concrete planters are very cool. they can also be pretty expensive. fortunately, they’re SO CHEAP to make at home. i made some hypertufa planters for a friend for our low-budget diy secret santa swap last christmas and she flipped for them. i’ve been wanting to make my own ever since, and have very slowly been collecting plastic containers to use as molds.
hypertufa is basically a light cement aggregate made using portland cement, peat moss and vermiculite or perlite, meant to mimic tufa, a type of slow-forming limestone. there are tons of tutorials online so i won’t go into much detail here on how to make them. all i’ll say is you need those three ingredients (portland cement, peat moss and vermiculite/perlite), water, a mold release like cooking oil spray, and some forms to use as molds. the molds can be plastic, wood, or even cardboard (and not just the wax-coated milk containers either). the ratios of ingredients vary with the tutorials, but it seems like you can make it up to suit your style. if you want something really organic-looking, use more peat moss and vermiculite/perlite. for a more industrial look, use mostly concrete. for my friend’s planters i used a 1:1:1 ratio and just enough water to get it sloppy but not too drippy. obviously the lighter you want it, the less concrete you will use, but just make sure you use enough to keep it all together. mine are curing (day 1 of 21) as i type this, and i used mostly concrete with a little bit of vermiculite and no peat moss at all.
as you can see, inner molds are not necessary. if your mixture is dry enough you can just press it up the sides of your mold without it slipping down. i did the planter on the right first and used this method. the hypertufa dried a little while i was doing that, so i added a little water and it got too wet. the planter on the left needed that inner mold to keep the sides from collapsing in while it cures for a few weeks. if you use an inner mold, just don’t forget to grease it up like you did with the insides of the outer molds.
below are some great tutorials that will have you making your own planters in no time. seriously, the hardest part is collecting all your molds.
maximum zen for minimum yen: hypertufa planters, make magazine
video: how to make hypertufa pots, lowes
how to make hypertufa planters, wikihow
pots with a personal touch: hypertufa, martha stewart