Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day Flower Pots

Big Brother choosing flowers based on the colors
he thought each grandmother would like.
Last week we had two special projects to do; one was for the three grandmothers in honor of Mother's Day and the other was for Big Brother's daycare teachers. All three of our grandmothers enjoy plants so we decided to paint plant pots and then pick a special flower for each one to enjoy this coming summer. The pots took several days to complete, as there were three to do and lots of steps. It was easier to break it down this way than risk smearing paint and overwhelming the artists.

I had an idea in mind and the pots needed to be tall enough to fit Big Brother's handprint on the sides of the pot. On the bottom part of the pot I wanted to print Big Brother's hands so they looked like a tall flower and Little Brother's feet so they looked like the leaves. We headed to our local general store which pretty much has everything, including an amazing array of terra cotta pots in stock year round, and found just the right size! We wanted to personalize the pots, so using scrapbook stickers we spelled their names out on the top edge. The idea was that when we were done we could peel off the stickers and have their names left on the pot. (See the end for a side note on this step.) I used blue painter's tape to mark off the edges so when Big Brother painted the top part he would stick to just the top edge. He dug through the acrylic paint bin and chose one color for each.

Big Brother then painted the tops. He painted over the stickers. 

We did the next step the following day. Again using craft acrylic paint we painted Big Brother's hands and made prints on the sides of the pots. We set up a bowl of soapy, warm water and rags for washing hands in between prints.

It was a lot of handprints, which did get a little tiring for Big Brother, so his reward was getting to paint my hand. 

We again waited another day, and this time I painted Little Brother's feet and added his prints to the bottom edges of Big Brother's hand prints. I added some other garden details at the same time by painting freehand. When that layer had dried, Big Brother used his fingertips and paint to make small flowers in the grass. Our garden look was coming together. I also added the boy's names and the year to the bottom of each pot with permanent marker. 

When everything had dried, each pot was sprayed with a clear, acrylic spray paint to help the painting stay on a little longer. Whenever you paint a terra cotta pot you intend to use for plants you risk the paint wearing off. Terra cotta sucks up moisture which can eventually peel off the paint. The spray will hopefully seal out some of the moisture although it won't protect from all of it. (See below for a side note on the spray.) 

A few shots of our handprint/footprint garden themed pots. 

On Saturday I quickly planted our pots with the plants Big Brother had chosen. Ideally I would have had him do the planting but I wound up needing to finish the project while he was out of the house. They were ready to deliver for the weekend's festivities and well received! 

A few side notes about materials: 
1) The stickers did not peel off that easily in the end and I wound up needing to use an Exacto knife and fingernail polish remover to remove all of the residue. Both were tricky as I didn't want to remove the paint. I like the look using the stickers gave but will try other stickers next time. 
2) The acrylic spray was very strong smelling and I did not do this near the boys or let them participate in the spraying. It must be done in a well ventilated area by an adult. I would recommend doing it outside, I did it in the basement with the doors open and it was still too much enclosed to truly get rid of the fumes. 


  1. These are so cute, I love getting handmade gifts from my grandkids. Crystal's girls did the same for me a few years ago and I still have and use them. Does he like doing projects or does it depend on the project/day? It is so good for them in so many ways. He always looks like he is really into each project.

    1. Tammie, for the most part he really does like the projects and he will ask for them. But it can depend on the day. Sometimes he is drawn in for a long time, and other times he likes to come and go with them. I love how they allow him to create things to be proud of, but they also help us provide some variety to our day.