Revisit: The Draped Hypertufa Planter | The Hypertufa Gardener

Revisit: The Draped Hypertufa Planter

Were you looking for the Draped Hypertufa How-To?  

I have seen searches for Cement Draped Planters, Rags Dipped in Cement, and so on….But I have called it a Draped Hypertufa Planter and I have some directions here on how to make them, And there are some videos to watch which will help you make your own!

I am revising a post from a few years ago since there have been so many questions, and I have made some videos to help. I have the videos on my YouTube channel called Kim’s Gardens or you can check from the YouTube page here right on my blog.

Draped Hypetufa Planter with Video and Instructions

 

How about a whole new look for a hypertufa planter?  Since I work in hypertufa, I use the recipe mix for my hypertufa to make this draped hypertufa planter but just in a different ratio. You can adjust the recipe to suit how you want yours to look. I like a rough texture simulating tree bark but you may have different ideas.

This recipe is heavier on the Portland cement, and incredibly messy to make, but I am already planning to make many more. I have seen some photos  on the internet, but nothing with complete directions on how to do it, so I have winged it!  And these are some of my creations!

Draped hypertufa planter with ferns

 

You can  use any fabric you have lying around. It can be an old towel, a blanket, leftover drapery material, an old padded quilt* 

( No, an old quilt is too heavy to handle and I learned the hard way.)

I have three YouTube videos with explanations of how to make these draped cement pots or planters. Here is the link from YouTube for the first one.

 

Recipe for the Draped Hypertufa Planter

 

My recipe that I have used for this project is  heavy on the cement.  And by that I mean that I use a lot more cement than I would in a regular hypertufa trough recipe.

I would use

  • 1 part Portland cement (I was using a 2 qt pitcher)
  • 1/4 part of peat ( about 1 pint)
  • a handful of vermiculite and mortar mix depending on how much you want it to be textured
  • water, about a 2 qt pitcher as above added slowly as you get it into a slurry or gravy

Cut the fabric into a circle, an oval, or even use it as a rectangle or square. Dampen it and hang it from your “tower.” This will be the support that you hang it on to dry. If you want the pointed edges, be sure your support is tall enough to allow them to drape/hang.

 

Your tower is your support for the project as it dries. I used a bar stool for my first one.  You can use a column of paint cans. or even a lamp shade.  (NO, the lamp shade didn’t work for me. It may work for you.)

It must be something sturdy to  allow your fabric  to “drape” and not let the ends of the wet fabric touch to floor. It will change the look of your project if the ends of the fabric touch the floor/table.  I have seen a few across the internet and Pinterest and the “puddling” effect can look nice.

Cover your tower in plastic! The piece is a little pliable when you attempt to get it off, but it was a struggle with that bar stool. You don’t want your piece to cement itself to the tower.

 

Check out how it hangs or “drapes” and pull it to one side or the other until you have  a vision of what you  like. The large one pictured at the top of the post  was made from an oval cut about 26″ by 39″. ( I had earlier made it bigger, but decided I just couldn’t handle fabric cut that big. It was a good decision, because that sucker is HEAVY after soaking it in cement gravy.

Once it is all mixed, and you have a consistency like meat gravy, not breakfast gravy ( I’m a country girl), put the whole piece of cloth into your mix and roll it around until it is all soaked with cement on both sides.

Wear gloves of course. I had to pick the mix up and smoosh it into the fabric on both sides, being sure to get it into folds. Did I lie when I said it was MESSY?

**Be sure to mix up enough slurry to get it all wet. Depending on the size of your fabric piece, you may need to double the recipe. If you have leftovers, have a few small  cloths ready to drape over a butter dish or bowl, or just pour it into those dishes to make feet for a trough.

When you are draping it over your tower, it is easy to pull and adjust until you get the look that pleases you.

(BTW, I made the biggest mess in the garage floor. Oh my! But when it dries, you can scrape it off and the  ShopVac takes care of it. Whew!)

Small draped hypertufa planter are great for succulents

I left my creation for 2 nights in a cold garage covered with a plastic garbage bag, then pulled it off the bar stool tower support with difficulty. It is slightly pliable at this point, but did harden after the next step.  I put it back into the garbage bag and left it for 24 hours.

**Important Note: Some sources on the internet speak of setting it to dry in the sun. My advice here is NOT to put it in the sun, but in a shady area and be SURE IT IS COVERED BY A PLASTIC BAG. This is what makes the cement cure!

 

After your project is fully cured and hard, you may drill a hole in it with your drill that you use to put a hole in the regular trough. Since it is very thin, it drills easily. No problem.

 

If you want to use it as a container in which to set a plastic pot of annuals or other flowers or plants, that is fine too.

