bath, so tried it. But my acrylic paint didn’t run down… it kind of slooooooowly crawled and stopped after about a cm! Did I use the wrong kind of paint?

  • Daniela says:

    This is one of the most cool looking pots I have ever seen. Going to do it soon!
    Love it


  • Connie says:

    My friend and I tried this and had a hard time getting the paint to run and it got far too thick. We added just a little water and the paint ran wonderfully. We think that is the trick – just a small amount of water.

  • Casse-bonbec says:

    wow, I love your pots, they’re splendid. Your children must be very proud of themselves !

  • You could just put two sticks under the pots when painting. This will allow them to drip and not need the bag or suspension.

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  • Amy says:

    Did you tape up the hole on the bottom of the pot as well? Thanks!

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  • CINDY says:

    very nice

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  • Melissa says:

    What do you do with the drain hole of the pot? It doesn’t look like there is a hole in the middle of the ones you did. I’m not sure how to make this work around the drain hole….HELP!

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