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Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Terracotta? (Answered)

Art is the way of life and has an extraordinary power to add life to everything. Terracottas are already beautiful. They bring an antique vibe to any decoration. But painting them can make them even more attractive. So, can you use acrylic paint on terracotta? 

This article will explain all you need to know about painting terracotta.

Using acrylic paint on terracotta

Acrylic is one of the best paints you can use in your terracotta pots or other things made of terracotta. Before painting your terracotta pot, you can use a sealer to make the paint look new for longer. A second coat after 48 hours makes the color more attractive and long-lasting.

Terracottas give a warm vibe in your house and outdoors. But the problem is they tend to become dirty quickly and look dull. Painting them can easily solve the issue. But how to paint terracotta? What color to use? If you make a mistake while painting, will it be ruined? 

There are lots of questions that appear in our mind.

Luckily, painting terracotta is not hard at all. Well, if you are talking about complicated designs and patterns, it can be pretty hard and consume a lot of time. But believe me, some simple paintings will make the terracottas look so lively.

Painting terracotta should be easy, even if you don’t know the art. Just one color can make it look pretty. But personally, I like folk art on my terracotta pots; they are also pretty simple.

So, can you use acrylic color in your terracotta? Yes, there are two color options to paint your acrylic pots. One is acrylic, and the other one is spray color. Spray does fine to paint your terracotta, but acrylic is the best if you want to decorate the terracotta.

Acrylic is such a fantastic color to use. You can make thick layers with it, and the color stays almost the same when it dries. In some types of colors, light colors will not sit in the dark. But the acrylic color is different. 

You can paint light yellow over black, and it will leave no signs of black.

That gives you the flexibility to make mistakes and try different things. If you think you do not like what you painted on the terracotta, you can easily use the background color over the paint and start again when it dries.

However, you may not prefer art on terracotta. That’s also pretty fine. Coloring just one color will give your terracotta a modern look. And it also keeps your terracotta stuff looking new for a long time. 

Applying a single color is more straightforward than making folk art on the terracottas. A thick brush will allow you to paint the terracotta in no time. It will also be pretty cheap too. The good thing about acrylic paint is that it’s cheap. But make sure to get acrylic paint for terracotta. 

You will also need a sealer to enhance the smoothness and longevity of the paint. In the later part of the article, we will discuss the terracotta painting steps with acrylic.

How to prepare a terracotta pot for acrylic paint?

The preparation steps depend on what you want to do and your situation. Such as, if you’re going to use old terracottas, the preparation stage will differ from the new ones. 

If you want one color to apply on the pot and prioritize saving time and avoiding the hustle, you can skip some steps. 

You can use old terracotta pots to color it. But you need to clean the dirt from the terracotta first. You can use a dish scrubber to clean the terracotta—no need for soap. But if the terracotta is too dirty, you can use brush scrubbers. 

New terracottas do not need that much cleaning. But for the best result, you can follow the steps below to prepare your terracottas.

Clean the terracotta surface:

Clean soil and dirt from the terracotta surface. Use a brush or scrubber to clean the terracotta thoroughly.

Make a solution:

Make a solution with 9 parts of water and 1 part of bleach and soak the terracotta item overnight. This step is essential for the old pots. It will help to remove any mold or bacteria from the terracotta. 

This step is optional for new terracotta pots, but you can still do it to be sure.

Dry for one day:

Dry the pots for one day. It’s not about the surface; ensure no water is left inside the terracotta. Drying in the sun will make the process faster. After drying, you can start painting the terracotta.

How do you seal acrylic paint on terracotta pots?

Sealing is an essential process of painting terracotta with acrylic. Terracotta has tiny pores, and it is not waterproof. If you keep water in a terracotta pot, it will leak a small amount of water. The water will not drop from the pot; it will evaporate from the surface.

So, why do terracottas have pores? Terracottas are made by burning clay. As we know, there are some organic elements in the clay. The organic part evaporates when clays are burned to make terracotta.

Those tiny pores will dull the paint over time and absorb some paint while applying. So, you need to use a sealant to fill the pores to make the color long-lasting. 

Can you skip the sealing part? If you want to make the terracotta paint look old as time passes, you can skip applying the sealing step. But generally, applying sealer is standard and preferable to most people.

Here are the steps of applying sealer in acrylic paint. Note that you should apply sealer after completing the preparation stage described above.

Clear sealer spray:

Get clear sealer spray to seal your terracotta pot.

Spray the sealer:

Spray the sealer inside and outside of the pot. It’s also essential to apply it inside if you want to grow a plant in the pot. Without sealing inside, the water can leak and damage the paint. A thin layer of sealer is enough.

Wait 2-3 hours:

Wait 2-3 hours to let it dry completely. Now it is prepared for the painting.

How to use acrylic paint on terracotta?

Determining the type of painting is the first step of painting on terracotta. There are no exact rules to painting your terracotta pots. You can use your imagination and creativity to paint your terracotta pot. You can keep it really simple or make it artistic. It all depends on your taste.

So giving a step-by-step process of painting terracotta is a bit hard as I don’t know what you want from your terracotta pot.
If you want to use one color to paint your pot, there is nothing much to guide you. Just remember, you can paint the pots after 48 hours. 

However, if you want to take pot painting to the next level and be artistic, here is a guide for painting folk art on terracotta.

Get ideas:

There are many places where you can get ideas for painting your terracotta. You can sit with paper and pencil to outline your imagination. Draw some simple patterns and add more elements to the design. You can search on google for more ideas. 

The ideas do not need to be genuine! It should be okay if you can recreate that on the terracottas. But I will recommend not choosing too complicated stuff. Simple flowers, leaves, and shapes like that will be enough.

Apply background colour:

Apply background color on your pots. Light colors suit better on the pots, but darks will also do the trick. But in that case, you will have to choose a light color to paint the patterns. After applying the background color. Let the pot dry for an hour.

Start painting:

Now, time to show your artistic skills. Start slowly and take time to draw the patterns. It’s an art, and you can rush while painting. Take your time. You will start getting better once you spend some time on this. 

You can outline the art for better results after 48 hours of drying.

What kind of paint to use on terracotta?

There are two types of paint you can use on terracotta. Both types of paint require sealer for a smooth result. Here are the paints you can use on terracotta.

Acrylic paint:

Acrylic paint allows you to add detail to your terracotta item. It’s cheap and looks beautiful on the terracotta.

Spray paint:

Spray paint is better if you want to apply just one color to your terracotta item. It can be a bit expensive.

Final Thoughts

You can use acrylic paints on terracotta. Acrylic paint’s nice thick texture makes it easy to paint on terracotta. Applying sealer on terracotta makes it a lot easier to paint. You can mix acrylic paint to create different shades of color to paint your terracotta with unique colors.