Upcycled Terracotta Wine Cooler Valentine Vase

Remember these? We've had this vintage terracotta wine cooler for over thirty years and I don't think we've ever used it. Since packing away Christmas I've been in organizing mode. Time to declutter and find a new purpose for it.

The orange clay doesn't work in our home so leaving it that color would mean yet again, it wouldn't get used. So instead I took that rather plain-looking vessel, embellished it with some heart love, and turned it into a romantic upcycled terracotta wine cooler valentine vase that can be enjoyed year-round.

How to turn a vintage terracotta wine cooler from Italy into a romantic hand painted valentine vase with DIY raised stencil lock heart embellishments.

Upcycled Terracotta Wine Chiller Valentine Vase

This is such an easy way to update those old clay wine chillers and give them a new purpose. And the secret ingredient for the transformation?

Drywall spackle!

How to turn a vintage terracotta wine cooler from Italy into a romantic hand painted valentine vase with DIY raised stencil lock heart embellishments.

We are in the midst of replicating the main floor bathroom makeover that we did last year, in our master bathroom. So while the drywall compound was open, I scooped up some of that white magic to embellish our old wine chiller for Valentine's day.

It's the perfect chalky compound to create a raised stencil on porous clay. Then when you paint the clay with chalk paint, it gives it a lovely matte timeworn patina.

Here's what our vintage terracotta wine cooler looked like before the makeover.

A vintage terracotta wine cooler made in Italy BEFORE upcycled into a valentine vase.

And here it is again after the makeover paired with the ombre wood bead garland I made last year for Valentine's Day. I think this pretty love lock vase would be so pretty for wedding decor or a bridal shower too.

How to turn a vintage terracotta wine cooler from Italy into a romantic hand painted valentine vase with DIY raised stencil lock heart embellishments.

What You'll Need To Make It

Pictured below are the supplies I used to embellish the clay wine cooler, minus the doilies.

Supplies used to turn a vintage terracotta wine cooler into a romantic valentine vase.

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Supply List

Terracotta Wine Cooler (had on hand)
Drywall Spackle
Putty Knife
Heart Stencil (alternatives)
Painter's Tape
220-Grit Sandpaper
White Chalk Paint
Rose Gold Gilding Wax (optional)
E6000 Glue

Here's How I Made It

The first thing I did was use the drywall spackle to cover the etched wine cooler label and add a raised stencil to the clay vessel. So let's get started. 

Adding Raised Stencil Details

I used painter's tape to attach the love lock stencil onto the clay wine chiller. Instead of stenciling with paint, I stenciled the heart with a small putty knife and drywall spackle. Much like I did on Mom's favorite chair with embossing plaster.

I used a generous amount of spackle so the stencil detail is raised and then carefully lifted the stencil and let it dry. Then I repeated the stencil on the opposite side of the wine cooler.

Adding raised stencil details onto a terracotta wine cooler with drywall spackle.

I also covered the etched wine cooler labels on both sides with the drywall spackle.

Covering the etched label on a vintage terracotta wine cooler with drywall spackle.

Adding Texture Around The Rim

This is where the doilies pictured in the supply list photo were supposed to come in. The plan was to add drywall spackle around the rim and then press the doilies onto the wet compound to imprint the lace pattern. FAIL!

So instead I took a rounded tip pallet knife and imprinted a free-form pattern around the rim to give it a handcrafted touch. You could use anything to imprint a pattern like a round or square dowel for stripes, embossing stamp shapes, or letter stamps to spell the word LOVE.

Using drywall spackle to create a handcrafted raised rim along a repurposed terracotta wine cooler.

So many possibilities! I also continued the random free-form pattern along the rim of the clay saucer (more about the saucer later).

Adding embellishments to a terracotta wine cooler with drywall spackle.

I left the drywall compound to dry overnight and in the morning I carefully knocked it back to smooth out the ridges a bit with 220-grit sandpaper.

Sanding raised drywall spackle details on an upcycled terracotta wine cooler smooth before painting.

Whitewashed Paint Finish

I handpainted the terracotta vase with a whitewash much like how I transformed our outdoor terracotta flower pots on our deck. This gives the clay vessel a lovely time-worn matte finish with French Country style charm.

To do this you dilute chalk paint in a small container with a 1:1 ratio of paint and water. All I had on hand was a can of Behr Chalk Decorative Paint in the color tin white and a jar of Dixie Belle Company buttercream paint. One was too white and the other too creamy so I made a lovely custom vintage white paint color.

Mixing cool white and buttercream chalk style paint to make a vintage white color to paint an upcycled terracotta wine cooler.

For the custom color, I mixed 1 level teaspoon of buttercream with one heaping teaspoon of tin white and then diluted the paint with two teaspoons of water.

With an inexpensive chip brush, I brushed one light coat of paint to hide the terracotta color both on the inside and outside of the vase. While the paint was still wet I took my handy misting bottle to lightly spray the paint and brushed it again for even paint distribution.

Brushing a whitewash paint patina on a terracotta wine cooler makeover.

While I was at it, I painted the inside and outside edges and the outside bottom of the clay saucer.

Once the paint was dry (around 15-20 minutes) I randomly brushed the second coat of paint in a criss-cross pattern where the orange color was still peeking through. I let the second coat dry around 20-30 minutes before moving on to the next step.

