A Crafty Mix


How To Cut Terracotta Pots the Right Way

One of the best things about living in South Africa is that we get to spend a lot of time outdoors, pottering around in the garden. So it’s no wonder that we enjoy making things for our garden; like these terracotta pot halves. They add so much visual interest and fit right in with this month’s IBC pottery challenge. So I thought I’d share an easy to follow tutorial that shows you how to cut terracotta pots the right way and use them to make create a broken pot fairy garden or these pottery tree planters.

How to cut terracotta pots so they don't break or crack,. Use them to create beautiful outdoor tree planters #terracottapots #treeplanters #easycrafts #planterideas #terracottaplanters

But before I show you how to cut terracotta pots, let me quickly tell you a little about the IBC (Int’l Bloggers Club). Every month a group of bloggers from around the world get together to create something using a common theme. Our previous challenge was all about wool and we shared our secret tricks to make the fluffiest pom poms ever!! You’ll be able to see what my friends did with their pottery challenge at the end of the post.

What you need

If you want to cut terracotta pots quickly and easily you’ll need one of my favorite tools – a Dremel. Whoever invented that thing deserves an award. If power tools frighten you, then a Dremel is just what the doctor ordered to get you over that fear. They’re lightweight and so easy to use. Plus they come with all these teeny-tiny, little attachments which means you can use your Dremel to slice, dice, drill, screw, sand, buff…… well just about anything you can do with a normal power tool 😉 To cut the terracotta pots you’ll need the diamond cutting wheel attachment, some water, gloves, and a dust mask.

If you plan to turn the terracotta pots into tree planters you’ll also need some outdoor garden twine.

What you need to make the terracotta tree planters #terracottapots #treeplanters #easycrafts #planterideas #terracottaplanters #acraftymix

How to cut terracotta pots the right way

Terracotta pots can be difficult to cut cleanly. They’re quite brittle and crack or chip easily. And cutting them is a dusty business. So best do it outside and to reduce dust while you work, soak the terracotta pots in some water for about 20 minutes first.

Place the terracotta pots in water for a few minutes #acraftymix #cutterracotta #tipsandtricks

Let the pots sit for a few minutes to dry out a little before cutting. Mark where you want to cut.

Mark where to cut #terracottapots #treeplanters #easycrafts #planterideas #terracottaplanters #acraftymix

And secure the terracotta pot in a vice or on some kind of stable surface.

Place the terracotta pots in a vice to secure #terracottapots #treeplanters #easycrafts #planterideas #terracottaplanters #acraftymix

Put on your protective gear and move the diamond cutting disc slowly along the cut mark to avoid wearing out the disc.

Use a Dremel and diamond cutting blades #terracottapots #treeplanters #easycrafts #planterideas #terracottaplanters #acraftymix

Take it slow and steady so the disc doesn’t overheat and crack the pot.

Use a Dremel and diamond cutting blades #terracottapots #treeplanters #easycrafts #planterideas #terracottaplanters #acraftymix

Apply a slight, downward pressure as you move the disc along the cut mark.

The first cut has been made #terracottapots #treeplanters #easycrafts #planterideas #terracottaplanters #acraftymix

When the first side is done, flip the pot over and lightly score the other side along the mark you made earlier. It should crack along the score mark without you having to cut all the way through, very much like when cutting a piece of slate to make a heart.

The other side's cut has been made #terracottapots #treeplanters #easycrafts #planterideas #terracottaplanters #acraftymix

Remove the cut terracotta pots from the vice and sand the cut edges.

Two equal unbroken halves of a terracotta pot #terracottapots #treeplanters #easycrafts #planterideas #terracottaplanters #acraftymix

And they’re ready to be turned into tree planters.

How to cut terracotta pots so they don't break or crack,. Use them to create beautiful outdoor tree planters #terracottapots #treeplanters #easycrafts #planterideas #terracottaplanters #acraftymix

Turning the cut terracotta pots into tree planters

Turning the terracotta pot halves into tree planters couldn’t be easier. All you need is a suitable tree and a piece of garden twine.

Use twine to tie the pots to the tree #terracottapots #treeplanters #easycrafts #planterideas #terracottaplanters

Place the cut terracotta pots against the tree and wrap the twine a few times around both the pot and the tree to secure. Don’t tie them on too tightly to avoid damaging the tree. Just make sure they’re flush up against the tree and won’t slip down.

A side view of the terracotta pots tied to a tree. #terracottapots #treeplanters #easycrafts #planterideas #terracottaplanters #acraftymix

We put ours on a yucca that’s growing outside our front door.

Tie the "broken" terracotta post to a tree for a unique little planter #terracottapots #treeplanters #easycrafts #planterideas #terracottaplanters #acraftymix

Add a few small pebbles, sphagnum peat moss, potting soil, and suitable water-wise plants to the pots. Terracotta is porous, which is great for preventing soil disease and root rot. But, it does mean that the pots won’t “retain” water as well as other materials, so it’s best to plant something that’s drought-tolerant. The peat moss will help with water retention too.

