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Trash To Terracotta

Trash to Terracotta Apr 17, 2020

When I first painted some ugly vases using terracotta paint in December last year, I had no idea how much the idea would resonate. Since then hundreds of you have uploaded your creations to the #trashtoterracotta hashtag, and its also been featured around the world on news sites and magazines.  It seems I’m not the only one who always wondered what could be done with ugly vases that you find in thrift stores. Turns out, it’s not just an upcycle, it’s a movement.

If you’re new here and love updating vases as much as I do, make sure to head over and follow me on Instagram, where I’m constantly updating this project. You can also see all the amazing #trashtoterracotta projects that have been done using my methods.

If you’ve been following along since I did that first vase upcycle, you’ll know I’ve experimented and evolved the idea over time, so I thought it would be useful to put together this post, sharing in a single post the different ideas. Read on for all the different ways you can use paint to makeover your vases (and your life… maybe?).

What Is Trash To Terracotta?

Trash to terracotta was born out my love of upcycling and DIYing. Ever since I was a little girl I was obsessed with taking old and worn out things and making them new and cool again. I started my first blog based on this premise, my first book DIY Fashionista was all about this idea, and over time I moved on to upcyling anything I could get my hands on for the home.

One thing I had always noticed in thrift stores was ugly vases that you definitely wouldn’t put in your home because of the outdated colours or patterns. But, now and again you find ones that have a great SHAPE, but not a great colour palette, which got me to thinking about whether I could upcycle them.

Three Ways To Do #trashtoterracotta

What started with an experiment with liquid terracotta, has quickly become a quest for me to work out all the different things that you can do to vases to make them new again. For now, there are three easy options for overhauling vases that I have tried which I will outline below, but you can bet that I’ll be sharing more as time goes on. I started out using Terracotta Paint, then you guys insisted that I work out a way to do a White Version. From there, it only made sense to see if I could do it in Other Colours too. The before and after of these projects is always truly stunning, even though it is such awn easy project!

Option 1. Terracotta Upcycle

The first option for upcycling old vases and giving them a whole new look was to paint them using terracotta paint! The full tutorial for this is here. The product I used is only available in Australia but in that post I’ave also linked other options that you can get in other parts of the world.

Option 2. White Washing

After I did the terracotta project, I got so many questions for you guys about whether it was possible to do this project in a white version, so I quickly set about testing all the different options on the market. Whilst I could have simply used white paint, it didn’t have the ceramic-like texture that I think is essential to this project, so I wanted to find something else. I settled on a little idea that worked so well (using baking powder!), which you can find here.


Option 3. Textured Paint in Any Colour

Never one to give up on a concept, I finally decided to try out the baking powder idea using coloured paints. Initially I was worried it wouldn’t work because of the potential for a white residue from the baking powder, but I was so happy to find that it dissolves well  so can be used with any paint colour. Read that full tutorial here.

This image shows all the different options for #trashtoterracotta


I hope you enjoyed a little recap of what has to be one of my most enjoyable projects to date. I honestly never want to stop painting vases. The best part is, if I ever tire of these tones (doubtful) I can always do another coat in a different colour. If you do your own version, I would be so happy if you could send me some pics or tag #trashtoterracotta on Instagram, I check it daily for new projects and always share your ideas and versions. Oh and in case you’re wondering, I have also been using this technique for other things including a kids bike and some tiles!

Here are a few pics that I have taken over the course of my #trashtoterracotta journey.

In this post I’m wearing a terracotta Spell jumpsuit, who were also kind enough to feature my project on their website.

A  little reminder that YOU CAN BUY MY BOOK HERE:

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