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AT HOME | a blog by Joanna Gaines

DIY Paper Flowers + Aged Terracotta Pots

March 9, 2018

This project and the one I shared earlier this week were both from the team’s most recent spring visual installation at the Silos. It can so easily be incorporated into a spring tablescape or around your home for a little added spring color and whimsy. Check back next week to see how I use both this DIY and the floral print transfers in an Easter tablescape.


To complete this DIY, you’ll need to take a trip to your local hardware store to pick up a few simple tools and ingredients.

For the aged pot:

+ A terracotta pot
+ Garden lime
+ Dirt or soil
+ A 2-inch paint brush
+ Two plastic containers to mix garden lime and mud into
+ 100 grit sandpaper
+ Disposable gloves
+ Dust mask

For the paper flowers:

+ Watercolor paper
+ Flower shapes punch, two sizes for extra dimension
+ Tan and green dye
+2 bowls to mix dye inside
+ A sewing pin
+ Scissors
+ Floral wire
+ Hot glue gun + glue sticks
+ Floral tape
+ Coffee filters
+ Floral foam
+ Spray adhesive
+ Dirt or soil

First, you’ll want to age your pot so it has time to dry before potting your paper flowers. This gives it a worn-in look, helping to give it some character. Depending on the look you prefer, you can also skip this step and go straight to making your paper flowers.


Before you start, be sure to put on your disposable gloves and dust mask to protect yourself from inhaling or directly handling garden lime.

Mix ¼ cup of the garden lime with ¼ cup of warm water and place it in your plastic container. Paint a thick layer of the mixture with a paintbrush onto your terracotta pot. Once you’ve got a thick coat on, let it dry for 10-15 minutes.

While you’re waiting for the garden lime to dry, mix your dirt with enough water to create mud in your second plastic container.

Using the same brush, paint on a thin layer of mud around the entire pot. Once the thin layer has complete coverage, let the mud dry for at least one hour.

After your mud has completely dried, use a small piece of sandpaper to sand off the layers of mud and garden lime.

As the pot dries, the whitewashing effect of the garden lime will become more and more noticeable. Set your pot aside to finish setting while you make your paper flowers.


Be sure to clear your space of dirt and garden lime before starting on the paper flowers.

Fist, cut your watercolor paper into 1.5 inch wide strips.

Use your two flower punches to punch out about 20 flowers of each size per pot you’re making. You may need more for a larger pot and less for a smaller one—it’s really a matter of preference for how many you want.

Mix together 1 teaspoon of tan dye in 1 quart of water. Place all of your flowers in the dye and let them soak until they turn a soft, tan shade. Pull your paper flowers out of the dye and lay them out to dry out on a plastic, stain resistant surface.

Take the sewing pin and poke two holes side by side in the middle of all your large flower cutouts, setting your small flowers aside for now.

Cut your floral wire into 4-inch pieces, and carefully loop the cut floral wire pieces through the two holes of your large flower cut outs.

Once the floral wire is looped through, twist it around the remaining stem of floral wire to secure the flower in place.

Wrap floral tape around the wire to secure everything in place.

Take your set-aside small flowers and dab them with a small amount of hot glue, being careful not to burn yourself. Attach them to the top of your larger flower. This covers up the green floral wire and gives your stems an added dimensional detail.

Set your completed floral stems aside while you prepare the leaves.

Now it’s time to start on your coffee filter leaves. Mix together 3 teaspoons of green dye, 1 teaspoon of the tan dye and a quart of water in your second plastic tub. Dip your coffee filters (two coffee filters should be plenty for one standard size pot of flowers) in the dye to let it soak in the deep green color. Then allow it to dry completely.

Cut floral wire in a variety of 3-inch to 6-inch strips. You’ll want a variety of lengths to make the leaves different sizes. After the coffee filter has dried, spray it generously on one side with adhesive spray. Then quickly lay your cut pieces of floral wire on the adhesive about 1 inch apart, and top it with the other coffee filter. Allow adhesive to dry.

Once the adhesive is dry and the floral wire pieces are firmly secured to the coffee filter, cut the coffee filter into 1 inch wide strips with the wire centered on each strip.

To give the strips a more leaf-like shape, snip off the squared corners of one end.

Next, prepare your aged terracotta pot by cutting the floral foam to fit snugly inside.

Now for the fun part! Arrange your flower and leaf stems by poking each one at least an inch into the floral foam.

To finish, simply fill the remainder of the pot with dirt or soil. You’re done!

This simple DIY is a fun one to bring happy, festive spring blooms into your space or even to use as a table centerpiece. If you try this project, be sure to share it to social media and tag @magnolia in your photo—we’d love to see how yours turns out!

in DIY


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  • Melinda
    12:59 am, March 17, 2018
    Absolutely adorable and precious ~ exactly my kind of project to perk up the place for Spring. But I'm going to cheat: instead of using tan dye, I'm going to soak my entire sheet of paper in a shallow pan filled with water filled and one tea bag [hot water not required] and let the sheet of paper dry; I'll punch out the two sizes of flower shapes when the tea-dyed paper dries. This will make the dying process easier to manage and prevent torn "petals". Fun, fun, fun!
  • Lourdes
    11:07 pm, March 16, 2018
    Love this project!!!love the pots
  • Laura Hart
    7:45 am, March 16, 2018
    I absolutely LOVE this project!!! Thank u Jo! It reminds me of wen a was a little girl I be always loved paper flowers you could get in little bouquets to decorate my Barbie doll house, and my mom would get the Violets from Bonwitt Tellers!!!
  • Patricia Meakin
    10:44 pm, March 15, 2018
    You can use tea to dye the flowers...it would be less expensive than the dye and not require a trip to the store.
  • Karen DiFabio
    10:33 pm, March 15, 2018
    These garden pots look interesting . I will give it a try . Another trick I learned to grow moss on terra-cotta pots is to paint the pots with yogurt then sprinkle soil on the yogurt , and let the moss appear . The live culture from the yogurt causes the soil spores to take root and grow.
    • Susan Hees
      2:57 pm, March 16, 2018
      Thanks for sharing that is an awesome idea...will be trying this!
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