Kim Smith
Kim Smith
  • Hometalker
  • Dayton, OH

My Draped Hypertufa Planters, Draping Fabric With a Cement Mixture


Were you looking for the Draped Hypertufa How-To? I have seen searches for cement draped planters, rags dipped in cement, and so on, but I have some directions here on how to make them. I've also included some videos to watch which will help you make your own!
I am revising a post I did in early April since there have been so many questions, and the videos to help.
How about a whole new look for a hypertufa planter? It is heavier on the Portland cement, and incredibly messy to make, but I am already planning to make more. I have seen some photos on the internet, but nothing with complete directions on how to do it. So I winged it, and these are some of my creations!
You can use any fabric you have lying around. It can be an old towel, a blanket, leftover drapery material, an old padded quilt* (No, an old quilt is too heavy to handle and I learned the hard way.)
This is Part One of Three. And yes, fast forward through my intro. I am learning as I go. But this gives you an idea of how to make them.
This video is just a quick one to show you how easy they come off the "tower" I have made to hang the fabric from.
This video shows an assortment of vases/containers/pots. I drill holes in them with a drill. It is as easy as drilling through a slender piece of wood. I use these as a holder to place a pot inside, or I have planted directly inside them. As long as there is drainage, I have had no problem.
My Largest is laundry basket size.
My recipe that I had used for this project is heavy on the cement. And by that I mean that I use a lot more cement than I would in a regular hypertufa trough recipe.
I would use
1 part Portland cement (I was using a 2 qt pitcher)
1/4 part of peat ( about 1 pint)
a handful of vermiculite and mortar mix depending on how much you want it to be textured
water, about a 2 qt pitcher as above added slowly as you get it into a slurry or gravy
Cut the fabric into a circle, an oval, or even use it as a rectangle or square. Dampen it and hang it from your "tower." This will be the support that you hang it on to dry. If you want the pointed edges, be sure your support is tall enough to allow them to drape/hang.
Your tower is your support for the project as it dries. I used a bar stool for my first one. You can use a column of paint cans. or even a lamp shade. (NO, the lamp shade didn't work for me.)
It must be something sturdy to allow your fabric to "drape" and not let the ends of the wet fabric touch to floor. It will change the look of your project if the ends of the fabric touch the floor/table.
Cover your tower in plastic! The piece is a little pliable when you attempt to get it off, but it was a struggle with that bar stool. You don't want your piece to cement itself to the tower.
Check out how it hangs or "drapes" and pull it to one side or the other until you have a vision of what you like. The large one pictured at the top of the post was made from an oval cut about 26" by 39". ( I had earlier made it bigger, but decided I just couldn't handle fabric cut that big. It was a good decision, because that sucker is HEAVY after soaking it in cement gravy.
Once it is all mixed, and you have a consistency like meat gravy, not breakfast gravy ( I'm a country girl), put the whole piece of cloth into your mix and roll it around until it is all soaked with cement on both sides.
Wear gloves of course. I had to pick the mix up and smoosh it into the fabric on both sides, being sure to get it into folds. Did I lie when I said it was MESSY?
**Be sure to mix up enough slurry to get it all wet. Depending on the size of your fabric piece, you may need to double the recipe. If you have leftovers, have a few small cloths ready to drape over a butter dish or bowl, or just pour it into those dishes to make feet for a trough.
When you are draping it over your tower, it is easy to pull and adjust until you get the look that pleases you.
(BTW, I made the biggest mess in the garage floor. Oh my! But when it dries, you can scrape it off and the ShopVac takes care of it. Whew!)
I left my creation for 2 nights in a cold garage covered with a plastic garbage bag, then pulled it off the bar stool tower support with difficulty. It is slightly pliable at this point, but did harden after the next step. I put it back into the garbage bag and left it for 24 hours.
**Important Note: Some sources on the internet speak of setting it to dry in the sun. My advice here is NOT to put it in the sun, but in a shady area and be SURE IT IS COVERED BY A PLASTIC BAG. This is what effects the cure!
After yours is fully cured and hard, you may drill a hole in it with your drill that you use to put a hole in the regular trough. Since it is very thin, it drills easily. No problem.
If you want to use it as a container in which to set a plastic pot of annuals or other flowers or plants, that is fine too.
These are Painted containers. I wanted to see how they would do and how they looked. I really thought it was striking!
These are all made with old table napkins (large ones). I have been asked about their hemmed look. Yes, they were hemmed and if I remember, were damask weave. I am not a fabric person, so not sure if that is how you speak of that fabric.
Questions: Will it be ok in winter or rain? Since I have only made these this early spring, I can report that mine have survived snow and ice storms this past spring, and mine has been in the rainiest spring and summer ever! They are fine. Be sure to check the videos out. You may need to PAINT A SECOND COAT OF THE MIXTURE onto a finished planter if it doesn't seem hard enough.
Remember, I have had failures too when the planter just did not get hard for whatever reason. Not sure why, but some just "flopped", both literally and figuratively..LOL
Well, there you are. Remember, messy, but easy. Don't try too large to start, because I am not sure that will work.
Thanks for reading this novel!

