Hypertufa Time - How to Make Hypertufa Ornaments

Discussion in 'Garden Junk' started by bethie, Jun 17, 2006.

  1. bethie

    bethie Young Pine

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    Here is my recipe-3 1/2 gallons portland cement(not quikcrete) 2 gallons sand, 2 1/2 gallons peatmoss. Break up peat well and remove large twigs and such. Mix well until no sand or peat can be seen. This dry mix will store well and can be wet as needed. Here are some basic tools

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    These wire hangers are made by bending several inches of wire(I like glavanised aluminum) in half and then bend each end up and splay out. Plaques and small stones are made in a cake pan or any small plastic container. Large ones use stepping stone molds, washtubs, etc. When using plant material arrange it in your dry mold ahead of time, set aside. Grease your mold with petroleum jelly.(use a baggie) Put some of your dry mix in a bucket and wet it a little at a time, mixing well. You MUST wear disposable gloves to work with this. It is CRITICAL that you not get this too wet. Always reserve some dry mix for this reason and for patching the finished product if needed.Mix until no dry is showing. This should hold its shape fairly well when a ball of it is squeezed in your hand. Now is the time to put material in your mold. Mark the top of mold so you know where to put the hanger. If painting your leaves green do it now. Use a paper plate and put a fairly thick coat on the BACK of the leaf. All leaf printing is done on this side where the veins are prominent. Lay leaves, ferns,globs, broken crockery etc. in mold.(paint side up)Globs go flat side up. Fill mold by putting handfuls of mix in mold and then gently patting. Pat, pat. Fill mold full for stepping stone, 3/4 for plaque. pick up and tap mold several times on hard surface to release air bubbles. Now insert hanger with loop out of the crete. Cover with black plastic(trash bag). Let sit for 24-36 hours. Gently unmold onto board. Your piece is at its most fragile now. Take your putty knife and gently incise around leaves. This is worth it to do. If using glass or globs gently clean around them with putty knife. Now genly remove the leaf by prising up stem and pulling off. Some will come off in pieces. Let dry a day or two then file rough edges smooth. Now the world is your oyster. From these humble beginnings

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    comes this

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    This is a plastic pot with the saucer yanked off, an old canning pan lid and the dogs tennis ball cut in half. Grease plant pot. Do plant material same as plaque. Put several inches of wet mix in bottom pressing well. Build sides by handfuls of mix pressed against them going around pot a little at a time. Make fist and knuckle that crete into the side. Build up to top and make a nice edge. Take dowel or stick and press holes in bottom. Invert lid on bucket (or something) grease, build same way. All balls with embedded material are made like this-ball is in 2 halves, grease, put in material, patting. Fill other half,pat. You will set this in a dish of damp sand to hold it upright. The bottom will be the TOP of your finished product so put the good stuff there. The second half is now placed on top the first one. Press. Any excess will squish out and gravity will do its job. Unmold and file seam joint. Carve around leaves before removing them or clean around glass or globs. If you have a lot of imperfections (and don't we all)wet a little of your dry mix and rub over ball. Wipe off with rag. cure. This giant pot and ball is made the same as small ones

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    This planter is made in a plastic garbage can and broken dishes are in the balls

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    Now let's make a piece from an old glass lamp. Take the works out and upend piece in a bucket of sand. Plug hole with tape or cardobard. If using leaves grease with vaseline. If making plain use a generic Pam spray. Start filling with mix pressing well in bottom to get good detail. Fill up and make a nice level top so it will sit straight. After 36 hours-lay on newspapers and gently smack with hammer and remove glass. Be careful. Put hose on low and while wetting start rubbing with a wire brush in ONE direction (like sanding)This makes a nice finish and takes off any paint.

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    Cure.Large stones are made the same way as small ones

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  2. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Oh thank you soooo much for that Bethie. Can't wait to get started!!!!! :smt026
     
  3. bethie

    bethie Young Pine

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    I wrote this whole thing and when I hit preview my login came up. I had lost my internet connection and the whole piece was lost! :'( It was too early for wine so I did it again. If anyone is interested in making leaves or leaf birdbaths (you have to grow the leaves) I will be glad to advise.

