Jack-o’-Lantern Pumpkin Terra Cotta Pot Tutorial

September 26, 2013Allison Murray
Jack-o'-Lantern Pumpkin Terra Cotta Pot Tutorial

Turn a plastic pumpkin candy bucket into a faux terra cotta paint with a few craft supplies. This is so cool!

Now this technically isn’t a Jack-o’-Lantern Terra Cotta Pot, but a faux terra cotta pot, but I’m guessing you’ve already figured that out. I had wanted a terra cotta pot in the shape of a pumpkin or a jack-o’-lantern for some time now and had searched online for one but while there were tons of pots made to look like pumpkins, there were no pumpkins made to look like pots. And then I kind of dropped it.

Until just the other weekend when browsing the Halloween aisle I saw the traditional pumpkin shaped trick-or-treat pails for a cool buck apiece. I studied all of the different faces Jacko was wearing and chose my favorite and then headed out to the nursery to find a pretty fall mum to put inside of it. Russell thought this was a great idea until I informed him that, yes, he’d driven me all over creation this afternoon but I needed him to take me back to the craft store. I could tell he wanted to rip my ears off.

Jack-o'-Lantern Pumpkin Terra Cotta Pot Tutorial

But instead he carried me back and I ran in and got some terra cotta colored paint from the craft acrylics. Because I wanted the PERFECT terra cotta color to start with I went premixed over attempting (and probably failing and wasting a boatload of paint trying to mix up my own).

When he saw the finished project he was impressed and even informed me that if he hadn’t known what I was up to, he would have been very surprised that this wasn’t a real terra cotta pot. And I count that as a huge success in my book. Want to make your own? If you already have a craft stash, this project is SOOO cheap!

Jack-o'-Lantern Pumpkin Terra Cotta Pot Tutorial

For this project you will need:

Jack-o'-Lantern Pumpkin Terra Cotta Pot Tutorial

Spray paint your pumpkin with whatever primer you have on hand. I had gray so that’s what I used and in the end, it worked a lot better than I’d expected.

Give it several coats and allow to completely dry.

Jack-o'-Lantern Pumpkin Terra Cotta Pot Tutorial

Using your soft bristled brush paint your pumpkin the terra cotta color you selected. Start at the top and paint downward in straight lines. Don’t go side to side or all crazy, just up and down.

Jack-o'-Lantern Pumpkin Terra Cotta Pot Tutorial

And prepare to give this bad boy a good 3-4 coats of paint. See how mine is still showing some of the gray? It’s okay.

Jack-o'-Lantern Pumpkin Terra Cotta Pot Tutorial

Take your terra cotta paint and add a whole mess of your cream/off white colored paint and mix it up really well. We’re going to use a good 2-3 coats of this stuff so don’t be shy mixing up a whole mess of it.

Jack-o'-Lantern Pumpkin Terra Cotta Pot Tutorial

First give the pumpkin a full coat.

Jack-o'-Lantern Pumpkin Terra Cotta Pot Tutorial

While the paint is still wet, dip your brush in both the light and the dark terra cotta colors and brush into the wet coat of paint below. Basically smear it on and then thin it out a bit. Always use the up and down motion as best you can.

Give your pumpkin this treatment, adding more and more of the streaked coats while the undercoat is still wet. I rotated my pumpkin 3-4 times doing this until the coverage was good enough you couldn’t detect the gray underneath anymore.

Jack-o'-Lantern Pumpkin Terra Cotta Pot Tutorial

The area around the face is really hard to get the paint to stick. Take your light color and go around the areas that the gray is still showing through. Allow each coat to dry but continue until you can’t see the primer underneath anymore. On the last coat, dip your brush with a bit of light and a bit of dark and streak those areas up like the rest of the pot.

Jack-o'-Lantern Pumpkin Terra Cotta Pot Tutorial

So this is where we’re at at this point and if you want to stop here, that’s totally cool.

Jack-o'-Lantern Pumpkin Terra Cotta Pot Tutorial

But if not, take your brush and dip it in a bit of decoupage and run the glue around the top edge.

Jack-o'-Lantern Pumpkin Terra Cotta Pot Tutorial

Sprinkle your plaster of paris (or other white powder) and tap the pumpkin to remove the excess. Do the same for the bottom sides of Jacko’s features and run a bit down the vertical veins of the pumpkin every now and again.

Allow to fully dry and then brush off any excess that doesn’t want to stick around. Wipe away any that is on the sides of the pumpkin.

Take your MATTE polyurethane spray and go over the pumpkin at least 2 times. This will help seal in our paint and our terra cotta pot powder.

Jack-o'-Lantern Pumpkin Terra Cotta Pot Tutorial

You may have to tear up the roots a bit from the shape of the pot, but that’s good for the plant as long as you don’t take it too far.

Using your choice of potting soil fill the inside of the pumpkin terra cotta pot as best you can. I used Miracle Gro moisture control that I used in the past. Since my other plants are still alive who-freaking-hoo! It’s all I use anymore.

