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I want to make 3 - 3 ft tall, 2 ft wide, 3 to 4 feet long hypertufa troughs for my succulents. I have been trying to find forms to use. I could find a big enough tupperware like container but not another that would fit inside with 2 inches difference. Would 2 inch Styrofoam work? I was thinking I could add to the height and width by taping more on with electrical tape. Would that be strong enough?
For something so big, should I make the walls 3 inches across?
Has anyone made such big ones?
Thanks for any wisdom you can share with me on these. This would be my first try with this.
I've not made (or seen any) quite this large, however, if memory serves right, the one time I did see someone making a fairly large one, it was advised to add the fiber mesh for strength. Why couldn't you use a cardboard carton adding styrofoam to make the walls thicker? Show us pics when done...
The trouble is finding 2 boxes the right shape with one fitting in the other. And if I did that, how would I put a sheet of styrofoam in between themt and have room to fill both sides of it with hypertufa?
I have never made anything yet so not sure how it will all work oput. I was thinking I would make a round one this week by using the black nursery pots. I can get 2 fairly large size pots that fit into each other to experiment.
You should be able to use the styrofoam to make the entire form. Use tape to to secure the pieces together to make the right size that you need. For such a large piece you'll need to support the long walls to prevent sag from bowing them outward/inward.
I've never made any that large, but I would think that cardboard would not hold the weight of all that hypertufa and the sides would bow out. If I wanted to make something that big I would build a wooden form. Or like azreno said, you could use styrofoam if you supported the sides.
I am somewhat pathetic when it comes to making things. I was thinking I could buy some thin wooden strips at HD and use electrical tape going round the entire form to hold them in place on the sides. A hammer and nails is not my thing. LOL. And my husband is so sick of my garden projects. He is an antigardener. Think that would work?
hi kell . i just made a couple small ones for my hens and chicks. which im obsessed with now. i think i read somewhere that for the big ones you need to put chicken wire or something to keep it from breaking. oops that was mentioned already . i made mine too thin and it was sliding off the form . its a learning process. so needless to say my first ones were UGLY but ugly is charming sometimes lol. i want to make some big square ones too . im gonna have dh build 2 plywood boxes . to have a form .
Kell, If you haven't done this before I urge you to start with a small project. You will learn a lot from working with whatever mix you choose and if it doesn't come out the way you want it's not a big loss (voice of experience here). Making a few small to medium size leaves is a good first project. Hands-on experience is a great teacher with this stuff.
Duct tape will work, maybe you can put the boards on the outside of the box (duct tape them in place around the box, and also duct tape the box to make sure it stays put), then do the same for the inside box after you line the first one with plastic liner, a thick trash bag should work. No nails there.. you will have to create the size you need for the inside.
Yeah, duct tape was made with us in mind..lol especially for the hammer impaired. I sure hope I made sense up there, or just scared Kell off. Sometimes what I write and what I mean come out quite different...
I have made these type planters years ago fitting one round form into another. Never the size that you want or the shape.
The only thing I can think of that may work if you want to spend the money, is the plastic storage bins sold in Walmart. They come in different sizes and you should be able to get them so that one fits into the other. I have one that measures 3ft long x 1ft high that I use to put my potted seedlings in for protection outside. They may have them larger.
You don't need such high container for succulents since they need less soil than green-leaved plants.
Oh you didn't scare me off. I have been waiting to come back till I had some time to post pictures of a show I went to.
I decided to go slow too katiebear and almost have all my supplies to use. I think you only need 1 form to build on when making a small one from what I have seen.
Blomma, I really wish I can find 2 plastic bins that fit into each other but have not been so lucky yet though I check at every store I go to. I did find a huge cooler that would be prefect but none just a few inches smaller to go in. I want them taller so closer to my eyes. I do not want something I have to bend over to enjoy. Plus I plant on putting in some tall aloes and a big agave. Thanks for the link, I will sure look at it later tonight.
