Previously when I have made the pots, I used a one part peat moss, one part portland cement, and one part perlite recipe. This time I used a 2 part peat moss, 1 part perlite, and 3 part concrete mix. I thought using less perlite would give my pots a finer texture, whereas using more of the concrete mix would compensate for not having straight portland cement, or so I thought. The first pot, pictured above still in its mold, fell apart when I finally tried to remove it from the mold. Darn! Lesson learned, use real Portland Cement.
My next attempt at making hypertufa went much better. I was successful in creating several new pots using Portland Cement. The recipe I used in making these pots was: 1 part cement, 1 part peat moss, and 1/2 part perlite. The pots are all in varying degrees of drying and the colors reflect the degrees. Normal hypertufa will dry a light gray. The two large rectangular pots in the upper left of the picture were colored with brown concrete stain. I am very interested to see how they finally dry. The other six pots were colored with buff concrete stain, though you really can't tell either from the picture or from the pots themselves. I think the darker colored stains work best on this type of pot and will not use the light colored stains anymore.
I have used flower pots, cardboard boxes stuffed with styrofoam, and plastic containers for molds. Personally I prefer using strong plastic molds. The cardboard tends to get soggy and will bend if not seriously reinforced, but it is handy and comes away from the pot easily. Plastic flower pots work out well, as do the plastic containers. While trying to separate one pot from its popcorn bowl mold, I had to resort to breaking the mold in order to get my pot out. Oh well, kitchen bowls can be overrated anyhow and we always have too many-don't we? Next time I will try building a wooden mold. I think the size will be more uniform and if I build the mold right, I should be able to dismantle it from the hypertufa pot.
After you mix whatever recipe you use together (there are tons of recipes out there), mold it to your mold but be sure to spray the mold with some cooking spray or coat the mold with plastic wrap. Poke a few drainage holes in the bottom of your pot. Add small stones and decorations as desired then cover the whole thing with plastic and let it sit for at least two days.
Gently unmold the new pot and place in the garden when fully cured. My new pots are currently safely enscounced in my garage to continue to cure. Curing can continue for several weeks, though curing can be accomplished in the garden. I only have mine in the garage because it has been so cold outside. These troughs should last for a long time and the designs are limited only by your imagination.
in the garden....making pots.