An Easy Update To An 80's Clay Mexican Fruit Bowl

Today I'm sharing how quick and easy it is to breathe new life into dated clay decor with paint. I'm demonstrating with an update to an 80s clay Mexican fruit bowl found at Goodwill. I could see the potential for this unique and heavy fruit bowl to be refreshed into a gorgeous piece that would fit with any decor.

So I set out to upcycle the fruit bowl with a lovely matte finish with the intention of selling it. But to my surprise, when I was finished less than an hour later, I fell in love with the fresh new look and decided to keep it for our home instead.

How to update a clay fruit bowl from Mexico with just a little paint,

Quick And Easy Clay Mexican Fruit Bowl Update

To see where I started, pictured below is what the clay Mexican fruit bowl looked like before the makeover.

1980s Clay Mexican Fruit Bowl before makeover.

My initial thought was to paint it white and distress a little to show some of the colors underneath. I barely got the apple finished when I decided to scrap that idea.

Onto Plan B, making the clay fruit bowl look like concrete or stone instead. Very fitting considering the weight of this piece.

A Clay Mexican Fruit Bowl makeover with grey and white chalk-style paint.

With just a little chalk-style paint, here is the Mexican fruit bowl after the makeover. Big difference, right?

A white and grey wash paint finish to update an 80s clay Mexican fruit bowl.

What You'll Need To Make It

For the clay Mexican fruit bowl makeover, the paint I'm using is from Country Chic Paint.

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend for this project. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from any qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

Supply List

Simplicity White Paint
Hurricane Gray Paint
Natural Clear Wax
Round Wax Brush

Can you spray paint a clay fruit bowl?

If you'd like to retain the porous matte texture of the clay, my suggestion would be to use water-based chalk-style paint. You can get it in chalked spray paint that comes in numerous colors and dries to a lovely matte finish. Otherwise use chalk-type paint applied with a brush like I did.

How To Give A Clay Mexican Fruit Bowl A Makeover

To give the clay fruit bowl a makeover we'll only need two paint colors. One for the base coat to cover the original colors. The second is a contrasting color that will highlight the details on the bowl and fruit with a dry brush paint technique.

Painting Clay Mexican Fruit Bowl

To cover the original patina of the clay Mexican fruit bowl, I thinned some white chalk-style paint with water to a milk-like consistency. It only took one coat of white paint to cover the original colors. I made sure the paint nestled into the ridges on the rope detail along the edge of the fruit bowl.

A Clay Mexican Fruit Bowl after a whitewash of chalk paint.

It never ceases to amaze me how white paint can completely transform dated decor like this Mexican clay fruit bowl from the 1980s!

Highlight Clay Fruit Bowl Details With Dry Brush Paint Technique

Once the white base coat was dry, I dipped just the tip of my brush into Hurricane (a charcoal grey color) chalk-style paint and offloaded the excess onto a paper towel. The key is to have very little paint on the brush, hence the term dry brush paint technique.

With little pressure, swipe the brush over the raised details with random brush strokes. Let the brush land where it may for the best results. You can see in the photo below how the gray paint highlights the details on the clay fruit and the bowl.

A stone-like finish to an 80's Clay Mexican Fruit Bowl

See how all those lovely details now pop! Now instead of clay, it looks more like a concrete fruit bowl.

A faux concrete paint finish on a Clay Mexican Fruit Bowl upcycled.

I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, so much so that I'm thinking about keeping them to display in our recent dining room makeover. I think they add a nice touch to our Duncan Phyfe dining table.

White and grey chalk paint updated an 80's Clay Mexican Fruit Bowl.

Which is your preference, the clay fruit bowl before the makeover or after?

Stone-like finish on Clay Mexican Fruit Bowl Update with paint.

Thanks for stopping by the Interior Frugalista today! I hope you were inspired by this clay Mexican fruit bowl makeover.

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An 80's Clay Mexican Fruit Bowl update with chalk paint.

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  1. Fabulous; I much prefer the after! It doesn't surprise me you kept it; I would've too :)

    1. Thank you so much! It still, after all these years of upcycling furniture and decor, never ceases to amaze me the transformative power of white paint.

  2. If I didn't see the before and step-by-step I would never have believed those weren't concrete. They look like a some high-end decor item now. Beautifully done, Marie

    1. You're so sweet Michelle, thank you very much! Gotta love what a little paint will do to transform dated decor.


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