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How to Make Faux Dirt-Pottery Barn Style

April 20, 2011

I know, I know. Making faux dirt sounds ridiculous, but bear with me. It’s really cool! The idea of making fake, I mean faux, dirt came to me as I was perusing my local PB. If you’ve been, I’m sure you’ve seen their faux plants in those little terra cotta pots. They go for about 12 to 15 bucks a piece. Not much for the money, really, considering the quality of the faux plants themselves isn’t really any better than the kind you can buy in a craft store. HOWEVER, the thing that sets these little plants apart and makes them better than your average faux is the ‘dirt’, in my opinion anyway. Which is exactly why I decided to make my own faux dirt. The cool thing about this project is it costs nothing, because I’m guessing you have everything on hand to make it, as I did. Now, on to the tutorial!!!


  • a plastic bowl rescued from the recycle bin
  • any kind of black acrylic paint
  • a craft stick
  • newspaper
  • and the secret ingredient….pencil or saw dust.

Note: The pencil leavings or saw dust should be of the fine variety, not shavings. If you don’t have either of these on hand, I’d suggest taking a zippy to your nearest Lowes or Home Depot and visit the area where they cut wood to size. There should be some saw dust there!

Add a tablespoon or two of black paint. I’d start out with a bit too little than too much and just add as much as needed to coat the dust. I started stirring with the craft stick but found my fingers to be more efficient.

When the dust is coated, flip it out onto a piece of newspaper and let dry.

And there you have it, faux dirt! Wanna see what to do with it?? Follow this jump and we’ll replicate those Pottery Barn plants.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2015 3:17 pm

    Awesome, trying it right now. Thanks!

  2. April 27, 2011 3:13 pm

    This is great! I could totally use this as my attempts with real plants tend to die and fake plants need something to make them appear a little more real.

    • Maven permalink*
      April 27, 2011 6:59 pm

      Glad you like it! Fun to make too–kind of like mud pies. :)


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