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Hypertufa is a lightweight material similar to stone. It is made by mixing various amounts of Portland cement and sand with peat moss, perlite, and water. Hypertufa is easy to make and there are numerous recipes available, both online and off, that can be used for a myriad of projects. Most of these projects relate to gardening in some way. Hypertufa is great for making stepping stones, garden ornaments, planting troughs, sculptures, and more.
Since this stone-like material is porous, it also makes an excellent choice for use as planters. Hypertufa resists cracking in freezing weather, making it durable with respect to the outdoor elements. In fact, over time this material will even take on an attractive aged appearance, which is perfect for adding character and charm to garden settings. Hypertufa objects can be hand sculpted or formed from molds.
Molds can include nearly type of item, depending on the project and purpose. For instance, shallow pans make excellent molds for creating stepping stones. Cardboard boxes and various containers can be used for making hypertufa pots and planters. For additional interest, this material can be colored or painted to match a particular color scheme.
In addition, mosaic pieces, seashells and other small items can be added for a more personal touch. Since hypertufa bonds quickly to some materials, such as clay or terracotta, it’s a good idea to line molds with plastic wrap. Alternatively, Vaseline®, cooking spray, or mineral oil can be used. As objects become stronger the longer they’re left to cure, completing projects in fall for use the following spring will ensure more durability. However, these projects can be done anytime throughout the year.
The most basic hypertufa recipe includes mixing one part premixed Portland cement and sand with one part peat moss and one part perlite, adding water until the mixture is firm but squishy. Apply the mixture to the outside of the mold, keeping it about an inch and a half thick (3.81 cm). Add drainage holes to planters before leaving them to cure.
Cover the object with a garbage bag and seal tightly. Place this in a sunny location to cure for about 3-5 days. Remove the object from the bag at this time and carefully pull it from the mold. It should come off easily; otherwise, leave it to cure longer. Put the hypertufa object back into the bag and reseal, leaving it for another week or more. Likewise, the object can be left to cure over winter or until ready to use.