Rose Gold Highlights

This step is completely optional but I wanted to highlight the raised free-form details on the valentine vase. To do this I added a very subtle rose gold furniture wax from Fusion Paint Company that I had on hand, applied with my fingers then removed the excess with a lint-free rag.

Adding rose gold furniture wax highlights to DIY raised details on an upcycled terracotta wine cooler.

Attaching Clay Saucer

Last but not least, I attached the clay saucer to the bottom of the painted terracotta wine cooler with E6000 glue. I didn't realize the terracotta wine cooler was made in Italy until painting the saucer. 

Glueing terracotta sauce to a terracotta wine cooler upcycled into a vase.

I didn't protect the paint on the outside with clear wax or a clear sealer because I want the rough texture reminiscent of a handpainted artisan earthenware vase. But you could protect the paint with a water-based sealer.

However, it's a good idea to seal the inside with a clear water barrier sealer. Alternatively, you could insert an inexpensive glass cylinder from the dollar store inside the vase (which is what I did). So what do you think?

How to turn a vintage terracotta wine cooler from Italy into a romantic hand painted valentine vase with DIY raised stencil lock heart embellishments.

You may be wondering why I would choose Gerber daisies for a valentine bouquet instead of traditional roses.

With the supply chain issues these days this was the best I could get for red or pink flowers at our local grocery store. I'm not venturing too far these days with the recent outbreak. Red Gerber daisies are pretty for valentine's day too, right?

Thanks for stopping by the Interior Frugalista today! I hope you were inspired by this terracotta wine cooler upcycle.

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How to turn a vintage terracotta wine cooler from Italy into a romantic hand painted valentine vase with DIY raised stencil lock heart embellishments. #valentinevaseideas #terracottawinecooler #terracottawedding

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  1. Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Paula! I'm happy to FINALLY, after thirty years, be using the wine cooler.

  2. That's a crazy good makeover, Marie! I've seen them in thrift stores, but always passed them by. Not anymore! Love the flowers,too! Great pop of color!

    1. I'm thrilled you think so, Kim, thank you! I'm happy to finally have our now vintage wine cooler out of the cupboard and on display. Oh how pink roses would have been lovely...for the vase and ME. 😉🌹

  3. I love this! I have a couple of those that I never use so they may need a makeover too. Thanks for sharing!

    1. You're welcome Virginia! Glad you may have found inspiration for your wine chillers too.

  4. This turned out so good Marie! I have to be honest, I don't think in all my years of thrifting and yard sales that I've ever seen a wine cooler like this!

    1. Thank you Tania! Really? I'm sure a lot of them got broken over the years but I do come across them every once in awhile at our thrift stores. They were so popular back in the 80s.

  5. Great repurpose and makeover Marie! I love the finish you gave the wine cooler, and the red flowers look amazing in it too.

    1. Thank you so much Tuula! Those red Gerber daisies are still going strong - much longer than had they been roses.

  6. Oh my gosh! That turned out so cute Marie! I have one of those in a garage sale box downstairs. I'm going now to pull it out! Your tutorials are always so easy to follow too. I could never come up with the ideas like you do but you make me think I can copy yours and it will turn out at least! Thank you and have a great week!

    1. Thank you so much, Denise, you made my Sunday with your sweet comment! I hope you have some drywall compound stencil fun with your wine cooler so it can come out of hiding like mine too.

  7. The upcycle looks lovely, Marie! I've never seen those terra cotta wine coolers. Your new look for it is great. I love the detailed step by step tutorial. The daisies are lovely for Valentine's Day.

    1. Thank you Beverly, I'm glad you like it! Those lovely red daisies are still going strong.

  8. Very cute and great upcycle Marie! Love the key!

  9. Great upcycle, Marie. The edges you did by hand have that free form look that is popular. Adding the beads and those red flowers really is eye-catching!

  10. We have one of those things too and I have absolutely no idea why, since we don't drink wine and it's kind of a waste for a beer bottle :D I'm going to have to wipe off years of dust and probably a spider's web or seven and play around. Thanks for the great idea, Marie. Pinned

    1. Woot woot, I'm happy to hear you have one of these old wine coolers too. I hope you do play around with yours to give it a new purpose so it will finally get used like ours.

  11. Marie you are so creative and talented girl. This is amazing makeover. Love it. Happy Sunday have a great new week. Stay warm. xoxo Kris

    1. You are very sweet, thank you Kris! Wishing you a happy Sunday as well. xoxo

  12. Marie, you have the best upcycled projects! The vase turned out so pretty and I love the addition of the little key! I'm excited to feature your post this week at our Tuesday Turn About Link Party. Hope to see you there!

    1. You are so sweet, thank you very much Michelle. Both for your lovely comment and the feature! xo

  13. This is another great upcycle. You're on a roll. Love using joint compound with stencils.

    1. Thank you so much, Cindy, this was a fun upcycle. Drywall compound for the win!

  14. Marie,
    Wow, you are amazing. I love this upcycle. Congratulations, you are being featured on Thursday Favorite Things. I hope to see you there. https://www.eclecticredbarn.com/2022/01/thursday-favorite-things.html

    1. Awe, thank you so much Bev and I'm thrilled about the feature! xo

  15. I love the Valentine makeover you gave the clay wine cooler.
    Happy Valentine's Day,


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