This process involves mixing pure powder colors (used in the coloring of cement) with a fixing agent to make a paint that will fool most people into thinking the item on display is terra cotta and not concrete. For the paint, you will need both dark red and yellow powdered pigment, plus PVA glue and water.
Get a piece of terra cotta for color comparison. If you haven't any terra cotta of you own, borrow something for a few hours. Even a broken piece of flower pot will be sufficient.
Mix a small amount to start with. Take a spoonful of PVA glue and mix it in a container (a glass jar is good) with an equal amount of water. Add about a quarter of a teaspoon of red powder and a spoonful of yellow powder to the mix. Stir vigorously until the ingredients are well mixed.
Mix a larger quantity. Now that you have an idea of how to mix the paint, you can mix a larger amount. Don't worry if you don't mix enough; you can soon mix some more. To ensure the second batch is the same as the first take a drop of the first mix and drop it in a saucer or flower pot saucer. Mix a second batch of paint and keep comparing it with the shade of the first batch until you have a match. To be certain that there isn't a delineating line between the parts you painted with the first mix and the rest of the container, work the brush out over the area between the first and second mix of paint. If you really can't get it right, then mix a bigger batch of paint and give the entire container a second coat.
Enjoy! Once the paint is dry, the container will give the appearance of being made of terra cotta. Not only will it be the correct color, but it will have that dull, earthy/clay look to it. If you wish, you can give the container a sealing coat to enable the paint to last longer. However, if you do this, you will lose some of that realistic terra cotta look. For the seal add one dessert spoon of PVA glue to every five fluid ounces (150ml) of clean cold water and stir thoroughly before use.
NOTE: The accompanying illustration has been sealed.
Clive is an established part-time freelance writer of illustrated articles for magazines. Clive is also a manufacturer of concrete garden ornaments -- now retired.
There are several articles on methods of decorating concrete. (See other articles by this author.)