Hypertufa: Make Your Own Lightweight Planters

Hypertufa pots — lightweight, homemade, customizable alternatives to cement or terracotta planters — have long been on my extensive list of "projects to tackle once I have space to make a big mess, and a garden hose to clean up said mess". Someday! Until then, perhaps you'd like to take a run at it, and tell us how it goes...

I learned about hypertufa pots in the March 2010 Martha Stewart Living, and I'm so excited by the possibilities. As Marcie McGoldrick wrote, "I was intrigued to learn that the planters were composed of just three accessible, inexpensive substances: perlite, Portland cement, and peat moss." Now, toting bags of cement and peat moss home on the bus might not be any easier than lugging pots home, but perhaps when I finally have that mythical garden hose I'll also be able to get a ride. Besides the three components, all you need to make pots are vessels of pleasing sizes and shapes: milk cartons, bowls, wooden boxes, and more. The pots in the first photo were made using milk cartons, the faux bois pots were (painstakingly) made using a custom-built mold and four faux bois panels. I think my favorites are the round planters you can see on the right in the first photo, which got their shape from metal bowls.

I especially like what Marcie has to say about the hypertufa process, an unusual statement in the often perfection-focused world of MSL: "After making many containers and a couple of tabletops, I found the process quite rewarding. It is not an exact science, which is part of the fun: Every pot has the potential to surprise." Have any of you tried hypertufa? Any tips? Is it really as easy as it seems, or did you ruin your shoes/pants/patio/bowls?

Images: Square & Faux Boix Pots by Tara Donne for Martha Stewart Living, Garden Notebook by Tess Wilson