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Hyper-tufa pots


From: Alix Peshette (apeshet_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon May 19 2003 - 16:33:55 PDT

I don't know who started the thread about hypertufa pots, but I've been
collecting recipes and info on it. Here's a quick run down on the recipe
and process:

For drainage holes, roll tubes of newspaper and stick through the bottom of
the hypertufa pots. Another article I found suggested using nesting
cardboard boxes as molds, without the garbage bags.

Equal parts of:
-Portland cement
-Sphagnum peat moss
-Mason's sand (or vermiculite for lighter weight containers)
1/4 " screen (for milling peat moss)
a bucket large enough to hold the mixture
a large garbage bag
thick rubber gloves
a wire brush
the mold of your choice (note: you can use a pizza box for stepping stones
or a plastic or terra cotta tray for a birdbath mold. We use a terra cotta
tray in this demo)

Step 1: Mill your moss. Sift it through quarter-inch screen to catch larger
sticks and stems. Toss the larger pieces into your compost.

      Step 2: Wear gloves. Combine equal parts of milled moss and sand until
they are mixed well, then add the cement. Mix thoroughly. Add water as you
would for mixing cement, but a little at a time (while mixing) until all the
materials hold together.

      Step 3: Place a large garbage bag over your mold and add the mixture.
Still wearing the gloves, use your hands to pat it down. If making a
birdbath, shape it so there is a gradual slop from the edge no more than 2
inches deep.

      Step 4: Allow it to cure in a dry, covered space for 8 to 24 hours --
when it's hardened to the point where you can't make an impression by
pressing your finger into it, but a fingernail does make an impression, it's
ready for step 5.

      Step 5: Wearing your rubber gloves, remove it from the mold and the
garbage bag. Soak it well with water, and use the wire brush to weather the
surface. Don't be afraid to really scrub it --this is the process that makes
it look like natural stone.
      Note: If you're making a birdbath, place it on a level surface, fill
it with water and check to see if it's level. If not, use the wire brush to
correct the level by removing some of the mixture on the offending side.

      Step 6: When you're satisfied with look and feel of the piece, allow
it to cure for 6 to 8 weeks in the garden, if you like. If it's a stepping
stone, don't step on it until it's completely cured.