tufa (concrete/sand/peat moss mix for flower pots, etc.)

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Anybody tried making tufa? It is supposed to be light weight concrete to make pots and planters etc. A friend was telling me about it,but didn't have much information. I checked a few websites. Looks like it might have some homebusiness possibillities or a least some uses around the old homestead. Anyone have any experience making it? Daryll

-- Daryll (twincrk@hotmail.com), April 30, 2001


Response to tufa

Just saw a blurb on PBS about this. It's made of 1/3 concrete, 1/3 sand, and 1/3 peat moss I think. Add enough water to make a kinda dry mixture. They put a plastic bag inside of a trash can lid, packed the mixture around the edges and on the bottom and then smoothed it. Added some pretty pebbles, could use marbles or anything. Made a planter by putting a cardboard box in the plastic bag, packing mixture on the outside, allow to dry and then pull the box out of the center. Can brush with a wire brush to make it look more like stone. Looked like a fun project, if I had time.

-- Betsy K (betsyk@pathwaynet.com), April 30, 2001.

Wacky! I just did a bunch of research on tufa two days ago. I searched on google and came up with a bunch of pretty nice sites.

The recipe given above is correct for basic tufa. There are several variations to get different effects.

It sounds like it ends up being a lightweight rock.

Nothing very detailed is ever done with the rock, but it looks like it does hold water, so you can make birdbaths and the like.

-- Paul Wheaton (paul@javaranch.com), May 02, 2001.

Just wondering... When you say concrete, Do you mean the cement? Cause the concrete has sand and rock already in it. Could you use paper in it like papercrete? sounds interesting.

-- MikeinKS (mhonk@oz-online.net), May 02, 2001.

Been using the stuff for years. We make old stone sinks to use as planters. Two cardboard boxes (strong), one smaller than the other allowing about one and a half, to two inches space all round between the boxes when the smaller one os placed in the larger. Four styrene coffee cups are placed on the bottom of the outer box and the smaller box is placed on the cups (the cups are removed later and provide excellent drainage holes). The tufa mix is packed between the boxes and allowed to "go off" (set). When it's hard, the boxes are removed and the edges of the sink are rough rounded with a wire brush. Now comes the neat bit - paint the outer surface of the "stone sink" with a mixture of natural yoghurt and honey - half and half - and rub all over the surface with fresh picked moss. The moss spores attach themselves to the rough surface and the yoghurt/honey culture provides an excellent feeding surface so the moss spreads and covers the sink like it's been standing outsede for the past hundred years.

Another advantage I have found of making these look very old (apart from the "antique" prices you can charge, is that any broken sinks that don't quite make it out of the mold can often be sold as a broken stone sink and will look just as good with a corner broken off if planted with flowers cascading out and ove the edge.

The above recipe is good - and it calls for cement and not concrete BTW, and gravy browning can be added for a rich dark color, or cochenele food color for red sandstone effect, but don't forget to try the yoghurt/honey/moss trick.


-- Eric J Methven (e_methven@btinternet.com), May 02, 2001.

How long should you let a tufa pot cure? Any particulars about the drying conditions (ie, cement gets harder if its re-wetted periodically and dries slowly)?

Going to make me up a big batch and make some pots and things!


-- j (jw_hsv@yahoo.com), May 07, 2001.

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