This idea was originally published in our 2016 Winter issue. Subscribe today and save off newsstand prices! You’ll get ALL the projects delivered to you in six jam-packed issues per year.
1. Fold 4”x36” piece of cardboard in half forming a ”v” shape. Bend opposite 4” ends toward inside and staple together ½” in from edges. Make small bends in cardboard to form heart as shown. Place heart shape on top of 18” square cardboard. Apply tape ½” up side of heart and ½” on cardboard base, overlapping tape as you go around the heart as shown.
2. Cover work surface with tablecloth. Wearing gloves and mask, measure four cups of perlite, four cups of moss and four cups of cement in container. Remove large pieces and break up chunks. Mix well using hands or spoon. Set aside two cups of mixture in case mixture is too watery.
3. To add color, mix small amounts of colorant to 1½ cups of water until desired color is achieved. Add colored water to dry mixture with an additional 1½ cups of plain water. If more color is desired, add colorant to small amount of water and add to dry mixture. For natural gray color, slowly pour 3 cups of water into dry mixture. Mix well with hands or spoon and avoid getting mix too wet. You can always add more water. Mixture should stick together when squeezed in hands and not dripping. If too wet, add some of the reserved dry mixture from Step 2.
4. Scoop some mixture in your hands and press together to form a 1”-thick hamburger patty. Press into bottom of mold. Continue filling in bottom of mold and come up sides with “hamburgers,” slightly overlapping and pressing together until smooth. With one hand inside and one outside of mold, press around sides. If hypertufa slumps down sides of mold, too much water was added. Allow hypertufa to set for five minutes and press back into place.
5. Tap lightly around outside of container with a rubber mallet or hammer to move trapped air bubbles and smooth top edge with hands.
6. Place hypertufa in a plastic bag and let it set for 24-36 hours before gently removing mold. The hypertufa is very fragile at this point so handle gently. Place hypertufa back in plastic bag without the mold and set in a dry place for two to four weeks to finish curing.
7. To remove alkali, mix ½ cup vinegar and 1 gallon of water and place in hypertufa container for 30 minutes. Discard and rinse with water. Let dry. For drainage holes, use drill with a 3/8” bit to make several holes in bottom of pot.
8. Fill heart with potting soil and plant with succulents.