Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday Tips - Hypertufa Recipe

This week's tip is inspired by all the hypertufa going on in last weekend's Mosaic Cabaret classes.

Hypertufa was created in the 19th century as type of artificial stone. Basically it is the same as concrete except that some of the sand in concrete is replaced with vermiculite, perlite, or peat moss to produce a material that is more lightweight but still durable. There are lots of hypertufa recipes depending on the results that you want.

Judy Sutcliffe, who teaches the Mosaic and Concrete Classes at Shake Rag, introduced me to hytpertufa some years ago. She makes planters using a hypertufa recipe that is very lightweight and actually porous enough that she doesn't even need to put a drainage hole in the bottom.

I liked the look of Judy's hypertufa planters but wanted to make a fountain base, so a container that wouldn't hold water was not exactly what I had in mind! We came up with the following recipe that is definitely heavier than Judy's planters but works perfectly. I think the peat moss gives the fountain a nice earthy rustic quality - much more appealing than the pasty gray look I'd have gotten had I made it out of concrete.

Hypertufa Recipe for a Fountain Base

  • 1 part Portland Cement
  • 1 1/2 parts sand
  • 1 1/2 parts peat moss
  • 1 part water (or as needed - add water slowly)
You simply mix this up in the quantity you need, oil your mold, form the mixture in the mold, let it cure slowly (cover lightly with plastic), unmold it when hard, and volia!

Tip submitted by Sharon Stauffer

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