Monogram your terra cotta pots

Through the holidays, I worked on this project inspired from this website about using terra cotta pots for tabletop candle holders and this one about transferring graphic images onto terra cotta pots.

click photo for a larger pic view

The terra cotta pots ready to be painted:

Paint is applied with a dry brush method. This simply means the brush is very dry and has little paint on it. For variation, you might try a slightly damp sponge with a little paint.

Painted with the first coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (Provence). Of course color choice is up to you though I like blues, blue-greens, grays, and whites with some of the terra cotta showing:

Left pot has second coat with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (Old White over Provence with Terra Cotta):

The colors are further smeared with a slightly wet paper towel. The ASCP smears nicely; I don’t think regular latex would work because when distressed it would peel off the terra cotta however, you could try Poster paints if you don’t want to go the expense of ASCP.

These candle holders will go down the middle of the table and can be seen from two sides. Here’s how the letters will lay out to spell correctly:

Modge Podge is applied. If going outdoors, use Modge Podge for outdoor use. Put on a nice layer, don’t skimp, where the image will be applied:

Each letter must be put on as a mirror image so check the alignment. I also measured from the bottom of the pot to keep them the same from pot to pot:

Let sit from 6 hours to overnight to dry. Once fully dry, use a wet washcloth to wet the paper. Experiment with how wet, but I found getting it thoroughly wet all over the paper so the paper seemed transparent worked well:

To start removing a layer of paper, use the pads of your fingers to roll off the excess paper. Work from the outside corners inward:

Here are some tips:

Start from the outside corners and work inward. This gives you a feel for how much pressure you want to use.

If you find yourself rubbing too much off, set aside and let dry before trying again with no or less water.

Realize that removal doesn’t mean removing all the paper. You will have some left where the image remains on the pot.

If the black starts to smear, set aside and let it dry before trying again.

If too much image is being removed, I let it dry some and then go back and roll off more.

This does randomly distress the lettering. It’s not supposed to look perfect and that is okay!

After it was completely dry, I used a metal brush to file off any excessive paper – or you could use very fine sandpaper or a sanding block. I also put one last coat of diluted Old White over it all which I immediately wiped off just to bring down the brightness of the lettering. I put a layer of AS clear wax on it (or you could have sprayed with with a protective coat) and let it sit overnight

Floral foam goes inside each pot. After the candle is set, the top is decorated with greenery such as moss, spare Christmas tree branchlets, Rosemary, berries, mini pinecones, and/or acorns. For Valentines Day, I’ll be making a LOVE set with red glass stone/beads with the candles. Use your imagination!

Download a 4 circle blank, HomeLove or Noel graphic (the circle border is from the Graphics Fairy, and the font is Book Antiqua) in a jpeg. These images are reversed for application and ready for printing. 2 rows will fit on a 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper.

Project: Updating a Ceiling Fan

I’m going for a bit of retro-1940’s look in my son’s room with earth tone colors of green, beige, and tans accented with silver metal. One of the items I found recently was a modern/contemporary styled ceiling fan on Craigslist for $40.


The fan blades were originally a light, shades of white, pickled oak with shiny top glaze  that wasn’t going to suit where it was going. It was also a dated color, probably more to the 1980’s then now.



First, I did a very light sanding to break the surface. The primer used was from a spray can; the first time I’ve used a spray primer and really I wasn’t very impressed. I’ll stick to paint with a roller or foam brush.

There were some nicks on the blades so if these are too severe you can use a filler to make the surface even before re-painting.


The base coat used some of the paint (Pecan) already in the room.


The top glaze was Burnt Umber, which was applied with a drag technique.

fan blade with dragged glaze topcoat

I let it dry 24 hours to reduce any paint smell and then re-attached to the main fan motor.

I liked the body of the fan so didn’t change the silver. However, if you wanted to do this you need to be aware that spray paint can get inside the workings and gum it up. Any spraying you do, the working area of the motor and electronics need to be firmly protected and sealed.


Before you throw away those ceiling fans because of their dated look, see what you can do by changing the blades or the light kit. You might be surprised into saving some money!