Making Hypertufa Pots
So what exactly is Hypertufa (which is pronounced hyper-toofa) Well Hypertufa is the name for an artificial stone. It is used to make a substance similar to the natural volcanic rock called Tufa. Tufa is used to make planting troughs, bird baths, and other things but has become a difficult rock to get.
Hypertufa started being used in the mid 19th century by mixing sand, peat, various volcanic aggregates and cement. It is much lighter than stone or concrete and can withstand cold winter temperatures and blazing summer heat equally well.
Since most Tufa deposits have been depleted the Hypertufa mixture is becoming more and more popular. This mixture also has the advantage that it can be molded and carved into any shape that you want.
1. Wearing rubber gloves and a dust mask to avoid breathing cement dust, mix 3 parts perlite, 3 parts peat moss, and 2 parts Portland cement in a plastic tub. If desired, add cement pigment for color. If making a large pot, add acrylic fibers or chicken wire for strength.
2. Add water to tub, a bit at a time, until the mixture has the consistency of moist cottage cheese.
3. Line Mold with a plastic bag for ease of removal. Placing leaves or sticks around the outside of the mold before putting in the mix will give texture to your pot. Spray inside of mold with cooking oil. Push a handful of wet hypertufa mixture firmly against the bottom of the mold. Repeat until you have made a bottom base that is approximately 1 inch thick. Push handfuls of wet hypertufa mixture firmly against the sides of container approximately 3/4 inches in thickness. Continue until rim of mold is reached. Press bottom and sides firmly to remove air pockets.
4. Create drainage hole by pushing finger or small dowell through the bottom of mold so that it penetrates the hypertufa mixture.
5. Cover with plastic bag, let dry for about 48 hours, depending on the weather.
6. Take off plastic bag and remove pot from mold (pot with be slightly wet). Handle with both hands to assure you don’t break the pot. Using a wire brush, stick or sandpaper, rough up the surface of the hypertufa for a more rustic appearance. Let sit for 2 to 3 weeks to dry completely.