We have a new crush and it’s a doozy: plaster urns. She Shed Living has a new line of them and we set to work experimenting with paints to make unique and artful creations for the home, she shed or garden.
Why We Love Them
Urns, or planters, have noble roots in ancient Greek, Roman, French and Italian gardens. They are the decoration of kings and queens, noble folk and aristocrats.
These planters are often shaped in classic form including bell-shaped or calyx (which refers to the slightly flared cup of a flower). They are molded with embossed detail and elevated on pedestals. Made of plaster, concrete or iron, urns are made to last and become a permanent fixture to be planted with anything from asarina to spring bulbs to succulents.
How to Paint Them
Since we are all about the outdoors, we wanted to use paints that would last. She Shades is a chalk-based paint made for both exterior and interior surfaces. So really the hardest part about this project is figuring out your color choices.
For this technique, we used paint straight from the jar. Our little 2 oz craft-sized paints do the trick well; in fact you could probably paint a bunch of urns with them. To bring a bit of Old World dazzle into the mix we also used gold leaf paint in places. A wash of paint mixed with gloss Mod Podge gave the urn its glazed finish.
Craft paint brushes (small and medium detail brush, larger 1/2-inch brush for wash)
Paint mix container
Paints (She Shades in Queen Anne’s Lace, Prairie Crocus, Nightglow, Farmhouse Linens)
Gold leaf paint (ours came in a tube)
Gloss Mod Podge glue/sealer/finish (8 oz. bottle is plenty)
1. Using the 1/2 inch brush, paint a coat of Queen Anne’s Lace over entire urn and allow to dry.
2. Using a small detail brush, paint the grape clusters with Prairie Crocus. (We just dipped the brush right into the lid of the craft jar.)
3. Mix a few drops of Queen Anne’s Lace into a dime-size dollop of Nightglow. Using a medium detail brush, load a SMALL amount of paint to paint the leaves very lightly. You want some of the background to show through.
4. Squeeze a tiny amount of gold leaf paint onto an artist’s palette or small plastic chip. Swirl to mix. Use one of the detail brushes to gild the top edge, under-edge embossed detail and lower rings of the urn. If desired, use your fingertip to lightly smudge some of the gold leaf onto the leaves. Allow to dry.
5 Pour about 1/8 to 1/4 cup Mod Podge into your paint mix container (we used an inexpensive plastic measuring cup from the dollar store, and added quite a bit more Mod Podge after this photo was taken). Then pour a teaspoon or less of Farmhouse Linens into the cup. Mix well. You want the glaze to be tinted, but transparent. Test on the inside of the vessel or a piece of light cardboard.
6 Using the 1/2-inch brush, begin stroking the glaze over the entire surface of the urn, starting inside the vessel and working your way down. Our urn has just one coat because we wanted the gold to really shine through.
7 Allow to dry overnight.
TIP: Here’s an easy technique for an old pot sitting in your backyard that you want to freshen up. Use our $5 craft-size minis for this job. Paint over the surface of the pot with undiluted paint after it is cleaned, then choose a color and dilute it with water. Add more color to each area little by little, using water to dilute when you want to have a transparent look and allow to dry. Lightly sand in areas you want to artfully distress. No sealer is necessary.
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