A close up of this stunning terracotta planter. They look so cool tied to the tree like that #terracottapots #treeplanters #easycrafts #planterideas #terracottaplanters #acraftymix

I planted some creeping thyme in ours. It doesn’t mind a little shade and is very drought tolerant once established. We have lots of thyme in the garden. It’s one of my favorite plants to use in our fairy gardens. A lovely Flowering Ivy (Senecio Macroglossus) and succulents will work too. What would you plant in yours?

If you like the idea of using terracotta pots as tree planters don’t forget to pin it for later.
How to cut terracotta pots so they don't break or crack,. Use them to create beautiful outdoor tree planters #terracottapots #treeplanters #easycrafts #planterideas #terracottaplanters #acraftymix

And if you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us come up with more amazing craft ideas to share with you 😉

Newly Designed Natural Terracotta Fallen Pot or Hanging Pot with Loops Handles
KINGLAKE 328 Feet Natural Jute Twine Best Arts Crafts Gift Twine Christmas Twine Durable Packing String for Gardening Applications
Goodman and Wife Newly Designed Hand Pressed Ancient Stressed Terracotta Petal Shaped Flower Pot or Planter. Large

Sale Dremel 4300-5/40 High Performance Rotary Tool Kit with LED Light- 5 Attachments & 40 Accessories- Engraver, Sander, and Polisher- Perfect for Grinding, Cutting, Wood Carving, Sanding, and Engraving
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Sale Dremel Rotary Tool Accessory Kit- 710-08- 160 Accessories- EZ Lock Technology- 1/8 inch Shank- Cutting Bits, Polishing Wheel and Compound, Sanding Disc and Drum, Carving, Sharpening, and Engraving

Until next time, hope you have a lovely crafty week and don’t forget the see what my friends from the Int’l Bloggers Club have done with their pottery challenge. Their links should be down below.

IBC pottery challenge - Leanna and Sam

Raggedy Bits | Faeries and Fauna

Made with love by a Crafty Mix

Categories:   Craft Tutorials, DIY Tutorials, Planters, Quick & Easy Crafts


  • Posted: September 15, 2019 23:08

    Linda at Mixed Kreations

    How cool Michelle! I have a dremel but hardly ever use it. I love your terracotta tree planters. Great way to add some more color. Thanks for the great tips! Now I know what to use the diamond disk for. 😊
    • Posted: September 16, 2019 05:31


      So glad it helped Linda. That diamond disc is the best. We even use it to cut glass bottles without any problems.
  • Posted: August 28, 2019 08:12


    That tool seems so handy, I have some broken pots and I am sure I could cut them to use the half. Thanks for the tutorial and good luck, I just voted for you!
    • Posted: August 28, 2019 09:16


      Oooooo you have to get yourself a Dremel Pili. You will love it and there are just so many things you can do with that little thing. I love mine. And thank you so very much for the vote, my friend. That means so much to me 💞
  • Posted: August 26, 2019 14:44


    This is so genius, I was wondering how you did it! I love the idea of dressing up the trees like this. So sorry I didn't make it this month..
    • Posted: August 26, 2019 15:14


      It does add something special to the trees 😘 and I'm sorry that you missed it too. I would have loved to see what you would have done with the pottery challenge
  • Posted: August 21, 2019 20:42


    Michelle, What a great project!! I LOVE how they look on the trees!! Thanks so much for stopping by and for leaving such a sweet comment on my retirement... Hugs, Deb
    • Posted: August 22, 2019 06:26


      You're most welcome Debbie. It's the start of a wonderful stress-free time in your life. Wishing you so much happiness and love 💓
  • Posted: August 20, 2019 01:03


    Well, aren't you crafty! I have never seen cut pots and certainly not mounted to anything. I love this idea. Off to forward this post to my tool guy! ;)
    • Posted: August 20, 2019 04:46


      And knowing your tool guy, he's going to make them extra special for you Kim 😉
  • Posted: August 20, 2019 00:22


    Thanks for the tutorial on how to properly cut terracotta pots. I've always been afraid to try but now feel much more confident to give it a whirl. Pinned :) Your terracotta pot tree planters are fabulous! Another alternative than on the fence - I like it. :)
    • Posted: August 20, 2019 04:47


      Thank goodness we have a Dremel. It does make it so much easier to do
  • Posted: August 19, 2019 22:31

    Sam - Raggedy Bits

    I have always wondered how to cut terracotta! And now thanks to your awesome tutorial I now know! Such a fabulous idea to add a little colour to an old tree!
    • Posted: August 20, 2019 14:57


      You're most welcome Sam and have fun cutting your terracotta pots.
  • Posted: August 19, 2019 18:17


    These are absolutely adorable Michelle. I bet your garden must be full of nooks and crannies and so many sweet spots that the fairies hide in and of course it is wonderful for the rest of us to discover. Almost like a garden treasure hunt.
    • Posted: August 20, 2019 04:45


      Ahhhh Mary, thanks for that and our garden is lovely. We're very lucky. I think half the time we forget all the little bits we've added over the years so it's always fun to rediscover some of them 💞

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