Made some hypertufa pots--what about you?

grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)March 15, 2010

Hi everyone,

Just for fun, I made some hypertufa pots awhile ago and thought I'd share a few pics. It was really very easy, quick and fun. Basically it was a mix of 1:1:1 of portland cement, perlite, and peatmoss mixed together with some water until it was cottage-cheese consistency, and then put in some molds (thank you Goodwill!) and then cured/dried.

Below are just a few pics I took but I thought some folks might be curious or want to see. For some reason the process always sounded more complicated than it was. I really enjoyed doing it. Martha Stewart's magazine suggested using baskets as the outer "mold" so I did that for some of them and the texture is sort of interesting.

I hope you'll take a look and enjoy. I can see why people get addicted to this stuff.

Hypertufa supplies

Hypertufa in "molds" hardening (aunty Martha (Stewart) suggested using baskets as the outer molds to add texture to the pots).

Hypertufa recently un-molded, drying overnight before being "cured" or hardened with plenty of water and sealed plastic bags to keep them moist/wet for a few weeks.

A closer view of a textured pot drying for a day before being cured/hardened:

Close view of one low pot with textured sides.

One of several (okay, too many!) pots finally with some plants after the pots hardened and then were left out in the rain and occasional rinse water for several weeks. This pot is very smooth and sort of modern as I made it with smooth plastic bowls.

Another pot with some plants. This pot is deliberately rustic and chunky and has textured edges due to being made in a cheap basket.

If you make them too, please share your techniques, successes and failures. As a backup, I put a link below to the photo album with all the pics in case you have trouble seeing the embedded pics.

Take care,


Here is a link that might be useful: Link to my hyptertufa pot pics

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arizonny(z9 Tempe)

Well...aren't you clever!! Can you re-use your 'mold' baskets or is it a one shot deal? Did you put drainage holes in the bottoms?

Thanks for sharing your success!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 9:23PM
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greenlust(z9 Phx,AZ)

Looks great. Nice job, thanks for sharing. Have to try it someday.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 11:46PM
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How do you get them out of the baskets?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 3:18PM
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arizonny(z9 Tempe)

Spray the baskets with Pam silly!! No, I have no idea but I hope Grant posts back because we need some more detail.

Looks like a fun project.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 9:34PM
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Hey Grant sorry I have been soo busy not to respond to many of your posts I do read them all.
I happen to have all the ing to make those pots...
although the cement mix has rocks in it and all you have to do is add h2o. will that do or do you need just the powder cement?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 11:23PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Hi everyone,

Thanks for looking/commenting, I really appreciate it. It really was a fun, easy project.

Let's see, you can re-use the smooth molds (bowls etc) but not the baskets. Because of the basket weave, the hypertufa extends into the basket battern a bit so the outer basket needs to be cut away with pruners or a heavy duty pair of scissors. I just snipped a vertical line down the outer basket and then sort of ripped-open the outer basket shell to "free" the pot. The hypertufa was hard enough by then to not get highly marked by my snipping, but still soft enough (day #1) to let the basket go. It's much easier and quicker (and more re-usable) to use heavy, durable bowls, metal especially, but you get a different finish.

I picked up the bowls and baskets at Goodwill for like a dollar each by the way. It was fun. I always also pick up some old silverware there too for potting work--forks, spoons, butter knives and even sharp bread knives come in very handy around the potting bench.

I did spray the bowls with no-stick vegetable spray and then definitely helped them pop out. Having that nice big drop cloth (semi-disposable packing blanket actually) helped contain the mess.

The recipe calls for portland *cement*, not concrete-with-rocks, so you could try concrete with rocks in it, but I used the recommended portland cement which you can just buy at any large hardware store.

I'm looking forward to my next batch of pots and to seeing what other sorts of goodies we all could make from this stuff. It's fun and very easy so give it a try and post your results.

Below is a link to the online version of the how-to article from Martha Stewart's March (maybe Feb) article.

Thanks again for the nice replies.
Take care,

Here is a link that might be useful: Hypertufa how-to from Martha Stewart

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 5:29PM
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The pots look pretty nice! Are they very heavy?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 1:04PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Thanks! No, the pots are not heavy at all. Since they are one-third perlite and one-third peat moss they are very light indeed. I can see how folks get addicted to making things with this stuff.

Oh, by the way, I didn't put drainage holes in these, but you can easily do it with a small cylinder at the base of the outer mold, or you can cut one when the pots are dry using a made-for-ceramic drill bit. I'll be extra careful to not be too generous with the watering can!

Take care all,

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 4:14PM
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I plan to use some baskets for molds. I was thinking if a person wanted to reuse a certain basket, it would have to be one that could be cut (in half) & wrap/taped before using.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 10:23PM
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Thank you grant_in_arizona. This is something I'm sure I will use in the next few months.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 10:49PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Thanks! It was (and still is) a fun project. As you can see above, I planted the pots right after they were made/cured. Everything has done really well.

Here are some pics of some of the pots from this month, about a year after making/planting them (they're in my March 2011 album which I'll put in the link section below just in case the embedded pics don't work for some folks).

Post yours if you make some. They really are easy and neat.
Take care,

Here is a link that might be useful: Grant's March 2011 garden pics

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 9:56AM
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agility_mom(z9 AZ)

They look really good. I am wondering if you could make some big pots using this method. Big pots are so expensive. If I can figure out what to use for big molds, I'll try it.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 1:10PM
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I like your pots and your yard is amazing. You have such a variety of unique and interesting plants that provide so much color throughout most of the year. I am sure that it takes a lot of work, but your efforts have certainly paid off. Your neighbors must be envious. Great job!


    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 11:50AM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Thanks! It was actually sort of fun scouting around for the containers to use as molds. Agility, I bet Goodwill or the 99c store, or even garage sales, will provide some good molds. I've seen several nice, large plastic tubs that would be great.

Dlg, thanks for the nice comments on the yard and plants. I do try. I just wish I wasn't so fickle with my plans, LOL.

Take care,

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 4:41PM
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