First thing first - what exactly is Hypertufa? Hypertufa is an artificial stone intended as a substitute for natural Tufa rock. Natural Tufa rock is a porous cellular rock found in limestone rich areas and has for centuries been hollowed out and carved for sinks, bath tubs, animal troughs, planters, decorative stepping stones and so on. So in short, hypertufa is a man-made rock-like tufa resembling material that can be used for relatively inexpensive garden ornaments. Hypertufa creations are very durable and will last many years with no care. Basic hypertufa recipe ingredients are varying combinations of Portland cement, peat moss, sand, perlite, or vermiculite, and water. To improve strenght you can add fiberglass fibers or an acrylic hardener to the mix.
Dyes are also available to add color if desired. Hypertufa without dye dries to a greyish color similar to normal cement. Dyes come in liquid form and are added to the water mixed with the hypertufa. Hypertufa can be cast into a variety of shapes which, when dry, can resemble ancient stone or aged concrete. It's relatively easy and a lot of fun to make.
There are a number of different recipes to produce hypertufa. Which will you choose depends on what end result you are desiring - Lightweight? More durable? Want to carve it?.and so on. Hypertufa offers almost limitless possibilities of garden ornaments that can be made. You are limited only by your imagination. Before you start your own Hypertufa projects let me warn you that this can be quite a messy business.
It can be messy, sure, but it can also be a lot of fun. You will feel like a child making mud pies. Believe me, it's fun! Materials you will need to start your own Hypertufa projects include: peat moss, portland cement, sand, vermiculite or perlite, water, chicken wire for large creations (for reinforcement) and some tools like rubber gloves, mixing tub or wheelbarrow, wire brush, wooden dowel and so on.
Nothing fancy. A word of advice: Start small, try a rock, a simple bowl or a trough before moving to more complex creations. When choosing a mold, keep in mind the plants you will be planting.
Some ready-made mold choices that are acceptable for some hypetufa project include: cardboard boxes, styrofoam ice-chests, plastic containers, plastic dish pans and so on. The possibilities are endless. Before you send any container to the trash, consider its hypertufa potential. You can also make your own molds with materials such as wood, polystyrene foam (used for house insulation) or styrofoam. Making Hypertufa is nothing risky or dangerous as long as you follow some basic safety procedures: wear a dust mask when mixing the dry ingredients, work in a well-ventilated area, wear rubber gloves and off course always apply a bit of common sense.
To get more information about Hypertufa and to learn how to create beautiful hypertufa garden objects visit - Hypertufa Garden Art blog.