Gilded Terracotta Pots

Unlike the idea of “gilding the lily,” something simple like a rustic terracotta pot feels enhanced by the addition of a little glitter and glam! We love the mixture of the raw clay with the shiny gold. Of course, we never get sick of anything that carries a golden hue. Here is another great idea for a gift, a party, a centerpiece, wedding favors or a refresh on something you already have. These gilded pots look great with frosty blue succulents or as a holder for air plants. — The Ladies of Forêt

View the full how-to after the jump . . .


  • terracotta pots
  • spray adhesive
  • gold-leaf sheets
  • small dry paintbrush
  • spray sealer



1. Gently mist the terracotta pot with spray adhesive where you want to add the gold leaf. We chose to focus on either one side of the pot or the top edge of the container.

2. Place the gold leaf directly on the sprayed surface and carefully rub or pat the backside of the sheet onto the pot surface.

3. Pull back the waxed paper layer. Don’t worry if some of the leaf hasn’t fully adhered to the surface; you’ll be able to use the dry paintbrush to press down the leaf to help it adhere and brush away any pieces that don’t stick.

4. Once the gold leaf looks the way you want it, lightly dust the surface with the clear sealant to set the gold leaf, and voilà! You have your gilded pot ready to plant. If you already have potted plants to which you wish to add gold leaf, simply repeat steps 1–4, but be careful not to mist the plant with spray adhesive or sealant.

Also, if you have tears or negative gaps and wish to fill them, just put the gold-leaf foil back over the pot and add an additional layer.

  1. LizaB says:

    This is beautiful! How was the greenish/gray matte effect achieved? Thank you for posting this!

  2. Such a pretty idea with the upcoming holidays. Gold leaf everything in sight, but is gold leaf cheap? I’m thinking not. In any event, use the terra cotta gold leaf pots on your table runner for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

    1. SmokeHillFarm says:

      “Real” gold leaf can be expensive, but they also sell a fake gold leaf that is very reasonable and looks great. Most craft stores sell the fake stuff, and I see no reason not to use that.

      Currently on Amazon real gold leaf runs a little under a dollar for a 3″x3″ sheet. The fake stuff is in much larger 5.5″x5.5″ sheets, and each one is about 33 cents. There is generally, too, less waste with the fake stuff (called “patent leaf” or something similar). If it doesn’t specifically say it’s real gold leaf, with a karat specified, like 24K, it’s probably the fake stuff. I don’t mean to disparage the fake stuff — frankly, I prefer it and think it looks just as good.

      When pricing the difference, keep in mind that a five and a half by five and a half sheet is THREE times the area of the little three-by-three sheets.

      Fun stuff, and can really add a lot to a cheap dollar-store picture frame.

      You can also get edible gold leaf at cake-decorating websites, to make a really fancy wedding cake, or even cupcakes. Haven’t used that kind, myself.

      1. SmokeHillFarm says:

        P.S. — allow for a fair amount of waste with gold leaf projects, especially if it’s over an irregular surface. And especially if it’s your first time!

  3. Allison says:

    Love this will make my ugly pots so holiday Cheery! just be careful when using Super 77 its pretty toxic and bad for your lungs… wear a mask!

  4. Uma Stewart says:

    The perfect combination of rustic and elegance. Love it!

  5. Kelly says:

    I love this! I have 2 large terra cotta pots and I will definitely have to do this to make it more interesting

  6. Sarah says:

    This is great. I was just out yesterday looking for a pot into which I could transfer a growing plant and I passed over the terracotta as too “outdoorsy” for my living room. But this gives it just the right upgrade. This is definitely on my projects list.

  7. nancy says:

    I absolutely loved it, but would like to know how the other part was made. This beats having to buy the big decorated pots for both indoor and outdoors. Thank You!

  8. Karen A says:

    I want to cover everything in gold

  9. Beverly says:

    Fix a catch-saucer the same way so you’ll be able to water the succulents when they need it. Full sun recommended to keep them happy. (Check their hardiness zone, they may or may not be able to overwinter outside where you live.)

    Goldleafing is a very elegant touch for this common item. I have dried poppy seedheads which are already spray painted gold and would look wonderful in a goldleafed pot. Spiky Sweet Gum balls or Lunaria branches also come to mind as good dried items to pair with these pots, if you’re not using a live plant.

  10. sam says:

    im in loooove with this idea

  11. lbe says:

    The gold that is used here is not genuine, it is actually a compound made of a number of different metals. You can purchase this type of leaf at most art supply stores. It will only cost you about $8 dollars for a book of 25 sheets, the same amount of genuine gold retails around $100.

    I would not suggest using spray adhesive, not only is is quite toxic, it creates a bubbly texture that you will be able to once the leaf is applied. Gold leaf should be adhered to a surface using a liquid glue called size. Size can also be purchased at any art supply store.

    This is a great resource if anyone is interested in delving deeper into the subject.

  12. Such simple solution for and old terra-cotta pot. I have used a similar technique for years. Nice to see it here.

  13. Rachael says:

    The steps you show don’t fully explain how to give the pot an additional patina finish, as it shows in the sample photos. Can you explain how to create that greenish finish in addition to adding the golf leaf?

  14. Laura says:

    What is the paint color on the wall in the first picture? I’m in love!

  15. Allison says:

    I know this is old, but I was also interested in creating the aged/weathered look on new terra cotta pots so I hunted around and found some helpful links:


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