DIY Terra Cotta Garden Lighthouse

DIY Terra Cotta Garden Lighthouse – the perfect addition to a garden!

As with all Pinterest ideas, I am sure if I had a huge crate of random paints this would have been cheaper than it ended up, but it was fun to do. I kept my design simple and found it very relaxing to sit outside painting. Because I let my paint layers cure, it wasn’t a fast project, but overall didn’t require a lot of work. I love lighthouses – my Grandmother lived on a beach bluff, with one above that I’d happily watch every night from bed. I’ve even hiked 11 miles on beach to climb to the top of one. I’d be in happyville if I could have a lighthouse for a vacation home!


The supply list:

Terra-cotta pots (I bought 4, in varying sizes. Stack them in the store to see how they fit.)

Spray paint primer, in white

Spray paint outdoor latex enamel, in glossy white

Cans of outdoor latex enamel paint, for trim


Craft glue

Solar powered lantern (bought one for $3 at local cheapie store)


After removing any excess terra-cotta (dust, bits), find a large piece of cardboard. Spray paint a good coat of white flat primer, let dry, preferably overnight, spray the inside as well, let dry.

Spray paint the pots with glossy white latex enamel paint, two coats, letting dry between coats. For best results, spray back and forth. Don’t use a brush on paint for this step, the paint will be streaky (terra-cotta does this).


Let the pots sit overnight, then wrap painting tape around each one:


Paint the rims, both in and out (it looks nicer overall). I used a deep blue latex enamel paint and did 3 coats, letting each one dry for 2 hours between. Then I let it sit overnight.


Take off the tape:


To assemble, use a good craft glue, or if you really want something secure for the long haul, Gorilla Glue. Just be sure to wear gloves if you use Gorilla Glue, as it stains. Since I realize at some point I may need to replace the lantern, I used white craft glue, which I can break the lantern off of, if needed.

Set the bottom (largest) pot down on a flat surface. Since I was trying to work in the shade, I used a plastic storage box. Spread a layer of glue inside the next pot’s rim, set on top and make sure it is on fully. Repeat as many layers as you are using. To attach the lantern, spread a thin layer of glue on the edge of the top pots bottom, set lantern on. Walk away and let this all dry.


To decorate and add windows, I used a pencil to free hand the design. Then I used black latex enamel paint to fill it in, using a flat angular brush, with 4 thin coats done. I was painting in 80° weather with low humidity, so each coat was dry within minutes.

The finished lighthouse, tucked into the corner of our backyard:


The light comes on at dusk by itself, and lights up the corner of the yard.

To get my project done, I waited for Alistaire’s nap times – this took multiple days – and found ways to keep Walker occupied. Walker looooves painting, so I brought out his apron and paint. He happily made messes next to me!


Those Home Depot aprons should never be passed up if you see them for free! We scored a couple of them last month at a local festival, where they had a kid craft booth. And a small table I can move around into the shade completes his craft kit 😉


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