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|Terra Cotta Flower Pot Bird Bath.|
Your best bet for decorating terra cotta that will be used outdoors is Patio Paints. I know they are a little pricey, but they are fade resistant, non-toxic and designed for outdoor use. Patio Paints also make a clear, non-toxic sealant that will protect your handiwork.
Another option for protecting your work would be a water-based polyurethane. Read the instruction label and look for soap and water clean-up, and a product that is meant for use over painted surfaces. I don't recommend oil-based polyurethane for painted surfaces. It is yellowish in color and over time it will cause your work to have a yellow tinted appearance. Whatever you choose, remember it won't be permanent. Your bird bath will likely require refinishing and touching up every other year. After all, it will be outside in the elements!
For the saucer of your bird bath, try to find a waterproof type that won't require any treatment inside the bowl, (where the water will go). For the outside, Patio Paints are again preferred.
HOW TO DO IT: