Project:  Sunflower Watering Can

Created by Debra Mills, Helping Artist

Helping Artist Debra Mills began specializing in decorative painting in 2000 after a long background in fine art. An art major in high school and college, Mills studied with renowned artists through the Toledo Artist Club. She developed an interest in decorative painting following a Heart of Ohio Tole chapter convention and joined the Society of Decorative Painters and a local SDP chapter. Since then, she has continued to grow her passion as a decorative painter, designer, and teacher. Mills teaches decorative painting and holds painting parties at her retail studio, Stroke of Art, and has been published in several trade magazines. Publishing a painting book, she says, is her next adventure. Mills can be reached at or through her Website

Mills’ design for Helping Artist is this colorful, yet practical, watering can, abloom with sunny sunflowers and loads of Traditions Artist Acrylic colors.

DecoArt supplies

Traditions Artist Acrylics

  • DAT02 Naphthol Red
  • DAT12 Yellow Oxide
  • DAT14 Hansa Yellow
  • DAT18 Chrome Green Hue
  • DAT22 Phthalo Green-Yellow
  • DAT27 Sapphire Blue
  • DAT35 Titanium White
  • DAT36 Warm White
  • DAT37 Medium White
  • DAT42 Carbon Black
  • DAT44 Burnt Sienna
  • DAT45 Raw Umber
  • DAT59 Sap Green

Traditions Mediums

  • DATM07 Light Primer

Sealers / Finishes

  • DAS12 Americana Gloss Spray Sealer

Additional supplies


  • Metal watering can


  • Water container
  • Paper towels
  • #10/0 liner brush
  • #4 and #6 round brush
  • #2 and #4 flat brushes
  • #6 and #8 filbert brushes
  • #6 chisel blender
  • Transfer graphite paper
  • Ruler
  • Painter’s tape
  • Stylus


  1. Mask off center 6″ all around watering can. Basecoat center area with one coat of Light Primer and followed by one coat of Titanium White.
  2. Mark 1″ sections across top and bottom of painted area. Join dots diagonally first in one direction then repeat in opposite direction to form background grid.
  3. Mark off ¼” band on top and bottom of inside painted panel. Transfer sunflower pattern all around watering can to fit, changing direction of sunflower and leaves to fit piece.


Note: Allow to dry between steps.

  1. Basecoat every other diamond shape of background in Sapphire Blue and opposing diamond in Warm White. (Do not paint into traced sunflower pattern.)
  2. Basecoat inside ¼” band Medium White. With script liner brush and thinned Titanium White, make thin cross hatch lines inside bands, then outline each side of band with Titanium White.
  3. Basecoat all leaves Chrome Green Hue.
  4. Using filbert and blender brushes, add Sap Green into dark areas of leaf to form shadow and depth. Make vanes with Sap Green and script liner brush. Go back and highlight edges and vanes of leaves with Phthalo Green-Yellow.
  5. Basecoat sunflower centers Raw Umber, then float Carbon Black around edges and into center. Use chisel blender to dry brush Burnt Sienna around Carbon Black center of flower. Highlight edges of Burnt Sienna with Yellow Oxide.
  6. Working each petal separately, basecoat each Hansa Yellow. Shade from bottom of petal out to tip with small amount of Raw Umber mixed into Hansa Yellow. Highlight tip of each petal with Hansa Yellow. Using liner brush, make thin lines of Burnt Sienna pulling from bottom of petal toward top.
  7. To create ladybugs, paint small dots of Naphthol Red on leaves and petals. Paint small dot for head and line down center of back with Carbon Black. Dip dot Carbon Black dots on backs of ladybugs.
  8. Using thinned Sap Green and liner brush, make curly vine lines around flowers and leaves. Repeat with Carbon Black curly lines.
  9. Dip dot Hansa Yellow, Burnt Sienna, and Titanium White in center of flowers.
  10. Dip dot Titanium White into bands on top and bottom of design.
  11. Using very thinned Raw Umber and flat brush, shade around one side of petals and leaves.
  12. Spray finished peace with Americana Gloss Spray Sealer.


Click on the pattern below to view it full-size for printing.