If you’re not using a moisture smart potting soil, you should drill some drainage holes from the bottom before planting.

Jack-o'-Lantern Pumpkin Terra Cotta Pot Tutorial

And that’s all she wrote, folks. I love that my little pot is kind of versatile. I mean, after Halloween, I can turn this sucker around and it’s just a mum in a pumpkin terra cotta pot. How great is that? Plus the full cost since I had most everything already on hand was $2.50 for the pail and terra cotta paint. Well, if you add in the plant it was $6.50 and that still ain’t bad!


And just so you know, my pot totally tricked the UPS guy who asked if he could pick it up to take a look. He did that thing where you expect something to have weight and when it doesn’t you raise it up way too quickly. It was awesome.

Will you be making your own faux terra cotta pumpkin pots?


Comments (24)

  • Kindra

    September 26, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    This is awesome! I saw these at a local store, something very similar and they wanted $27.99 for it! I did not buy that at all. This is sooo much cheaper. Even my 3-yr-old could help me make it too. I might even make 2. Very good idea!

    1. Allison

      September 26, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      Ack! Nearly $30. No way! I’m glad you’ll be DIYing instead of buying, you’ll be saving a pretty penny! :)

  • Nancy

    September 29, 2013 at 7:29 AM

    I love this Allison. It looks just like a terra cotta pumpkin pot! Kudos on fooling the UPS guy.

    1. Allison

      September 29, 2013 at 9:01 AM

      Ha, thanks so much!

  • Ниакрис

    October 2, 2013 at 7:45 AM

    Hi, Allison!
    I admire your inventiveness and creativity. You help me make my life brighter!
    Girl from Russia, Natali :)

    1. Allison

      October 2, 2013 at 8:36 AM

      Your comment has given me such a smile this morning and I really appreciate that. So thank YOU! :)

  • Brianna @ Craft Thyme

    October 2, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Some how I completely missed the ‘faux’ part of this post. I remember seeing it originally and thinking ‘cute planter’. But it wasn’t until I saw the round up of what you made in Sept. that I realized how awesome this truly is.

    Now I feel like I need some terracotta paint!

    1. Allison

      October 2, 2013 at 9:40 PM

      Thanks so much, Brianna. The fact that you thought it just was a terra cotta pot makes me very happy!

      They still have tons and tons of pails at the store :)

  • Teralyn Byrd

    October 5, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    I made some from for myself and my neighbors


    1. Allison

      October 5, 2013 at 6:59 PM

      Oh, they look amazing, too! Great job and thanks for letting me know. I pinned them :)

  • Laurie

    October 9, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    I can not find matte polyurethane anywhere

    1. Allison

      October 10, 2013 at 8:01 AM

      I apologize for the inconvenience, Laurie – I’ve modified the links in the list of needed items. You can click through to purchase from amazon or to see what the suggested items look like to purchase elsewhere.

  • Kim @ {enjoy the view}

    October 13, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    This is seriously one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. And it looks so “authentic”!! I love it, I pinned it, and I WILL be making it!! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Allison

      October 13, 2013 at 6:45 PM

      I’m so glad you like it and especially that you think it looks authentic! Thanks for the comment, the pin and liking the tutorial :)

  • Cheryl

    September 14, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    I would be sure to drill holes in the bottom for drainage plants don’t like wet feet

  • Linda

    September 14, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    Really cute.

  • Connie Osburn

    September 14, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    And after Halloween you can turn the face to the back for the rest of the fall season.

  • Michelle Wigfall

    September 14, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    I’m doing this immediately! I love it. Thank you so much for sharing. In return, I’ll share with you my favorite potting tip: in any pot, instead of gravel or pot shards, use packing peanuts for drainage. I’ve been using them for years! They lighten the weight, and never degrade or even get dirty. When you repot there they are, still clean. :)

  • Vibiki

    September 16, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    I love it!! They also make “ghost” & “cauldron” trick-or-treat pails (found them at Kmart, but sure most stores would have them). How cute would they look painted & sitting together or placed going up the steps :D

  • Ann

    September 19, 2014 at 6:23 PM

    Walmart only has funny colored pumpkins. Mine are green. Guess China does not get Halloween. can’t wait to make one.

    1. Allison Murray

      September 19, 2014 at 9:30 PM

      I know right. It is the same here this year!! But luckily any color will work since you’re priming it :) Have fun!

    2. Carolyn Kirkman

      September 29, 2014 at 11:07 PM

      I might have to check them out. I’m making 2 pumpkins right now but a few other fun ones would be real cute too.

  • Carolyn Kirkman

    September 29, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    I love terra cotta! I’m making mine as I type. Letting the primer dry right now. I’m making two of them. I can’t wait to put them out on my front patio. I might even make 2 more for the back patio! Carolyn

  • Lisa

    September 24, 2015 at 8:02 AM

    This was Brilliant! ! I loved it. Can’t wait for you to make a Snowman for the Holidays lol. Just Beautiful Well done.

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