 

These are the smaller draped cement pots and I have painted a few in different colors and I like them. If you like bright colors, then a quick stain or latex paint, even spray paint will give you any look you want.

Questions: Will it be OK in winter or rain?  Since I have made these for the past three summers, I can report that almost every one of my pots have survived snow and ice storms  and mine have been in the rainiest springs and coldest winters ever! They are fine.  Be sure to check the videos out. You may need to PAINT A SECOND COAT OF THE MIXTURE onto a finished planter if it doesn’t seem hard enough.

Remember, I have had failures too when the planter just did not get hard for whatever reason. Not sure why, but some just “flopped”, both literally and figuratively..LOL

Let me know in the comments if you have made a draped cement pot. I appreciate any comments you make. And remember, be adventurous and try anything. I have seen some wonderful draped creations out there.  I don’t own any of the draped standing and seated full sized humans figures, but they are awesome!

 

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Kim, The Hypertufa Gardener

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.

Of course, I have some recipes and some random family concerns which I hope interest you too! Please page through the Magazine and find what you like! and Subscribe!

I also have a YouTube channel called Kim’s Gardens where you can see my hypertufa as I make them. ( See My About Page)

 

87 thoughts on “Revisit: The Draped Hypertufa Planter

  • Pingback: Upcycle Final Report: Cement light fixture

  • October 4, 2016 at 6:42 pm
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    This is a very interesting project. I would like to try it one day! Reply
    • October 4, 2016 at 7:02 pm
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      You should try it. It makes a lasting reminder of work done. Reply
  • August 30, 2016 at 11:45 pm
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    Hi, miss Kim Smith my question is, if is possible make a pond aquarium with this tecnic?, because i want put fishes and aquatic plants tnks for your fast answer best regards Mr. Oscar Cortez Reply
    • August 31, 2016 at 3:52 am
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      I have not made anything like that, but I have heard of people trying it. I think they seal the hypertufa much the same way you would seal a concrete basement. I am not sure how that would work. You could try a small box trough and seal it to see if it would hold water? Reply
  • July 28, 2016 at 6:51 pm
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    Hi Kim after seeing your draped pots which I fell in love with, my husband and I tried them after abit of tweaking to said recipe with living in new zealand we got it right and have made quite few now, very additive Reply
    • July 29, 2016 at 5:43 am
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      I am so glad you tried it out, and they are so pretty. You have a great eye for design. Reply
  • November 19, 2015 at 5:38 pm
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    My second attempt. Some of the draped hyperuffa came out beautiful, whilst others using the same mixture never hardened enough, Have repainted with slurry, and will see this weekend how they turn out. Another thing puzzling me is, they don't seem to hold water, and just go all soft again once wet. Was thinking they are not suitable for planting but could be used as vases. HELP how can I make them waterproof. Reply
    • November 20, 2015 at 5:56 am
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      Hi Dolores, I am not sure what could be wrong since you say it is the same slurry and getting different results. Is it the same fabric? I am not sure. The only thing I can think is making a stronger solution by adding more Portland cement. Sorry I can't help more than that. Reply
      • December 28, 2015 at 7:42 am
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        I would bet the fabric itself is still wet or the slurry itself was too wet and therefore allowing water to ooze out of the fabric. A thicker mixture and longer wait period is in order. I've made lot's of these and I found you really need a thick mixture and long wait period if you live in a damp place like I do. Reply
  • November 5, 2015 at 8:27 am
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    Bonjour, j'aime beaucoup ce que vous faites et vais tenter mon premier drapé Hypertufa cette semaine. Merci pour toutes vos bonnes explications. Cordialement. Jacqueline Reply
    • November 5, 2015 at 9:17 am
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      Merci beaucoup. Reply
  • July 19, 2015 at 9:58 am
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    Well my first attempt didn't go nearly as smoothly as your slurry mix in the video:-) I used the above recipe and what was probably half of a small bath towel. It had a very nubby heavy texture to it which made it extremely heavy once soaked with the slurry. I also should have doubled the mix as it wasn't nearly enough with just a single recipe. After determining it wasn't enough I had to lift it out of the dry wall bin & put in a bucket so I could add more concrete, etc. That made for quite a mess. Some of the other issues I experienced is that the slurry seemed to keep separating? The slurry around the edges & in the corners would be more watery than the middle even though I had stirred it thoroughly. Also since I had quite a bit of the slurry left after soaking the towel I used a couple of wash cloths for smaller pots. I really had difficulty coating them & one just totally resisted the slurry at all. I just couldn't get it coated at all. I know this is probably not making a lot of sense but the cloth seemed to just lay on top & wouldn't soak in the mixture at all. I also had an awful lot of big chunks hanging on to my cloths. I will be surprised if these are going to be strong enough once cured as none of them really look like they got thoroughly coated. Not sure what I might have done wrong here? Frustrated in STL:-) Also any tips for cleaning the dry wall bin? My husband didn't want to pour the dregs of the slurry outside in the yard so we put as much as we could in a plastic lined box & will let it harden so we can throw away. Then wiped out the pan with paper towels as much as possible before washing under the outside spigot. He's already stated that it looks to be more trouble than it's worth!! Reply
