ha ha I do need the seasons and as lovely as the fall has been, not complaining too much. I finally have some flower beds completed so am anxious to do some papercrete containers. I have two great styrofoam containers in the garage I want to use for the forms. Hurry up winter so we can get to spring...
I did a seed swap with Tomtom many years ago and still have some of the seed. She gardens in a small lot and her containers were to die for. She has a very artistic eye and her plant combinations were beautiful.
I'm aiming to try this technique to produce large pots that fit around the posts holding up our pergola.
That is, matching pots each with one side that looks like, well, a planter, while the other will be "notched" in precisely the same shape as the 8x8 posts but otherwise flat. Put them on opposite sides of the post, so they look like a very large planter, with the post coming up in the center.
Figure they'll need to have a low center of gravity and a fairly wide base, so they'll remain standing up instead of tending to fall away from the post. Alternative will be to provide some sort of connection between the two pots , at the post.
That sounds interesting. I would guess using a 'dummy' piece of wood or styrofoam the size of the post and forming the pot around it would work quite well. Remove the 'dummy' piece when dry and voila! a perfect fit around the post! Very good idea JP!
Agreed, two separate pieces fashioned to be put back together around the post to form a single-looking pot is an excellent idea!! That would also help make it much easier to move, or remove, the big pots with plants intact! The weight of pot, plants, and soil make them impossible for me to use... this would help matters considerably.
You could band the two papercrete pot parts together around the post with wire, metal straps, or ropes. Depending if the banding would be seen or not (possibly hidden by plants), would dictate how decorative the fastening material would be. Yep, definitely a good idea to keep in mind.
JPlunket, keep us posted on your progress and show pics along the way please!!
JPlunket, just today I was trying to find a way to add a large pot near an entrance to our church. Your idea would be perfect, and by putting two parts together around a post I might be able to keep them from being "borrowed" by friendly neighborhood hoodlums. :D
I'm back.I was cruising around and found this again.Sooooo glad its carried over.
I confess to fast reading for pix of finished projects and saw some suggestions for removing paper from outside of planters.
Had anyone thought of "burning out" just an idea.It might not work in some neighborhoods.
I was thinking a blowtorch or grill lighter.
I tried the twisted newspaper trick again that TomTom posted originally. This time on a rectangular pot. It's still drying, but has a lot of promise. The papercrete is easy to manipulate (carve, file, smooth down) while its drying and even after its cured. I always seem to break a corner or something on every piece, so I'm trying to be more patient and careful, but keep the mortar mix handy, lol.
I used a stick blender with this last batch of papercrete and it made the mixing easier and a finer texture of the 'crete (no big clumps of paper). It seemed easier to form, smoother surfaces, too. I burned up the mixer, but it was old so I don't know if that was more the issue than my abuse.
This batch of 'buff'-colored papercrete was the biggest yet and I got to make several pieces from it. I wanted to make a alpine/succulents planter table top for my grandmother's porch. I formed it into three separate pieces. It was a pain, but I liked how it turned out. I also got three fairy houses and two troughs/pots.
I'm still learning with each new batch of papercrete. I believe this is my new hobby/passion. Thanks again TomTom, where ever you are!!
ge1836, I've let the paper soak longer in previous pours, but the paper still wants to clump together. Next time I plan to use shredded office paper to cut down on prep time (sore fingers after shredding by hand for large batches) and see how the papercrete turns out. I also plan on using a paint mixer blade in my drill (can afford another stick blender). Mechanical mixing does create a fine smooth texture of papercrete and a nicer finish. The rough texture has a definite application with the primitive pots though, so I'll continue to use it for smaller batches . . . I'm still experimenting.
kooger, I used plastic storage baskets lined with plastic bags for molding the rectangular troughs. The fairy houses were free-form with papercrete applied to the outside of inverted clay pots also covered with plastic bags. I made the table (from scrap metal) and used a cardboard template to determine the fit for the top. I cut the template up into three pieces to keep it from being too heavy or awkward to handle, plus, if I messed up a section it wouldn't be too much trouble to replace it. Here is a pic of the cardboard layout before I cut it into sections.
This pic shows the 1" cardboard sides glued and taped to the templates with the papercrete already formed around the Styrofoam. The small red things are drinking straws for drainage holes and cut to the thickness I needed for the papercrete to use as a guide.
Here's the table top sections in place in the table frame. The pieces are still drying, but fit perfectly! I was worried the slurry was too wet and possibly forced the cardboard out some, but it didn't. One of the fairy houses will sit in the back corner and have a patio in front of it.
Note the difference in color as the pieces dry. the fairy house is almost completely dry and was made at the same time . . . it was thinner than the table top.