Hi Gourd, long time no see! I am sure duck tape will be my salvation. I just hope I can find an easier way!
I see a thread on here talking about troughs so I can't wait to read it.
I thought you guys might be interested in some I have seen at nurseries here, esp the prices. They are getting very popular and are so expensive.
Kell In the link I sent above. It mentions that you can build the frame/mold out of foam insulation boards. I think they are 3" thick, then use that gray 2" wide duct tape, instead of electric tape. Duck tape hold much better.
Kell, Duct Tape is good!!! lol I even used it to wrap around the air hose on my vacum when it got a leak in the middle of my chores...and it is still there one year later.
There's no turning back once you use concrete/tufa... you could make a couple of those round bowls if you use one of those Excercise balls, and just mold it on top of it half way.. Check out the sphere threads on here.
For those tall ones, if you find the inner form first, it is easier to make the outer form, because you can use wood to surround the inner form. That is what I would do, because it seems like it would be harder to find something to fit inside.
Good luck and post your photos..
lol.. edited to change spelling, I knew something didn't look right..lol katiebear
Ducts are those things that run the hot and cold air thru your house to keep you comfortable.
That is what a DUCT is.
Oh, yeah. Your pots are nice too. Great jobs.
Who cares what a durn old duct is anyway, if it does the job???
I am also planning to make some small planters mostly for bonsais. i already have cement, vermiculite and other stuff needed and been reading the threads on this subject. Do I do it with bare hands or gloved hands? I have problem doing anything ungloved because I was an OR nurse for years before I retired and I use gloves even in the kitchen LOL!!! I have all sorts of gloves gardening cooking etc etc LOL!!! I plan to do this this winter and the curing part, can i do it outside in cold weather?. Belle
Please use gloves, cement is very caustic. Be careful to not breathe in the dust or your lungs will cure...moisture and cement equals hard ...not good. and when you wire brush after the first 24 to 48 hours for that old, stone look...you might want to wear safety glasses. Best temp is 50 to 90 degrees for working and curing. Too hot and your project might cure to fast and crack, too cold and curing stops.
I've been doing this only this summer...made lots of rocks and stepping stones first...Now I'm addicted.
and I usually work in the garage...with some brushing in the shade. Don't use the basement as the cement dust will circulate thru out the house. and you can't use the house drains for clean up.
I think that's the limit of my knowledge from reading and doing this first year. It's really loads of fun. I've made several pots, mushrooms, bird baths and fairly houses. Retired nurse, also...Visiting Nurse.
Retired nurse!! Do you miss work at all ? My side of the garage will be full of plants so I might wait till spring then or this fall.I plan to use mask when I start. Had you posted some of your planters? Belle
Belle, No to both questions...too old to learn to upload, download pictures...my 12 y.o. granddaughter can probably do it for me. LOL Regarding the tufa: start small to get the feel of the mud, also, it took me awhile to get the hang of the molds. They are simple and I was making a major project of taping bowls to large serving plates. I learned that there are two types of molds...inside and outside...and the same bowl can usually be used as either. Simple is better. I bought several animal feeding pans from the farm store...I like round and you might like rectangle. Keep looking on the internet...I'm always finding new ideas. Sharon
I tried making troughs using 1" rigid foam insulation boards and duct tape. Mine were much smaller than the ones you are contemplating and the sides bowed out quite a bit. I finally bit the bullet and invested in (relatively) inexpensive 1" pine boards. Be sure to add 2X the thickness of the board to your desired dimensions. Remember, measure twice, cut once! Do you have a friend or neighbor with a mitre saw you can bribe with food, plants, etc.? You can do this with a circular saw, but the mitre saw is so much easier and more precise too. I saw an excellent idea for keeping the bottom of the trough your desired thickness: Get a length of PVC plastic pipe (in the plumbing supply area) with the same inside diameter as you want your drainage holes to be. Cut the pipe into pieces the same length as you want the bottom of your trough to be thick. Put the pieces in the bottom of your mold and pack the mix around them. They will serve as a guide to keep the bottom depth consistent and exactly as deep as you want it. They will also keep your drainage holes from plugging up with mix. I wish I knew who to credit for this clever idea. I think I read it on this forum. If this is not included in the sticky, it should be! Good luck.
