I created this potted perennial arrangement for my outdoor living space this past spring, planning to move it inside once the weather becomes too cold. The coleus started out quite small (4″ pot) and grew so large that I clipped off several stems and rooted them in a cup of water with plans to use them as houseplants now and then next summer use them in the outdoor room.
I figured I simply needed to buy a pot large enough to allow for growth so I wouldn’t have to replant the coleus cuttings again next spring. But it wasn’t that easy.
My dilemma? I couldn’t find a pot I liked that was inexpensive, lightweight and worked with both my indoor and outdoor furnishings. My solution? Change the look of an inexpensive and lightweight pot that worked indoors and outdoors so that it suited my design sensibilities.
From Plain & Shiney to Rich & Patinaed
I found this golden color pot at my local hardware store. It was inexpensive (less than $10), lightweight (foam base), 12″ diameter and I liked the shape. However, even though it is a golden color (my home is primarily earthtones inside and out) it was too bright and shiny for my preferences.
The solution? Paint! I dry brushed two very light layers of my semi-gloss exterior house trim paint onto the pot. To dry brush I dipped just the tips of my brush bristles in the paint, then tapped some of it off (I used the inside of the paint can lid) and lightly applied the paint in a cross-hatch motion. I did not want to solidly paint the pot – I wanted the original gold color to show through in spots. Here’s what it looked like after I dry brushed on a single layer of paint. Notice how the shine has been cut?
After the first application dried (it dried quickly because I applied the paint lightly and it was a warm day), I applied a second layer of paint in the same manner. I also dry brushed inside the pot to about 3″ below the top so that it matched the exterior. There’s no need to paint inside the pot any further down than that because the soil will cover it. Here’s what the pot looked like before and after I dry brushed on the paint.
And here’s what it looks like with a coleus cutting planted in it.
Apply Dry Brushing Elsewhere
The easy dry brush technique added depth and richness to my slick, inexpensive pot. It can do the same to picture frames, home accessories, furniture or even walls you want to alter. Give dry brushing a try – it’s and easy and inexpensive way to add depth and personality to an item.
Tips to ensure your success:
1. Make sure the item you want to dry brush is clean and dry, not flaking or splintering.
2. Use a fairly stiff bristled brush.
3. Don’t plunge your brush into the paint as if you were going to paint – dip the bristles less than half an inch into the paint and pounce some of the paint off onto a paper towel or other surface.
4. With light, quick strokes apply the paint to the desired item and keep your hand moving. If you stop to look at your work you’ll leave a heavy, dark spot where you stopped moving the brush.
5. Make sure your layer of paint is light and free of drips. Keep the brush moving until it’s no longer applying paint – then redip the brush and continue in the same manner until the piece is done.
6. After the first layer is complete, let it dry so you can check the color and the application. If you desire a second application, make sure the first layer is completely dry before you begin.
Show and Tell
If you try dry brushing, or if you’ve used it previously, send me a photo! I’d love to post a collection of photos so everyone can see a variety of applications and looks achieved. Email your photo(s) and anything you’d like me to know about the project to email@example.com.