Late last summer I picked up a vintage metal plant stand at a garage sale. In my opinion, it already had the perfect rusty, chippy finish although I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would think this needs a fresh paint job. But I work really hard to replicate a layered finish like this, so there was no way I was painting over it.
I didn’t do anything with this last year, I just put it away in the carriage house to be stored for the winter. I pulled it out recently to get it ready for gardening season. I cleaned it well with some soapy water and then once it was dry again I gave it a coat of clear sealer to add a little protection. I used the Rustoleum matte clear spray, but there are several brands out there that make a similar product.
What I needed next were some pots to fit in the holders it had. I pulled out some of my clay pots to see what size worked best, and it ended up being my Queen Bee Laundry Co pot, which has a 5.5″ diameter.
I love that pot! It’s perfectly aged, and quite beat up, but that’s what appeals to me. I added the graphic using the transfer gel method and you can read more about that here.
But I only had one spare pot this size, so I put the pot in a bag to take with me for size comparison and headed to my local Hobby Lobby. I thought I’d easily find a selection of clay pots to choose from. As it turned out, Hobby Lobby had a bigger pot, and a smaller pot, but nothing in this exact size. So then I went to Michaels. Same story. Then I went to Home Depot, and that’s when I started to realize that 5.5″ wasn’t a readily available standard size because they didn’t have it either. Jeesh! Who would have thought finding the right sized pot was going to be an issue here?
I finally ended up at my local Menards store and they didn’t have the right size either. But that was when I decided to make do with the next size up, and at only $1.49 each even if they totally didn’t work I was only going to be out around $6.
So I brought them home and gave them a quick makeover. I whitewashed them with a very watered down Dixie Belle Drop Cloth paint, added a Classic Vintage Label transfer to each one and then protected them with a coat of clear wax.
Now, at this point you are probably wondering how well the transfers (and the paint for that matter) hold up on the clay pots. As we all know clay pots are porous on purpose. That’s so that excess moisture can escape through the clay. So, good for your plants, but not so good for something trying to stick to the outside of the pot (like paint, or a transfer).
Luckily I started a little experiment with similar pots last year just so that I could ultimately answer this question. I planted a house plant in one, and some geraniums in a couple of others to see how well each held up.
Here is the indoor house plant version …
When I water this plant I put it in the sink, add water, wait for it to drain and then put it back on its saucer. So, it doesn’t typically get wet on the outside of the pot, but the plant is planted directly into the pot and thus water is seeping through the clay behind the transfer. If you look closely, you can see that there is some bubbling of the transfer as a result. The paint is holding up quite well. Frankly, I didn’t expect results this good. I thought for sure the transfer would be toast after a year of this, but I think it still looks pretty darn good.
I definitely expected worse results with the two outside pots. I planted the geraniums in them and left them outside all of last summer. I watered them with the hose, and they weren’t protected from rain either, so they got plenty wet. Last fall I brought them in to my office to try over-wintering the geraniums (which, I might add, worked quite well in a bright southern facing window).
I was astonished at how well these pots held up even outside. Obviously they aren’t fresh as the day they were created, but I rather like the look of them with a little age.
Unfortunately, the paint and transfers do little to protect the pot from breaking when you knock it off the table on the very day you plan to take some photos of it for your blog post.
Drat! But as you can see from what’s left of it, the transfer on the 2nd outside pot also held up well right up until the pot broke.
Anyway, this brings me back to the pots that aren’t quite the right size for my plant stand. Here’s how the new pots look in the stand.
I really thought I could live with this look, but the closet perfectionist in me is rebelling.
Here is how the proper sized pot fits in the stand.
Darn it anyway! I was going to ask all of you to weigh in and let me know if you think I can get away with the larger pots, but I am betting you’ll all agree that they are wrong and I need to keep searching for the 5.5″ diameter pots.
I fear it is back to the drawing board on this one. I think I’m going to tuck this plant stand back away for now and maybe I’ll get lucky and find the correct sized pots at garage sales this summer (I tend to see a lot of clay pots at garage sales). Wish me luck on that!