    • July 19, 2015 at 3:22 pm
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      I am so sorry you had so much trouble. I am confused you didn't have enough slurry for just half of a small towel? Next time it may be easier. I always used almost all of mine up, but when I rinsed the bin in the back yard, I just rinsed it well with a garden hose and then rinsed the grass some. I could never even see any remnants afterward and the grass was always lush there from the extra water. Maybe you'll try again? Reply
      • July 19, 2015 at 5:01 pm
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        Well my first attempt didn't go nearly as smoothly as your slurry mix in the video:-) I used the above recipe and what was probably half of a small bath towel. It had a very nubby heavy texture to it which made it extremely heavy once soaked with the slurry. I also should have doubled the mix as it wasn't nearly enough with just a single recipe. After determining it wasn't enough I had to lift it out of the dry wall bin & put in a bucket so I could add more concrete, etc. That made for quite a mess. Some of the other issues I experienced is that the slurry seemed to keep separating? The slurry around the edges & in the corners would be more watery than the middle even though I had stirred it thoroughly. Also since I had quite a bit of the slurry left after soaking the towel I used a couple of wash cloths for smaller pots. I really had difficulty coating them & one just totally resisted the slurry at all. I just couldn't get it coated at all. I know this is probably not making a lot of sense but the cloth seemed to just lay on top & wouldn't soak in the mixture at all. I also had an awful lot of big chunks hanging on to my cloths. I will be surprised if these are going to be strong enough once cured as none of them really look like they got thoroughly coated. Not sure what I might have done wrong here? Frustrated in STL:-) Also any tips for cleaning the dry wall bin? My husband didn't want to pour the dregs of the slurry outside in the yard so we put as much as we could in a plastic lined box & will let it harden so we can throw away. Then wiped out the pan with paper towels as much as possible before washing under the outside spigot. He's already stated that it looks to be more trouble than it's worth!! Oh I will definitley try again but am just confused about what when wrong. The half towel was a small bath towel so we are probably still talking about maybe 18 x 24 rectangle. I didn't measure it but had to use 3 gallon paint cans as my tower. Do you have any idea why the slurry would separate like that or have you ever had fabirc that just wouldn't soak up the slurry? I thought my slurry was too wet so added a little more cement (this was after I doubled the ingredients) and then felt like it was too thick so added more water. That's when I started noticing the separating issue even though I had stirred it really well. Reply
        • July 19, 2015 at 9:13 pm
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          Not sure what could have gone wrong. I hope you are able to get it worked out. I have used the cotton table napkins and a fleece blanket, but towel fabric seems always to be the best. So I don't know why yours hasn't worked. Sorry. Reply
          • July 20, 2015 at 10:41 am
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            Ever had the slurry separate like that? Water just seemed to run off. Reply
            • July 20, 2015 at 4:42 pm
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              I don't think that has ever happened to me. Did you mix all dry ingredients thoroughly before you added any moisture? Reply
              • July 21, 2015 at 8:48 am
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                I'm not sure but will definitely do that on my next batch. I think I need to do some of the recoating of the three that I made. They are hardening but you can pretty much still tell that they are a towel & two wash cloths by looking at them. Reply
                • July 21, 2015 at 9:23 am
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                  I hope these do get hardened off for you. You have put in a lot of effort. Reply
      • August 21, 2016 at 4:46 am
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        Have u tried using mortar mix instead of the Portland cement. Worth a try if it's not Harding good. But one thing to remember always protect the area where u working, it's a mess to clean up. But it makes beautiful planters. U have me wanting to make some but I'll use the mortar mix first. Reply
        • August 21, 2016 at 9:48 am
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          I have used some mortar mix before and it does help to harden. If I am going after a smoother look, mortar mix is good. And yes, it is so much nicer to work outside where I can hose everything clean when I am ready to put it all away. Reply
  • July 17, 2015 at 10:27 pm
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    One more question, do you rinse/leach these out after they are dry & before staining or painting them? Reply
    • July 18, 2015 at 6:15 am
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      I think rinsing a few times takes care of them for leaching purposes. Since it is not an inch or two thick, I don't think it holds its alkalinity. So a few rinses have done it for me. Reply
      • July 18, 2015 at 8:21 am
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        Thank You Kim, I am excited to make my first one this morning. Reply

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