How-To Make a Hypertufa Planter, Trough and Sculpture!


It is easy to create your own hypertufa pots, troughs and sculptures using these simple recipes and instructions.

WHAT IS HYPERTUFA? Hypertufa is a lightweight stone material created to mimic the look of porous limestone or volcanic rock. Once cured, it is much lighter than cement or even terracotta. Over time, the natural materials in the mix will degrade and you’ll be left with pits and an aged look that lends itself well to applications of moss. Hypertufa works well in old world design motifs as well as modern scenarios using abstract shapes. There are many recipes for hypertufa and in this video you’ll find two that work great for planters and for sculpture. See how I made a giant sculpture for our elementary school using hypertufa.

WHERE TO USE IT? Enhance your garden, patio or front entrance. Don’t just think of it as an outdoor design material. Use it on the inside to create decorative bowls (not food safe), sculpture and even table tops! I’ll be making more hypertufa creations and sharing them with you soon!

PERLITE OR VERMICULITE? Use perlite for pots and vermiculite for sculpture. Perlite is commonly used to improve air flow and drainage in potting and gardening soils. It’s a porous, volcanic, round, white rock. It does not absorb water. Vermiculite resembles mica in appearance. It is crushed and heated aluminium-iron-magnesium silica. The typical vermiculite you acquire from a garden center will have a particle size smaller than perlite and the flake-like nature of vermiculite will make your hypertufa mix, block or scupture shape easier to carve and shape than perlite. Vermiculite acts like a sponge and will absorb water. This is important because your sculpture will be heavy until is thoroughly dried out. It will take longer to cure and dry. Keep this in mind if you will be moving a large sculpture like the one in this video.

WHERE IS THE SCULPTURE? The sculpture was donated to Las Posas Elementary School in Camarillo, California.

FUN FOR FRIENDS:This is a great activity to do with a friend. Wear thick, long waterproof gloves to protect your skin. Wear eye protection.

WITH CHILDREN AND IMPORTANT WARNINGS: If you want to make hypertufa pots or sculptures with kids, adults should mix up the slurry first. Make sure hands are always protected with thick, long, waterproof gloves. Do not let your children work with this stuff bare-handed. Do not allow children to breathe in cement dust. Adults, recommend you always wear a dust mask to protect your lungs. I would also suggest eye protection for some children. 🙂

PORTLAND CEMENT: Make sure to use Portland Cement. It does not have rocks in it like regular cement.

LARGE PLANTERS: For larger planters, use a fiberglass additive. I’ll make a video for large containers soon.


2 Comments

  1. hi I love your tutorial!!! I loved your gigant snail! I want to make the butterfly life cycle using hypertufa. Well I hope so haha! My questions is if after the sculptures are cure, can I paint them with acrilic paints? Thanks a lot!!!

    • Hi! Yes you can paint the objects with acrylic paint. I would protect the paint with marine varnish or some other type of coating to reduce fading if the objects will be in the sun. If they are not in the sun much, you can leave them as is. Great idea to create the butterfly life cycle. That would look amazing in a garden area or yard. I can imagine it attached to a large tree trunk or maybe hanging off branches (out of range of heads). Good luck with that. Would love to see a pic of the final product. I’m sorry I didn’t notice this comment earlier!

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