There are some people who like things shiny and new.  They want to be the first person to own something.  They like the smell of a car with 32 miles on it.  They want their furniture to be delivered, tags still attached.

I am just not one of those people.

Unless we’re talking about electronics, mattresses or toilets, I want things in my home that have the patina that only comes with time.

Or a bit of trickery.

aging terra cotta pots | miss mustard seed

I have a few antique terra cotta pots and, while I’d love to fill my whole potting bench with them, that would get too expensive.  So, I have some new ones mixed in.

Can you tell which one is the new one?

aging terra cotta pots | miss mustard seed

Yeah.  It’s pretty clear and the new ones were bugging me a bit.

While I had the Ironstone (white) MMS Milk Paint out to paint the sides of the potting bench, I decided to knock the newness off of those pots.

I mixed the milk paint a bit thinner than the recommended one-to-one powder to water ratio, so it would go on thin and translucent.

I brushed it over the outside of the pot in a sloppy fashion…

aging terra cotta pots | miss mustard seed

(As an aside, taking a picture of yourself painting a terra cotta pot as it rolls around on the table is almost comical.)

…and then immediately blotted and wiped it with a paper towel.

aging terra cotta pots | miss mustard seed

I wanted the effect to be very soft, so wiped a lot away, leaving it heaviest just under the lip.

If you want a more dramatic look, don’t mix the paint as thin or don’t wipe away as much.  The good news is that you can play around with it.  If you wipe off too much, just add a bit more.

And that’s it!  It took less than five minutes to paint a few pots.  They dry quickly and don’t need to be sealed.  The paint absorbs into the terra cotta like a stain.

aging terra cotta pots | miss mustard seed

Kriste did the same thing to some of her pots over on the MMSMP blog, but applied more paint than my version and I love her look, too…

aging terra cotta pots | miss mustard seed


How’s that for a simple project?


Tomorrow, I’m going to share how far my deck has come since it looked like this…


If you have a bland, blah deck like I do, you’ll want to be there…


  1. Renae

    Can’t wait to see the end result!!

  2. Lori Merrill

    Hello, Thank you for sharing…I purchased approximately 50 terra cotta pots for 5.00…yes 5.00 at an estate sale! So excited to try this. Lori

  3. B Folk

    Marian, you read my mind…I was just thinking yesterday that I should “age” my terra cotta pots. Such a small investment of time and money for a new look, doing this tomorrow!

  4. Paige.Rose

    LOVEEE this !!! I like the look of new terracotta pots, but loveee the aged look even more! They especially go so lovely with your photography & goods!! Thanks for sharing Marian!


  5. Sabrina

    I wonder if the white wax would give a similar effect? I think this may be my next project. Thank you as always for the inspiration!

  6. Susan Gay

    I found the wonderful world of blogs several years ago and they have become a mainstay in my computer time. I don’t remember when I stumbled upon MMS but I was hooked! Loved watching you use inexpensive fixes and get amazing results, I too am a pastor’s wife on a limited budget.

    That being said, I am not sure when I stopped following MMS. At some point I no longer felt as if I could relate to the blog and deleted it from my regulars. Well a couple of weeks ago a post popped up from MMS and peeked my interest. I clicked on and I must say I am back. It feels totally relatable to me again. Thank you for the inspiration for everyday living!

  7. Marlene Stephenson

    Never even crossed my mind but you are right it does look better. Thanks Marian.

  8. Lynne

    Such an easy fix that looks good! I have also read something about painting them w/ buttermilk to grow moss on them. Thinned white paint seems so much more do-able!

  9. teri

    I planted a geranium in a new pot, watered it and within a few days the pot looked very aged, white and characterful. It’s still on my dining room table, it hasn’t even been weathered outdoors. I think white salts leached from the terracotta, I’ve seen this with new red bricks. I love terracotta pots ♥

  10. Kathryn

    Having modified the look of many new terra cotta pots over the years, there are a couple of things you may do to complete the old, worn look. Chip away tiny bits of the clay around the rim and the base and add brown paint flecks around the surface (gently use a hammer, pliers, or screwdriver to chip the clay). Old pots disintegrate over time and become stained, cracked, and chipped, therefore these simple extra steps will really age your new pots. Thanks for the post.

  11. MaryLisa Noyes

    I love the aged green table you photographed it on…

  12. cris

    yes, you can wipe buttermilk or plain yogurt on your terra cotta pots and place them in a covered or even better dark place for a few days. the cultures will inoculate the porous terra cotta and promote a hazy, white “mossy” appearance. also, the salts and minerals from fertilizing cause the white buildup on pots.

  13. Lisa Mothersead

    Love that aged look, also. I use those lil’ cheap craft bottle paints in antique-ish colors, esp gold for indoor ones and easy peasy, also.

  14. Naul

    Easiest way to age terracotta planters if you want the aged look is to keep it in salt water. Either hold salt water in it for a couple of days or immerse the pot in salt water. The aged look comes very fast if the water you are using to water your plants is hard with lots of salt content.

  15. Gloria Holmstead

    Can you age a terra cotta pot if you have already sealed it?


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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