Put the wow in mini container gardens by embellishing pots with ordinary sisal rope. Apply evenly spaced vertical stripes of construction adhesive around a pot that has been sealed (see inset opposite). Starting at the base, wrap 6mm-thick rope around the pot, pressing it firmly into the glue as you work your way up. At the top, cut the rope and clamp the end with a clip to avoid fraying. For variation, attach two rows of rope around the base, then form evenly spaced waves around pot. Finish the top third of the pot with closely wrapped coils of rope.
Dots and stripes
Douse your terracotta pots in fun red and white dots and stripes. Use a 50mm foam brush to cover a sealed pot with two coats of red exterior paint. Take paint over the rim and down about 50mm on the inside. When the red paint is dry, dip the flat end of your brush handle into white paint and make dots, spaced about 6cm apart, all over the pot. For instant stripes on a pre-sealed and white-painted pot, mask off as many stripes as you wish. Load a foam roller with red paint and colour the pot. While the paint is still wet, carefully remove masking tape. If the pot has a rim, load a foam brush with red paint and create thick vertical stripes around it. Let the paint dry then seal the pot once more.
Decorate small planter pots with pebbles in two colours for a mosaic-like design. Using a marker pen, draw a simple design on a pre-sealed terracotta pot. For curves, you can trace around a saucer or an up-ended cup. Working a section at a time, apply a construction adhesive, such as Selleys Liquid Nails Landscape, on the pot. Press pebbles into glue, allowing some of the pebbles to extend slightly beyond the marked line. Try not to be too uniform with their placement, except around the base and rim. Allow the pot to dry for 24 hours before spraying with an ornamental terracotta sealer which will bring out the colour of the pebbles.
How to seal your terracotta pot
As terracotta is porous, you must seal it before you decorate it, especially if it will be used as a planter. To do this, clean the entire pot of all grease, dust, dirt, mould and lichen using water and a scrubbing brush. Allow it to dry, then give the whole pot two coats of a spray-on ornamental sealer specifically made for use on terracotta. Allow 30 minutes drying time between coats, and seven days to completely cure before you decorate it.
To make decorating a pot easier, thread a dowel through the hole in the bottom. Rest both ends on blocks of timber (tall enough so pot can turn freely). Hammer a nail into each of the blocks on either side of the dowel to keep it in place as you spin the pot.