The Transformative Power of Paint

Words by
Amber Creswell Bell
Images by
Amber Creswell Bell
| May 26, 2014

Some people’s pursuit of power is rather loftier than my own. I just like the power to transform things, to take them from ordinary to lovely. I love the transformative power of paint in all its forms, get excited by the possibilities offered up by a paint atlas, and rather fancy the unlimited options held in the paint chip section of the hardware store. I hoard colour inspiration. I like to paint my front door annually. So, it was some level of excitement that I discovered that boutique ethical paint company Bauwerk had developed a range specifically for painting pots!

The lowly pot – such an important fixture in the garden, but so oft unacknowledged has finally been given some quality accessorising. I must confess that I love a bit of pot painting. In the 80’s, I could folk-art up a terracotta pot and flog it to mum’s friends like no one’s business. Fortunately those days are behind me – but I love the idea of taking something as cheap and available as a terracotta pot and turning it into something else altogether.

Bauwerk Garden Pot Paint is perfect for terracotta, cement, masonry and stone. It’s very quick and easy to apply, and a really simple and fun way to change the colour of old and new terracotta pots. The paint allows garden pots to breathe and naturally reflects heat, keeping the plant roots cooler. And best of all, the pots look even better as time goes on, as the paint ages so beautifully. Unlike your standard paints, Bauwerk has developed these gorgeously milky lime finishes, which are soft and subtle and gorgeously earthy. The hardest part for me was narrowing my colour selection – their palette is delicious! There is not a single hue I wouldn’t covet. In the end I opted for some soft, primarily pastel shades to work with my midcentury house.

The paints are rather surprisingly light and watery – they do not have any of the usually gluggy or smelly paint characteristics. In fact, before you shake it – the paint does resemble water. Once you give it a shake the pigments come to life, and it resembles a milkshake! The process could not be more straightforward. These are the basic steps.

1. Shake tin well before opening then stir thoroughly. This step is really key to unlocking the pigments.

2. Decant into container and ensure all pigment is dispersed.
3. Stir regularly throughout the painting period. You will need to – as the pigment will want to settle to the bottom after a time.
4. Dampen pot before first coat. I used a simple spray bottle – and I found this step really helped the pots to evenly distribute the paint, as the porous pots REALLY drink it up.

5. Best results are achieved using a natural brush using loose, free strokes to stretch the paint as far as possible in all directions – do not leave drips or runs. I applied a couple of coats, and went for a deliberately imperfect look.
6. The paint goes on much darker than end colour, with a slightly transparent look. As it dries it lightens to the chosen colour and become opaque with a soft, powdery finish. The paint dries in no time!

TIP: I found that the more the porous the pot, the better. Some of my older pots had developed a slight shiny glaze from wear, and the paint did not as readily and evenly absorb into these pots.

RATING: Excellent! Loved it. Super easy to use, and low mess. Paints on like milk, dries like powder. Colour range is to die for.

WARNING: it is slightly addictive.

NOTE: We love Bauwerk’s products and approached them for some paint samples to test drive for this story. They kindly agreed. That’s that.