Craft: create your own herb pots
“BEFORE YOU KNOW IT, YOU’LL BE ADDICTED AND WANT TO DÉCOUPAGE EVERYTHING!”
Have some creative fun this winter by making these arty herb pots. Marsha Smith tells you how.
These pots are decorated using using a technique known as ‘découpage’ (derived from the French ‘découper’ meaning ‘to cut out’). I’ve used tissue paper and copper leaf, but you can affix just about anything to your pots (magazine cut-outs, paper or fabric). As long as you seal the pots well with the dishwasher-safe Mod Podge, they won’t be ruined by moisture from inside or outside the pot. If you can’t get the dishwasher-safe version, you could use a basic craft Mod Podge and seal your pot at the end with a varnish that is water-resistant.
1 Start by making sure the terracotta pots are clean and smooth. Sand off any rough spots and wipe clean. Spray-paint pots with white paint inside and out. This should be done a day or two in advance, giving the paint plenty of time to dry.
2 Tear and cut the tissue paper and copper leaf into a variety of shapes and sizes. Be as creative as you like, but keep it simple. Try cutting some little triangles, circles or diamonds as well. If you’re nervous about making mistakes, it’s a good idea to use a piece of white paper or card and experiment with various layers and design ideas. See how the colours react when layered and what different colour combinations and effects you’ll get when they are placed together. (eg: dark onto light/light onto dark).
3 Doing one pot at a time, sponge or brush some Mod Podge onto the surface of the pot and begin fixing your layers of tissue and copper leaf. Be careful, as the tissue is delicate and will tear easily once wet. Use tweezers to affix small pieces. Another thing to be careful of is the bleeding of darker colours. The more Mod Podge you put on, the more likely it is for colours like black to run. Let darker colours dry slightly first before working over them too many times.
4 Once you are happy with your design, set pot aside and leave to dry for 2-3 hours.
5 Apply another coat of Mod Podge over the entire surface of your pot (inside and out). Repeat two more times for a complete seal. (Don’t worry, Mod Podge looks a little white when first applied but it will dry clear.) Set pots aside for a few days to cure before filling with your favourite herbs.
6 Using dishwasher-safe Mod Podge, this technique can also be applied to a plain white tea cup (without the spray paint of course!). Before you know it, you’ll be addicted and want to découpage everything!
For a finishing touch, you may like to make your own herb labels. Simply double your craft wire at your desired length and twist until you have a sturdy rod. Bend one end in the shape of a shepherd’s crook. Roll out and make an oval tag shape from modelling clay. Using a straw, make a hole at one end. Bake until hard (see packet for instructions as various clays will differ). Write the herb name on the tag in permanent marker, hook it over the wire and ‘plant’ in your pot.