There are several ways to make hypertufa for garden projects and art. My recipe calls for:
- a bag of Portland Cement (which is readily available at Home Depot for around $12 and will make many projects),
- 2 parts
- Peat Moss (which is found in the garden center for around $14), and either
- 1 part
- Vermiculite (a small bag runs about $6)
- 1 part
- or Sand(which runs about $4).
- 1 part
- couple gallons of water (or hose)
Note: 2 parts means 2 cups/buckets/container to 1 cup/bucket/container of vermiculite and 1 cup/bucket/container of peat moss
You will also need:
- a large tub or cement trough for mixing the concrete
- shovel and tools for mixing
- optional but very helpful a corded power drill and a heavy duty paint mixer
- rubber gloves, eye protection, and face mask
- spray oil such as cooking spray or WD40
- molds for your project (which can be pie tins, plastic containers, plant pots, anything that can hold the hypertufa mix)
Start by measuring out your ingredients and put in the big mixing bucket or trough. Add about 1/2 gallon of the water and start mixing and add water to help mix the ingredients together. Peat Moss soaks up the water quickly so you will keep adding about 1/2 gallon at a time until the mixture starts to get like peanut butter. If you use sand, the hypertufa will be heavier and more like concrete mix. If you use the vermiculite, you will see the white specs in your mix and in the finished product which will make the project a bit lighter than concrete.
Hypertufa starts to dry up quickly so if you get too much water and it is too runny just let it sit and stir it every 5 minutes until you get it back to a thick batter like consistency. If that doesn’t work, just add small amounts of Portland cement, Peat, and Vermiculite.
Spray your molds and shovel or use your GLOVED hand to scoop the hyertufa into the containers carefully patting the mixture to release any air bubbles and smooth it out. You will need to keep patting and pushing the hypertufa in the molds/containers especially if you are making a planter. I usually fill the large container first halfway then see how far in the 2nd smaller container goes and work the hypertufa so it fills any gaps between the large and small molds. Make sure to get the hypertufa compact to make a stronger project.
Make sure your surface is level and place the hypertufa projects in the shade for 18-24 hours before carefully removing the hypertufa from the molds. After removing and releasing the molds from your hypertufa, place the pieces in the shade to cure for the next 2 weeks. I would not step on any stepping stones for at least a month and do not let the hypertufa sit in the sun until is fully cured (dried).
If you are going to make a planter or trough with the hypertufa, you have to let the hypertufa cure for a month. Do not immediately plant in the trough and you may want to look up “leaching your hypertufa planter” on the internet if you are too anxious to plant it.
Thanks for stopping by and have fun creating in the garden!
Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!
2016-17 copyrighted material C Renee Cumberworth
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