DIY Acrylic Painted Pots : Tips & Techniques, Succulent & Cactus Planters From Start To Finish | Melissa Mercilliott | Skillshare

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DIY Acrylic Painted Pots : Tips & Techniques, Succulent & Cactus Planters From Start To Finish

teacher avatar Melissa Mercilliott, Mixed Media Artist & Art Teacher

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Introduction to DIY Painted Pots

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Prime the Surface

    • 4. Base colors

    • 5. Sketching

    • 6. Painting in plants

    • 7. Adding Details

    • 8. Spray Varnish

    • 9. Conclusion

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About This Class

This class is for makers of all levels. I will walk you through the steps you need to create a weather resistant painted planter. Create your own design, or use the provided templates. I hope this class will show you the potential for creating outdoor decor. 

  • Steps to prepare the surface 
  • Materials that will hold up to outdoor use
  • Tips & Tricks for painting
  • Use my templates or create your own design!  


If you need help, please ask! I want everyone to feel confident and happy making art. Share your project to the gallery so I can see what you have created and give you feedback.

Don’t forget to follow me on Skillshare. Click the “follow” button and you’ll be the first to know when I upload new classes. Follow me on Instagram @mercistwodeserts to see new projects in progress!

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Melissa Mercilliott

Mixed Media Artist & Art Teacher


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1. Introduction to DIY Painted Pots: I got started painting custom planters. First is gifts, and it has commissioned orders. In this class, I'll show you my method for how I create a pot from start to finish to make it weather resistant. I'm Melissa, I'm a mixed media artist and I love creating desert themed R into core. I've provided sketches you can transfer if you want to create a cactus and succulent design like mine, where you can design your own. I've designed three different pots to give you some ideas and methods that you can use as inspiration for your project. I hope you'll join us and share what you create. 2. Materials: The materials you'll need for this class are on this slide. I'll show the slide again at the end, but I want to walk you through it. You can print the templates if you want to copy my designs and transfer those. Or you can just use them as inspiration or come up with your own design. I have a Terracotta pot or any unfinished probable Do automotive spray primer. You can use any regular primary that you can paint on, but I found this as easier. Clear varnish will use that to seal it when we're done. I like to buy the paint samples from the hardware store. They tend to be a little bit harder wearing because they're made for a house. They're more opaque so you get better coverage. And I like that. You can just screw the lid off and get a solid color if you need to without having to deal with the palate, the letters and numbers on the top or how I organize them because I keep them all a big Rubbermaid on my patio so I can identify the color just by the number and letter on the top. You'll need a few different sizes of brushes. I usually use a one inch flat, a half inch flat, and either a four or a six round. Just to have some variety in the detail. Make the brush with the size you're trying to paint. A pencil for tracing, transferring or just sketching your design and to finish your art. Some kinda paint pin. I use posco pens, but you can use any brand paint pin. And if you don't have that, you can use any color darker paint and a really tiny paintbrush in a city. And you also need a water cup, paper towel, and a pallet for mixing. You can use any colors of paint that you want to, but these are the colors that I used. Purple, light yellow, green, dark green, white, turquoise, and yellow. So for the outset of my pot, I mixed the turquoise, yellow, and the purple in different ways. And then I use the rest of the colors, mix and create all the other colors that I needed for my pot. For the paint pens, I picked the black, which is what I usually use. I also found a similar Turk ways, a lighter purple than what I used, an agreement matched. Gather your supplies and I'll see you in the next section. 3. Prime the Surface: First we're going to go outside and spare parts with primer. I've done three smaller pots to show you the process. It's a good idea to lay down cardboard or newspapers so we don't get primer everywhere. I usually sprayed the inside lip first, let it dry a few minutes. We live in a hot locations, so it usually takes about ten to 15 minutes. It'll take longer if it is humid. I go back outside, flip them over and spray the outside. You don't have to spray the bottom, but I usually do because I like to paint the bottom and give them away as gifts or sell them and it just looks nicer. Don't forget to wear a mask while you're sprained C, Don't Breathe into fields. When your partner dry, bring them back inside and get ready to pay. 4. Base colors: Once your pot is primed, we can start painting. I like to pick one to two colors and make an Andrea effect. So it looks like a sunset or maybe just some pretty colors that I like. If you know that you're gonna make a line design that goes all the way to the bottom of the pot. You'll want to paint the bottom too. But my designs mostly stop about halfway up. So I only need to paint halfway to the bottom of the pot because I'm going to cover it with cactus and succulents. When you're choosing colors, I like to stay within the same color families. So I'll pick colors that would be next to each other on a wheel. So like blue, green and purple or blue, green and yellow in the other direction, I try to avoid mixing opposite colors, which should be yellow and purple, orange and blue, or red and green. Those colors are mixed together will make a brown color. If you choose to use the sample paint like I do, just make sure you shake it up before you use it. It's just like house paint and it starts to separate after awhile. I have paints and my patio that I've had for at least five years and they're still good to shake them up any ism? I use a one-inch brush to do the inside of the pot, the rim, and about an inch to two inches down the outside of the pot. And then I'll wash my brush out, dry it, and get another color. If you have some of the same color on