What can be used as hypertufa molds?
Well, the answer to this question is …just about anything. If you like the shape or the texture of the object, then you can try it.
Some rules apply:
1. Don’t try one that is just too big to handle. Obviously, the bigger the mold is, the bigger your planter will be. But remember, you will be filling it full of potting soil and plants, and must be able to move it . ( and if you are like me, move it again and again til it’s just right) So keep in mind what the weight of the finished product may be as far as portability.
2. The top of the containers you will use as a hypertufa molds must have a larger opening than the bottom. In other words, it has to come out easily. If it is a curved urn-like shape, with that “neck”, then the tufa will not come out after it has cured. It is best to have shapes where the insides will just fall out when you turn it upside down.
3. The material that the hypertufa molds are made of should be non-stick-able. In other words, the hypertufa mix is best used in something hard/smooth so that it will be the easiest for it to “release.”
YOU WILL USE A MOLD RELEASE AGENT, SUCH AS NON-STICK COOKING SPRAY ALONG WITH PLASTIC WRAP OR LINER OR SHOPPING BAG, ETC
NOTE –I have NOT had good luck with metal containers. I used a roaster plan once, all sprayed and even lined with plastic bag. It would have been so perfect. Nice size etc. But the sides were “straight up and down” which is your first warning! Needless to say, all my work was wasted when I could NOT get it out. Not pounding, not pulling, nothing. I finally crushed it with a hammer and threw the whole thing in the trash. That’s why I feel like plastic has the edge over any other material. Its slight “give” helps it to release your cured hyptertufa planter.
*Always use oil/cooking spray/grease as your release agent along with plastic.
I have found that making a pedestal from an old chip dish works nicely.
This is used to support a larger planter.
I have them under small and larger planters and have various sizes. You fill the inside with your hypertufa mix, cure it, then when it comes out…voila! a pedestal. You can get these from your own pantry if your done with them, or cheaply at the Goodwill or Thrift store. Hey, see that price! 29¢
*Plastic bags or painter’s drop cloths ( you can get dozens of liners from one of those 9×12 sheets from the $ store.)
Have on hand garbage bags of different sizes so you will have one to fit your various hypertufa molds. Shopping bags are good too. Just think of all those different sizes when you shop. You will need those. And they are re-useable. The size of those bags needs to be larger than your piece inside its mold because you will need it to age inside this bag.
There are two methods, innies and outies.
No, not talking belly buttons here.
I form my hypertufa planter inside the container I am using for the mold. Some use the outside. (turning it upside down and applying the mixture to the outside of the mold)
I use the innie method because I feel it is easier especially when you are just learning. You can get experimental after you have done it for a while. But my reasons are:
1. I have better control over my mixture when I am pressing it into the sides of the container. I like to compress, so that I have a dense wall or bottom from the beginning.
For example, hand on the inside is pressing against hand on the outside. I also tug at the plastic liner as I go so less will be caught in wrinkles etc.
2. I don’t like to have a platform or board to make it on and then wrap etc. I like to take my mold, make it, then gently lift that mold piece and place in a plastic bag, and carry it gently over and set it under a shrub, shelf, etc.
Balancing it on a board, getting it into a bag, carry it somewhere without it sliding off…. maybe I am just not talented enough. If you are only making one, and can cover/wrap and leave it there, maybe that will work for you.
Here is a table top made from a barrel ring as its mold. I had an old wooden half-barrel which after several years had rotted. I saved the 3 rings which are wrapped around the outside. I just put one of the rings on some plastic (an old shower curtain) on the garage floor, and packed in the hypertufa mixture firmly inside the ring.
In this case I experimented with fern fronds to texture the surface. ( My first attempt at fern imprints and it came out kinda “meh”…)
In this instance, because it was such a large piece, I covered it with plastic as well as possible and waited about 3 days to un-mold. The pedestal was from a garage sale find. It is molded cast iron ? and the wooden top on it had rotted.
Just replaced that wooden top and used concrete screws to attach…
Voila! New indestructible table!
Hi, I am Kim and thank you so much for visiting my magazine! I am a gardener and a hypertufa maker. If you came here to learn about hypertufa, I have a lot of information. But I also write about flower gardening and using succulents which are great drought-tolerant plants.