DIYdiy projects

diy project: bonnie’s chalkboard planting pots

by Kate Pruitt

summer is in full swing, and yet here in the bay area i’m wearing a sweater and wool socks…go figure. but when the fog burns off and i head outside later, i might have to pick up some materials to make these adorable pots. bonnie from going home to roost has kindly included the templates for these charming labels, and the great part about this simple project is you don’t have to stop at pots! i can see these cute chalkboard labels on old jars, crates, and storage boxes. thanks for sharing, bonnie! –kate

when i first learned how to make custom colored chalkboard paint, i knew it would come in handy again.  what endless possibilities there are!  as i was strolling by the planters in my local hardware store, i couldn’t pass up their cheapest terra cotta planter, and the opportunity to doll it up- diy style.  budget friendly and finished in less than an hour, this project is an easy way to pretty up your home, patio or garden! –bonnie

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


– terra cotta gardening pots (unglazed)
-1 cup flat latex paint in your desired color
– 2 tbs unsanded tile grout for each cup of paint (avail. at your local hardware store)
– sponge brush
– tape
– paper
– exacto knife (or scissors)
– chalk
label template


1. Download the label template and cut each shape out into rectangles that will fit onto your pot (you can increase or decrease the label size for varying pot sizes).

2. Using an exacto knife or scissors, cut the templates out from the inside to create your stencil.  Tape the stencil to your garden pot along the outside edges.

3. In a cup or bowl, mix one cup flat latex paint with 2 tbs unsanded tile grout, then stir well until all of the clumps dissolve.

4. Dip the sponge brush into your ‘chalkboard’ paint and begin painting inside you stencil using brush strokes from the outside in.  Fill in the stencil, being careful not to get paint under the edges of the paper.  Let paint dry (about 15 minutes) and apply a second coat.

5. Once the second coat is dry (another 15 minutes) remove the tape and stencil to reveal your chalkboard design!

6. Once fully cured ‘season’ your chalkboard by rubbing the entire area with a piece of chalk and wipe clean with a damp cloth.  Now you’re ready to write away!

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  • These are precious!

    I just started a little garden on my apartment porch and think this project might inspire me to expand to a few more pots of herbs!

  • This just adds more fuel to the fire that is my love for chalkboard paint! Great idea! It’s especially nice because cute plant markers can be expensive…

  • I can’t wait to show this project to my mother–she loves to garden, and this will work out beautifully for her! Thank you, thank you!

  • since you mentioned the bay area, i just saw a bunch of terracotta pots at the 99c store yesterday – great for kids to do this project for cheap.

  • Just out of curiosity, what other materials does this chalkboard paint work on? Is it just limited to clay or could it be used on, say, wood?
    (Btw I LOVE the idea, clearly I want to get as much out of it as possible!)

  • Great idea! I used chalkboard paint on the bathroom door beside our breakfast room so the kids could write what they were feeling that day.

  • hi monica! it works on lots of things! i’ve done pantry doors, walls and pots and have heard of many other uses. i would just be careful using it on plastic as it might not stick.

    good luck!

  • Does the chalk you’ve written with come off if it gets wet? All my pots seem to get wet when I water.

  • Wow! Have always loved doing chalkboards and didn’t realise I could have made my own IN THE COLOUR I WANT!! Yay! Bless you! These are cute!
    Well done you!

  • These are adorable! I am a big fan of chalkboard surfaces-I have done similar ones to old canisters using contact paper and chalkboard spraypaint.

  • I love this idea, but have another way to use it for a math project (albeit a bit fragile so choose your students wisely! LOL!

    Get three different sizes of these pots–so that they nest fairly snugly, but not tightly. Possibly you could do this with the same size pots, as long as they nest together. Paint the entire pot with chalkboard paint. Then view them nested together so you get an idea of how place value would be. On the most outer pot, put the numbers around the rim, so that when the pot is turned sideways, the numbers appear vertical: 1, 2, 3, etc. Inside the pot stick the next pot, doing the same thing on the rim, but this will be “tens” so inside (hidden from view when stacked) add a zero to each number: 10, 20, 30, etc. When nested you could now possibly see 1 on the inner pot, and 1 on the outer pot, to represent 11, but to clarify to your student, pull out the pot to see it is 10 + 1. On the next label the numbers 1-9 again, but when not nested they will appear to be 100, 200, 300, etc. Stick it inside the second pot. When you hold these together sideways, you will have 3 numbers now, such as 111 or you could change them to 267, etc.–clarifying place value as needed.

    This would also work with small spelling words.