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How to Seal Clay Pots for Birdbaths

Katherine Kally

Use clay pots as the building blocks for a handmade birdbath. Arrange the pots in different ways to create the birdbath stand, and then use a clay pot saucer as the drinking well. Hold the water for the birds and make painting easier by sealing the clay pots to make the surface less porous. Use special sealers and paints designed for clay pots; select the material that best suits your birdbath design.

If properly sealed, clay planters make sturdy and decorative birdbaths.
  1. Sand the inside and outside of the clay pots and clay saucer lightly with light-grade sandpaper. The sandpaper will remove any raised spots on the clay. Remove the sanding debris with a soft cloth.

  2. Clean the same areas with a damp cloth. Let the clay dry completely.

  3. Seal the inside and outside of the clay pots and both sides of the clay saucer with a coat of exterior polyurethane or terra cotta sealer. If you are painting the outside of the pots, it is not necessary to seal them first. Allow the sealer to dry and apply a second coat to the same areas. Let the second coat dry completely.

  4. Paint both sides of the saucer and the outside of the clay pots with patio paint. Patio paint contains a sealer sufficient for sealing the outside of the clay pots. The saucer will hold water, so adding an extra two layers of polyurethane sealer to the patio paint works best. Allow the paint to dry.

  5. Apply a coat of exterior polyurethane over the painted areas of the clay saucer. If you prefer a glossy finish on the clay pots, apply a coat of exterior polyurethane as well. Allow the finish to dry completely before arranging the birdbath.