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Painting Clay pots – kids craft at Fjord’s 7th birthday party

Pot plant Pot plants painted Pots painted complete Pots planted, happy girl

Whew I’m so birthday partied out, Fjord and Acacia’s birthdays are 2 weeks apart and planning 2 parties so close together is a fair bit of work.  Added to that I worry that all will go smoothly and according to plan.  I still forgot to make popcorn at both parties but over all they seemed a success.  What matters most is the children having fun.  I was ideas bereft when it came to what craft to do for Fjord’s party.  At Acacia’s we did fabric painting on T shirts, which I have done for Fjord before.  Thank goodness for the internet, after a quick google I came up with the solution, the children could paint clay pots and I would give them each a bag of soil and a seedling to plant when the paint was completely dry at home.   I don’t like to give party packs and prefer to let the children do a craft which they can take home.   I searched and searched online and found many ideas but with each there was a glitch, things were needed which are not easy to come by or too expensive.  My primary concerns were that water would seep through from the inside to the outside of the pot causing the paint to bubble or peel (like on a damp wall), I was also worried that the paint would wash off or not adhere properly.  Eventually after learning a lot about different paints and varnishes I came up with solutions which I’m certain will lead to the pots and their art being durable.

WHAT YOU NEED

Clay / terracotta pots

potting soil

seedlings

Universal undercoat (or spray paint primer)

PVA (acrylic wall paint)

paint tint (if needed to tint white PVA)

Rubberised Bitumen waterproofer (ask for WATER SOLUBLE type, and say that it is the stuff used for painting ponds) – cost roughly R70 at a hardware store

Acrylic craft paint (I used Dala which is acrylic based and waterproof)

children’s paint brushes

craft glue

buttons, shells or beads for decorating

Terracotta pots

Terracotta pots

Pansy seedlings

Pansy seedlings

First we went to the nursery and bought terracotta pots, potting soil and trays of seedlings.  Then at Westpack I bought some extra Dala craft paints (these are acrylic based and waterproof), craft glue and lovely bright garden themed buttons for decorating.  I had universal undercoat, PVA and Rubberised Bitumen waterproofer at home (Cliff had used some on the inside of the bird bath).  We had left over PVA acrylic paint from painting the walls in Fjord’s room and I bought a bottle of Magenta paint tint (R10.99 at Checkers Hyper) to tint white PVA which we had at home, to make a pink colour for the girls.

Terracotta pots universal undercoat

Pots painted with undercoat

Pots painted with undercoat

1.  Paint the outside and inner rim of the pot with universal undercoat or spray with primer.

Pots bitumen

Pots painted with bitumen

Pots painted with bitumen

2.  When the undercoat is dry to touch paint the inside of the pot with Rubberised Bitumen Waterproofer, it is absolutely critical that you use a water based one.  For the last 2 pots I ran out of what we had at home and bought another without checking if it was water based.  It was horrible to work with, I had to throw the paint brush away and it took days to dry whereas the water based one dried almost immediately and it washed easily off the brush.

Pot with masking tape

Pot with masking tape

Pots painted and ready for the pary

Pots painted and ready for the pary

3.  Preferably the following day (to ensure that the undercoat is properly dry).  Paint the outside of the pots with PVA.  If you want to be neat stick a ring of masking tape on the inside to paint a straight line.  (Once the plants were potted this seemed rather pointless as this is covered by soil.

Potting soil in zip lock bags

Potting soil in zip lock bags

4.  Measure out how much potting soil will go into each pot and put that amount into zip lock bags.

Dala Craft Paint

Dala Craft Paint

5.  At the party, the children paint the pots with acrylic craft paint and stick buttons or whatever you fancy on with craft glue.

6.  I thought that the children would have to plant the seedlings at home as I guessed that the paint would still be wet but toward the end of the party the pots were dry and some children potted their seedlings before leaving.  Before potting put a few stones at the base of the pot for good drainage.

I did read some recommendations that the pots be painted or sprayed with varnish afterwards to protect them further but this was not practical to do at the party.  I wet the pots when watering them and the paint does not run at all.  Varnish would however give a more shiny finish which you may like.  I would love to know if you try this out, please come back and comment below if you do.

PS – There are always many ways to skin a cat, this way worked for me and I was very happy with the results but I did also receive the following advice from a friend which you may like to experiment with.  I did not try this method as I did not have a craft shop nearby and my hardware store did not stock Podge.  We also already had undercoat, PVA and bitumen paint at home.  This is what she suggested.  “I would not prime it at all…..a coat or two of podge on the inside…use craft paints and liners and bead and bling etc and then use the water based Decovarnish from Dala to finish off….no toxicity.  Easier to do the podge and way way cheaper. You can even do the podge on the outside as an undercoat.  Podge is also known as Modge Podge which a lot of people use for decoupage to put under and over the serviette or paper that they are sticking on to the pot/wooden holder/tin. It can be used as a type of glue as well as sealer. It is inexpensive for the many uses it has in crafts. You might be able to get it at one of the bigger hardware stores if they have craft section or at a craft shop. Probably be about R50.00 for a 250ml which will be able to do about 10-15 pots depending on the size.

 

 

5 comments

  1. This is a great activity, especially because my little boy loves playing outside. He’s still a little small for this, but I’m going to keep it in mind for sure.

  2. Beautiful! And wonderful idea! May I ask which nursery you purchased the clay pots from? They are so hard to come by, everywhere I look I see only plastic 🙁

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