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Make Hypertufa Pots

Create rustic, textured containers from a mixture of Portland cement, perlite (or vermiculite), and water. Once you master this technique, you can make containers in any size.

 Three hypertufa pots

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

Few hours

Estimated Cost


Tools and Materials

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Step 1

 Hypertufa Step 1: Mix dry ingredients

Measure ingredients in a 1:1:1 ratio in proportion to the volume of your container. Combine Portland cement, perlite (or vermiculite) and peat moss in a large tub or container. Mix ingredients well with your hands before adding 1 part water.

Always wear gloves and a mask when mixing. Remove any large pieces and break up any chunks so they will mix well with the water.

Step 2

Hypertufa Step 2: Add water

Add water slowly, and mix it in well. Avoid getting the mix too wet.

Step 3


The proper mixture should have the consistency of cottage cheese - when you squeeze the mix in your hand, it should stick together and a little water should drip from it. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes.

Step 4


Spray the inside of the 5-quart pail with nonstick cooking spray. Press a little of the mixture into the bottom of the mold. Add more of the mixture, working your way up the sides.

Step 5


Once the sides are covered with the mixture, spray the outside of the 2-1/2-quart pail with nonstick cooking spray. Insert the 2-1/2-quart pail into the middle of the 5-quart pail to create a pot.

Step 6


Tap around the outside of the container with a rubber mallet to move large bubbles to the surface. Smooth any lumps around the top edge with your hands to get the desired shape.

Step 7


Wrap the hypertufa with a plastic bag to hold in the moisture as it cures. Let it set up for 24 to 36 hours before gently removing from the mold.

Step 8


Once the hypertufa pot has cured, tap the sides of the pail with the rubber mallet to loosen the pot. Set in a dry place for two to three weeks to finish drying.

Step 9


The pot will cure to a light gray. File or sand the edges for a smoother finish. Use a drill and a 3/8-in. bit to create a drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.

Expand on this basic technique to make interesting hypertufa structures. Change your molds to make larger or smaller pots. Give a pot texture by choosing molds with designs, or add items - such as dowel rods - to the hypertufa mixture.

Add a decorative finish by painting the outside with copper spray paint. Then use a dry rag to lightly dab on turquoise paint for a weathered look.