Upcycling is something we do without even thinking about it here at I Breathe I DIY. We had this old hanging plant pot out in the shed that wasn’t being used. It ended up in the shed because there’s nothing special about it and it’s black. Black is usually a go-to color for us, but this pot just heats up and bakes the poor little plants inside it. Painting it is a perfect solution to this problem. We’ll reuse something that was close to going out in the garbage and make a nice planter that goes with the rest of the outdoor décor.
We have some experience painting plastic, and there’s a few ways to go about it. This tutorial will show you one of our techniques to paint plastic without it peeling, cracking, or flaking. You can transform an ordinary boring plastic plant pot and breathe new life into it.
We are going to start by using fine sandpaper on the outside of the pot to dull up the shiny surface so the paint will have something to stick to. You’ll want to hit the top with the sandpaper and about an inch down the inside-anywhere you’re going to paint. Don’t forget the bottom if yours will be hanging above eye level. There’s no need to sand anything that will be under soil.
Wipe it clean with a damp cloth to remove any dust and dirt. Let it dry.
Coat the entire outside in gel medium. This is a paint additive that many artists use to create a variety of effects in their paintings. It will dry to a haze, allowing you to see if you missed some spots. This layer provides a flexible base layer that works like a primer. The gel medium helps adhere the paint and doesn’t crack when the pot expands and contracts from being outside. Spray primers can’t expand from heat, and it results in a cracked surface that flakes off. Let the gel medium dry.
Paint the surface of the pot with your choice of colors. We chose a color of our leftover latex house paint. You can really use any type of paint you have that doesn’t wash off: Acrylic and latex are our favorites to use for this. Use a brush to cover the surface in a smooth layer. Let your pot dry then flip it over and paint the other parts that will show. Paint everywhere that there will not be soil.
Let it dry and cure overnight before sealing the paint. We used a matte medium that is sometimes used as a varnish or sealer. You can use outdoor mod podge that’s resistant to the elements and will get a similar, permanent coating, but we had this on hand already. We used a 2-inch brush to smooth the matte medium around the base and sides of the pot. It has a milky color until it has fully dried. We had to move it around, coat it, and let it dry a few times. We applied two full coverage coats to make sure the paint was sealed. This is the step that will make or break your project. We don’t have time to waste, so we don’t want it falling apart anytime soon.
We filled it with potting soil, a fuchsia, and gave it a shady place on the patio rail. What a great addition to the garden. We could reattach the original hanger or macrame a cool hanger, but for this tutorial we left it off and placed it on the porch railing near the front door.
Here’s another one we painted the same color using this method. Is been outside in the weather all season. There’s not even a hint of wear. It still looks great.