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What you need:
  • 1 bag of cement(portland cement is best)
  • 1 bag of sand
  • 1 bag of fine peat moss
  • Coffee can or other measuring device
  • Plastic dishpan
  • Large plastic tub for mixing
  • Plastic bag or plastic wrap
  • Piece of 1/2" wooden dowel
  • Wire brush
  • Thick rubber gloves

Hypertufa is inexpensive and easy to make. Combine 1 part cement mix, 1 part sand, and 2 parts peat moss together in a large, shallow tub. Avoid using prepared cement that contains gravel as it will give the finished container a coarse texture. Measure the ingredients by volume, not by weight. A large coffee can works great for measuring.
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Once all of the different components are thoroughly combined, start gradually adding water to the mix. Put on a pair of rubber gloves and mix in the water. Keep adding water until the hypertufa becomes the consistency of Play Dough. If the hypertufa becomes too wet, the mix won't hold its shape in the mold. If this happens, just add a little more of the dry mix to absorb the excess water.
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The mold being used for this trough is a standard plastic dishpan, however almost any plastic or wood container can be used. In order to keep the hypertufa from sticking to the mold, line the inside of the dishpan with plastic.
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Start pressing the hypertufa into the mold, keeping a thickness of about 1 " on the bottom and sides. If the mix is the right consistency, it should hold its form just fine.
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Once you finish pressing the hypertufa into the mold, use a " wood dowel to make a few drainage holes in the bottom of the trough. Cover the top of the mold with plastic and let the mix set.
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It should take about 24 hours for the hypertufa to set properly. Ideally, you should be able to scratch the surface of the container with your fingernail, but it shouldn't give if you press into it with your finger. Carefully turn the mold over and remove the trough. Remove the plastic from the outside of the container.
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Use a wire brush to round off any sharp edges and to give the trough a weathered appearance.
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The finished container should be allowed to cure for an additional month or so. Keep it in an area where it is protected from direct sunlight and freezing temperatures. After the container is sufficiently cured, it needs to be washed thoroughly to remove the highly alkaline chemical residue left from the wetted cement. For a beautilful finish, try covering the outside of the container with moss.