I made one out of one of those big round tubs with the rope handles. I just made my mixture a little stiff and started putting it in and slowly working it up the inside. Its about 2 inches think but still light weight. I used a little piece of pvc pipe and twisted it in the bottom and pulled it out to remove the hypertuffa for a hole for drainage. Then I covered it with plastic and misted it with a spray bottle every day for about a week to let it cure slowly. When I was ready to dump it out I just turned the tub over and let it slide out. I've been told you can put vaseline or spray cooking oil to make it non stick but I didn't have to much problem getting it out. Just have to wait until its nice and cured so it won't break up on you when you take it out. You don't necessarily have to have the second form.
if youre inserting a form with in a form and you want it to hold its shape fill the inside form with sand/ gravel.. it will prevent the sides from bowing inward when you pack the space between them ..
if you want a round form why not use sand for your mold.. I made a large deep bird bath by mounding a pile of sand the size and depth I wanted . I covered it with plastic.. I mixed my tufta and layered it on top of my sand pile till I had the depth I wanted.. you can make all differnt shapes doing this.. you cant get real sharp upright sides like you can when you do a mold with in a mold but you can come close... you can also add leaves and stuff to the outside for an accent to the container..
You can also carve/scoop (more scooping than carving...very easy to do) out the insides of your container casting once it's set up sufficiently to hold its shape well...usually around three hours or so for me. I use grape fruit spoons for smaller bowls/pots, large metal kitchen spoons for larger bowls/pots, and a small garden spade for troughs.
Thanks so much for posting, Kell, and I agree with Eva above--you don't always have to have a perfect inner mold. If the sides of your mold are slanted out and you are you are filling the inside, just add slowly, and perhaps don't make your mix quite as wet/sloppy as you would if you had an inner mold. It seems like it settles a little toward to bottom due to its own weight, but as Eva said above, you can carve/scoop out extras that have built up, and thin your shape a little. You can also turn your mold upside down and just put your mix over the outside, for a rougher textured exterior. What I really want to know it what the maker in the photos used for colour!! I have some cement pigments, but the greens and blues are reallllllly expensive!
Hi Kell!! I have been reading this thread and everything has been geared to how to make it, but you know, from your dimensions I am thinking you better have a permanent place for this planter or a crane to move it. It is going to weight a ton!!
I was looking at the link blomma posted and there is a section there that sounds like what you are trying to do:
"You can make your own square or rectangular forms for hypertufa or concrete objects with:
Wood (screw the pieces together)
Polystyrene foam used for house insulation
Large sheets of styrofoam
A great idea for reusable forms for hypertufa or concrete: Butt the edges of (4) pre-cut rigid foam sections; hold the edges together with bamboo or metal cooking skewers, or large nails; then wrap duct tape around the outside for added stability. Put this 4-sided form on a piece of plywood for a removable base.
And I do want to mention this in case you're brand new to making 'tufa or concrete objects ... most of the forms you will be using can have the hypertufa / concrete applied to the inside or outside. Keep in mind your item will be SMALLER than the mold if you apply your mixture to the inside; and it'll be LARGER than the mold if you apply it to the outside.
And no matter what type of form you use, you will want to use some sort of a "release agent". Please refer to my article: Release Agents: Their Use For Preparation of Concrete & Hypertufa Forms"
You can also make this like they build foundations on a house, with 2 sides, and pour the concrete in and let it set up before taking the forms off. I would find out what they use as a dryer so it doesn't take forever to set up and dry.
Sounds like a big project to me. Good luck. Jeanette
Calif_Sue Northern California United States (Zone 9a)