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    These nice creepy hands are made in rubber gloves.

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    :)
     
  4. Palustris

    Palustris In Flower

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    Tres interesting. Have done a lot of hypertufering, but not really gone into the ornament thing. Fancy giving something like those a go, Ta.
     
  5. Pinkiered

    Pinkiered The Rose Queen

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    OHHHHHHHH I like! Thank you! I see some projects for me to do during the winter!
     
  6. bethie

    bethie Young Pine

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    Let me stick these up while I'm in photos.

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    These large garden lantern tops are made from junk. The tall one on the left is the top of a plastic lantern birdfeeder, the middle was a pagoda top on a hideous birdcage and the last one I think is some sort of agricultural funnel thing. The seller had no clue. The body forms are made from plywood and screwed together. The windows are put in the mold and then the lantern is made. They are hollow to just below the window. When dry, unscrew. They are made to burn a candle in. They are up on cinder blocks so they don't get muddy. I hope all are having a good weekend. :)
     
  7. Frank

    Frank Happy Gardening Staff Member Administrator

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    So creative! I really like the lanterns. Well done :smt023

    Bethie thank you so much for your in-depth tutorial. This will help out many members on the forum and also those searching for hypertufa information on the Web ;) I hope you don't mind but I added "How to Make Hypertufa Ornaments" to the title of this topic so it can be found easier.
     
  8. cajunbelle

    cajunbelle Daylily Diva

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    Bethie, thanks for the info, all of your pieces are wonderful. What form did you use for the larger balls. I hope I can find time to make some of these things.
     
  9. glendann

    glendann Official Garden Angel

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    Thank you so very much for the info and time you spent on teaching us how to do this..I'm going to give it a try .I do hope I can do this as yours is so pretty.If I can just do 1/2 as good I would be happy.
     
  10. i love bugs

    i love bugs The Weatherman of Craggy Island

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    Great tutorial Bethie and very informative . I used to make hypertufa garden sinks for alpines . In a previous existance :D I used to " make antiques " and a quick way to age hypertufa is to coat it with buttermilk or yoghurt . In a few weeks they will have moss and algae growing and will have a nice weathered look .
    The little pagodas look great , I will have to give them a try .
    8) Bugs
     
  11. Under the Arbor

    Under the Arbor New Seed

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    Thanks so much for the info. Have always wondered how to do the leaf motif. Was on the internet looking for stepping stone recipes, when I remembered gardenstew. Never thought to make stepping stones from the tufa. Thanks again.
     
  12. bethie

    bethie Young Pine

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    Sorry, Cajunbelle to take so long to repy. It's so hot and humid here that I think my brain is fried. The really large ball by the maple tree is an indestructible ball from a pet shop. It is slightly bigger than a bowling ball. It was my pigs for years until he died of old age this winter. All my ball molds are from the pet shop. They are thick and heavy duty. Some I have used 100 times. I like to keep balls on hand as a little gift for company.

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  13. bluebells

    bluebells Seedling

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    Very good it is something i really must try. Thank you for the instructions. Bluebell.
     
  14. Kimberly

    Kimberly Seedling

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    Ohhh they are all so wonderful!!!! :D
     
  15. Under the Arbor

    Under the Arbor New Seed

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    Bertie, here is a variation on the recipe: Mine calls for vermiculite instead of sand. The recipe calls for 2 parts portland cement, 3 parts peat, 3 parts vermiculite. If you double this, you will have a large wheelbarrow full of "tufa"--enough to bring on a long nap. I also put in a handful of fibers that are meant as concrete reinforcement. Soak them in a pail of water while you are mixing the dry ingredients then throw them in, water and all,and mix before adding any more water. My mom gets the fibers from a concrete manufacturer--they are not readily available, at least that I know of. If anyone has a better source, please post.

    My leaf impressions turned out beautifully. Thanks so much for the instructions, and also for the suggestion of outlining them after the first 24 hours of cure time. I used a dandelion fork, which much improved the look. I'm very pleased with the results.
     

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