there, it starts to get muddy. When you're painting around the rim, just make sure you're not leaving any drips on the inside before he moved to the outside. If you want to do a line design with the paint pin and not paint the succulents and the cactus on there. You can, but you need to paint your pot all the way to the bottom. Whoa. Right. And then okay. 5. Sketching: You can print the templates that I've given you and use them as inspiration. Or you can use carbon paper and transfer them directly onto the pot. If you choose to transfer them, don't be so detailed about the thorns and little lines because when we paint, we paint in big blocks and then later we will add in the smaller details with the paint pen. I prefer to freehand sketch it and then I can just fit things on there where I want them. Again, this is a place not to get hung up on perfection. You can see that I'm not overlapping things right now because I know that when I painted in, it will get covered with the paint. If you choose to freehand draw your plants are cactus on there. Think about broader shapes as opposed to the specific details of the plant. So for the succulent, I would start drawing three triangles in the middle and then three triangles coming out from the middle of those. You get the idea. But when you start putting paint on top of their, unless you have a really transparent see-through paints, you are not going to be able to seal your pencil lines. So right now you're just mapping out where the blocked paint is going to go. And we will add details back in with our paint Pin later. So go ahead and fill in your entire pot where you want to have plants and I will meet you back here to filename and pain. Oh, right. Thanks. Right. 6. Painting in plants: I prefer to work with a limited color palette by taking just a couple of colors and mixing them together to have several colors that are in the same color family that coordinates together. So for this project, I've picked light yellow, green, white, dark green, turquoise, and yellow. You'll see me adding a little bit of turquoise to the white that I put in the palette and also that light turquoise mix into the yellow which gets its own spot. I don't get too fussy about trying to mix the colors precisely. I prefer it when things are slightly streaky and you can see highlights and dark areas within the paint. It creates a more realistic look we shall see later as well. When choosing where to put the paint, I just try not to put a light-colored next to another light color. So I usually do a light color and the color next to it will be dark and then back to light and so forth just to create that variety, which is more interesting to look at. I tend to roll the pot around in my hand is I'm painting, flip it upside down and do whatever I have to do to get a better angle for the direction that my hand wants to paint. I found if I'm doing a very large pot, it helps to put down a beach talers, somebody you don't care about. So you can kinda rolled around on your desk without scratch into pay you've already done. And it really helps to have it upside down when you're working with that lip around the edge of pots. This small pot doesn't have a litte bit. The bigger pots too, right? Right. To start adding highlights, I just pick a lighter color off the palette. And you can really makes anything in because they all coordinate with each other. And to squiggle down the middle where I put the pen later, the passcode pin will not be exactly on those lines, so you'll still be able to see some of the highlight. This just adds some texture and dimension. Also don't worry about brushstrokes that you can see because that will just blend in as part of the texture. The black line really makes everything pop and you won't notice it as much. You'll notice when I start painting the succulent in, when I start blocking that shape in, I have to start adding either darker or lighter color almost immediately or I lose the shape of the leaves. There are so many parts that if I just painted the whole block, I wouldn't be able to tell where anything was by the time I was done. And that was the whole point of sketching it. You'll find as you're mixing colors, that it sometimes is difficult to recreate the same exact color twice. You'll notice on my pots, I have a little bit of that happening. I don't worry about it too much. Again, once you get the lines on there, nobody's looking at it. It just adds dimension. Things in nature are not a flat colors, so just go with it. Whoa. Okay. Exactly. Right. Okay. And the struggle today. 7. Adding Details: Now we get to add our paint outline with our paint pins. If you don't have a pain pin, you can use a small paint brush, a darker color and just go nice and slow. The three color pot. I just want to add a simple black outline because I painted the Ambari all the way to the bottom. I don't want to cover that up. So I'm just tracing over my sketch lines. If you make a mistake, it's okay. I just go back over it and make the line a little bit thicker to correct the mistake, I found that the difference in line weight actually looks more interesting. I'm gonna go ahead and speed this up so you can see how I painted the next one. Don't forget to put all the small details back in that we didn't sketch out the first time, the thorns as small lines that connect things. Just make sure we get all that small stuff back in there to show what the plant looks like. To add the words, I do a check mark with two chlorines, or I make three thorns, I just alternate the direction that they're turning to look more natural. Right? But the next part, I'm going to do a black outline again, except for this time I'm going around all of the colors that I blocked out. It's not me. Okay. For the last part, I used all the colored paint pins. So I tried to pick colors that were higher contrasting with the colors that are already there. So the light color I put a dark purple on, I put a green on a light green and just try to create kind of a pop artifact. We will finish outlining our pots and then don't forget to sign it. We'll meet back here to spray varnish or pumps. Okay. Okay. 8. Spray Varnish: The last step is to take it outside and spray it. This will help protected from the elements and preserve your pain from scratching. 9. Conclusion: When the varnish is dry, you can start planting or if you can give them away as gifts or sell them. I encourage you to post and share what you've created in the gallery. If you have any questions, contact me and I'd be happy to help.