Painted Terra Cotta Pots - Project for Kids

I haven't written in this blog in forever. I've gotten involved in so many other things that I have let this go. But I'm hoping to revive it a bit and I think I came up with one way to do it - arts and craft projects. I am an art therapist and work at a non-profit providing art to adults with disabilities. I find a lot of project ideas online but also come up with some on my own. I tried something out today and was very pleased with the effect so I thought I would share it.

I did this project with my class (like I said, adults with various disabilities) but I know if would be a great project for kids too. Here's the finished product (I made this one as a quick example):

Finished Painted Terra Cotta Pot

So, what will you need? You'll need the following: 1 terra cotta pot (I used 4 inch but any size would work), masking tape, oil pastels (any color - I used white and yellow for the sample), acrylic paint (any color you choose - I used a cool blue), water, mixing bowl, paintbrush, and paper towels.

Materials Needed
First, you need to tape off the pot. You can tape it in any way that you choose. I just put 4 vertical stripes on it, trying to space them evenly apart. If you wanted to, you could even get fancy and cut out shapes or letters. Just make sure you rub your fingers over the tape a lot, especially the edges, to try to seal it down as much as possible. Paint will seep underneath a bit, which adds to the design, but you don't want it to seep too much.

Next, color with the oil pastels on the pot. You can color over the tape as it will be peeled off at the end. Scribbling works well for this (this is why this project can work well for even young children). I alternated yellow and white oil pastels and just scribbled, filling in the area between the tape. You can also color the rim inside, but I wouldn't bother trying to color deep into the pot since it wouldn't be visible anyways when it is filled with soil and it's difficult to color way inside.

In a disposable mixing bowl (I use leftover margarine/sour cream/butter containers) dilute the acrylic paint with water. I'd say at least a 1:1 ratio (1 part water to 1 part paint) but you might need it less or more depending on the paint that you use. I only used the blue paint for the sample so far but I would assume many bright colors would work. I'm guessing lighter colors like white or light pink might not show as well but haven't tried them.

Cover the entire pot with the watered down paint. Give it a minute to set in, and then take paper towels and rub the pot. Rub until you get the effect that you want. The paint will soak into the pot except where the oil pastel is and the paper towel will wipe off the excess.

Let it dry and then carefully pull off the masking tape to reveal the finished product. You can seal it with a sealer if you desire. I would highly recommend this if you are planning on using the pot outside or intend to use it with soil and water. If it's purely for decoration, then a sealer is not required.

Here's a closeup of the pot from above so you can see the texture:
Closeup of Texture
If you try this project, I'd love to see the outcome! Feel free to link to pictures in the comments. :)

Another View of Finished Pot