Sweetie Pots

by Amanda Formero

Sweetie Pots

Turn ordinary terra cotta planters into adorable Valentine-themed candy dishes

Hand-painted clay pots and saucers filled with Valentine candy are a sweet treat for your child's teacher, grandparent, friend or even for mom! Create endless design combinations with just a few simple tools and techniques.

Age 3 and up (This project is rated VERY EASY to do.)

What you need

  • Terra cotta clay pots in various sizes
  • acrylic paints: pinks, reds, purples, white
  • Valentine stickers
  • paint brushes, one small and one medium
  • new pencil
  • household sponge
  • acrylic sealer spray, matte finish
  • lace (optional)
  • raffia and/or ribbon (optional)

What you do

1. Paint clay pot in desired color and let dry. Apply a second coat, and if needed (especially with lighter colors), a third coat as well, allowing sufficient drying time in between coats. Paint inside and outside of pot.

2. Once painted, it's time to decorate! Here are some ideas to make your pot look great:

  • To give your pot a polka dot design, use the eraser of a new pencil and dip into desired paint color. Dab once to remove excess and dot onto pot. Each polka dot will need a new application of paint. For smaller dots, use the end of a paintbrush applying with the same method.
  • A household sponge can be used to add a contrasting color. Wet the sponge and squeeze out all excess water. Dab into paint then dab off excess onto a piece of paper towel. Use a dabbing motion to sponge on a light coat of contrasting color.
  • Stripes can be applied by simply loading a small paintbrush with paint and painting downward. Stripes do not need to be perfect, so don't fret if you "go outside the lines" so to speak.
  • Stickers can be used to decorate your pots. Stick over dry paint and press firmly to be sure they adhere.
  • You can tie ribbon or raffia into a bow and glue to the front of your pot, or tie around the rim. Hot glue will work better than white glue for adhering ribbon or raffia to the front of the pot.
  • Lace can also be used to accent your pot. Glue lace around the rim for a fancy finish.

3. Once decorated, apply a coat or two of acrylic sealer and allow to dry overnight.

4. Fill with various candy and enjoy your creations!

Helpful hints

Keep them busy during paint-drying time. Terra cotta pots require several coats of paint to cover, especially with light colors. Plan this project so that children can do other things while they are waiting for the different coats to dry. For classroom projects, plan this over several classes, or paint the pots with two coats of white ahead of time, then when children paint the pots with colors only one, or possibly two, coats will be needed.

Be careful with glue. Hot glue should be handled by adults or older children with supervision. Hot glue burns and hurts, so please use caution!

Save time by pre-making bows. Tie bows from raffia or ribbon ahead of time. Apply a drop or two of hot glue to the back center of the bow to keep it in place. Now your bows are ready.

Re-use your pencil. Acrylic paint can be easily wiped off of the pencil eraser while still wet. Pencil can still be used for its original purpose.