Oh, the circular cutouts in the middle of each of the side sections are to allow placement of seasonal flower pots (3"). This is to be a planter for succulents which have different soil and water requirements than the flowers my grandmother likes, and they'll add color, too.
You're welcome. I'm doing this in my dirty little basement because I want to be able to use them when warm weather gets here. The hardest part of all of this for me is the waiting! It does seem to take longer for the papercrete to cure out in the cooler conditions.
I like the shredded office paper idea, but wondered how you will know how much to use. The original recipe was very specific about number of newsprint pages--how will you measure that as shredded paper? I've only tried this once, and I loved how the pots look, but agree it was a hand-killer for the steps of ripping the paper and mixing the concrete, and I had lumps of paper that didn't mix in and I had to pull out with tweazers after it was semi-hardened.
granitegneiss, I have the same thoughts about the shredded paper quantities. In looking over other papercrete recipes found on the Internet, I think I'll have to start from scratch and experiment using what little bit of experience I've gained from using TomTom's recipe, mostly on the quantity of wet shredded paper and how the mix is supposed to look and feel.
I've done more research on papercrete and hypertufa and think TomTom's recipe and technique is to get the specific results of lumps and cool textures to mimic the primitive tufa troughs made in the old days. I now think I should have posted most of what I've done on another thread since the results are much different than what was originally intended.
My apologizes for steering this thread to other uses and technique.
kooger, I started a thread on the Hypertufa and Concrete forum: "Papercrete-containers, fairy houses and other uses". http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1235636/
It's loaded with some of the same pics that I've posted here and other individual pieces, along with some info about how I made them.
I feel rather guilty about posting so much here, but I was excited, lol. I still am!
Alberta Ann, Thank you for watching and I hope you jump over to the Hypertufa & Concrete forum to see more. I didn't post TomTom's recipe there, but did post a link back to the original thread on this forum.
I posted this on the Hypertufa and Concrete forum with my papercrete pots, but wanted TomTom to see what her instructions helped me to create. Thank you TomTom, I love the twisted newspaper technique!!!!
Just read this for the first time.
The containers are really great looking.
How durable are they outside in winter freeze.
Guess I am missing something but don't see reason for the stick at bottom of the bowl.
Any answer appreciated.
Thanks for you response.
Another question thinking about using newsprint with color - (funny paper section / color adds in newsprint - not the glossy part) anybody done that - if so how does it affect the result.
The inks made today are mostly soy-based, and perfectly safe for use near your plants/veggies...
But, I'd think the glossy colored paper would be too stiff to properly break down into the consistency of slurry you're going for, to make papercrete. The softer colored funnies and ad paper should be OK to break down into an oatmeal consistency.
Your comments, as well as Digger's, prompted me to do some research that I've put off for a while. As an old-time organic gardener, I was cautioned years ago about using anything other black & white newsprint in composting and garden mulch. Times have changed and soy-based inks became much cheaper to use than petroleum-based inks, as you stated. But not all print media companies use soy ink! The colored slicks or glossies may still be produced with petroleum-based inks, as well as, heavy metals needed to make them more colorful and opaque. Additionally, clay, paraffin, and various chemical and metal components (in the color pigments) may be used to make the pages glossy and less degradable, thus slow to compost and more toxic if used in concentrated doses.
The last sentence confirms observations I've read by other papercrete crafters about the adverse effects of using colored print papers (excluding the funny pages). The key in obtaining consistent results is using consistent materials. The type of water (well vs. tap), humidity, temperature, time, and aggregates can all play a part in the success or failure of concrete products. I've had failures that took a while in determining cause. So experimenting with one component at a time helps to understand what works and what doesn't. I'll continue to avoid the use of heavily colored papers, and definitely not use the slick and glossy advertisements.
I truly appreciate the input and the nudge to research more into the colored paper use!
Haven't seen anyone post on this in a while but I had an idea and was wondering if someone (TomTom perhaps) who has worked with papercrete could tell me if my idea seems feasible.
I am absolutely obsessed with tree ferns but am moving to an area where it is too cold for them to grow. Tassel fern has a very similar growth habit (fronds up to 2 feet long, coming from a central point) but it is evergreen and cold hardy. I am thinking of making a tall, relatively thin pot which mimics the trunk of a tree fern and planting the fern in the top of it. Texturing the papercrete and dying it a dark brown color and encouraging moss growth on it. I would like to build these to have minor bends, as sometimes tree fern trunks will bend.
Is there a maximum height I might be able to make one of these? I was hoping for the tallest to be about 6 feet and the diameter on the bottom to be about 1.5 feet decreasing the top to be about .75 feet.