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Kim Smith

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

10 questions
  • Son3681073
    on Jan 3, 2016

    what typeof cloth and paint do you use??

    • Ann
      on Aug 20, 2016

      I Found that towels or something with good texture is best. I used an old sheet and felt it made the sides of the planters too thin and the cement tended to peal or flake off. The towels and an old vintage bedspread were the best.

    • Artemis
      on Sep 18, 2016

      I've only made two and both with old beach towels cut in half. I draped them on a square bucket (recycled cat litter tub from Sam's Club). Both had some flexibility toward the top points. I'm thinking anything thinner might be to flexible and not durable. But I haven't tried yet. Another thing, we mixed the cement in a tall Lowe's bucket, but next time we're going to use a pan (the kind you get for mixing concrete). We're thinking it will be easier to completely coat the towel in a pan rather than a bucket.

    • Robbi Fish-Lake
      on Feb 9, 2017

      I've been having fun with this! Thank you!!

    • Linda Landry
      on Feb 1, 2018

      From a youtube I watched they said use all cotton material it's the best and it should be wet before you put it in the slurry. From the same youtube they said to add mortar mix and bonding mix.
      My first one lasted only a year and a half. My next recipe I'll follow the tips from the youtube.
  • Raeanne Ederle
    on Jan 29, 2016

    Can you just use cement and water? What are the other ingredients for? Texture?

  • Anne
    on Jun 15, 2016

    I was thinking about trying this with a large sheet and using 3 bar stools as a support I am trying to create an inexpensive privacy barrier and thought that would give me some height. Any pearls of wisdom that may assist me?...

    • Beverly
      on Jul 1, 2017

      Well I've not made these before, but you will need something very wide and tall to hang the sheets from if you want them to say stand flat as a wall... but as I was writing this I envisioned it having ripples in it ! Like a shower currain...!
    • Linda Landry
      on Feb 1, 2018

      That would be extremely heavy, you need a friend or two, but sounds like a cool idea.
  • Jennifer beats
    on Apr 16, 2017

    Ok im ready to give this a try. have everything except the ingredients for the cement mixture. Where do i begin to search for these items?
    • Kim Smith
      on Apr 17, 2017

      I get them from the local garden centers or a place like Lowe's or Home Depot. I have links on the website via Amazon to order them too.
  • Jac13174052
    on May 10, 2017

    Do you have to use Peat Moss or can you just use Portland cement? What does the Peat moss do to help the planter?
  • Joyce Langson
    on Aug 14, 2017

    How long do you let these cure ,I have heard 2to 4 weeks is this necessary ? I like your videos best I think You have the experience that is helpful.

    • Kim Smith
      on Aug 14, 2017

      For these type containers, I just let them sit a few days and rinse well. I don't feel they needs weeks like the 1-2inch thick walls of a regular hypertufa container. ( My regular ones I just do about a week.) Thank you!
    • Darlene Miconi
      on Jul 12, 2018

      Ok I am getting a bit frustrated with everyone asking question that Kim clearly covers in her videos. For those of you who have watched the video's-were you even listening to Kim's thorough videos? Geez watch it again if you need answers. And while I am at it- Kim you did an outstanding job for your first video series. I look forward to more of these DYI videos. Thank you very much!!

  • Phil
    on Jan 30, 2018

    can you add dry cement colors when mixing? Lowe's, Home Depot sells dry powder colors in small containers made to mix with one bag of Portland cement in colors of an off red, brown, yellow, etc.
    • Linda Landry
      on Feb 1, 2018

      yes, I use Home depot liquid cement color, haven't tried the powder.
    • Kim Smith
      on Feb 1, 2018

      I have used the liquid only. But I think the dry would be great to try. I think it takes a lot of the liquid to get enough color, so if the dry gets me color easier, I would be grateful.
    • Phil
      on Feb 1, 2018

      I have used the colored powder sold by Lowe's and Home Depot that comes in a round plastic cylinder. It worked very well when we made some irregular garden stepping stones. Its not messy and one can store the dry excess for a different project. We have a plug in electric concrete mixer which saves on time and labor. We own a specialty plant & Asian landscape nursery, and part of it is displaying and selling Bonsai plants and containers. So Hypertufa along with homemade Bonsai pots in the Hyprtufa style will now be included as part of our retail sales and display. When is the best time to drill a drain hole in the bottom of pot?
      Phil
  • Reg23518347
    on Apr 16, 2018

    What do you do with left over mixture? How do you dispose of it. I live in a small town so I am not sure what to do with left over mixture?

    • Kim Smith
      on Apr 17, 2018

      I usually dilute the leftover mix and pour it on an old crumbling paved area near my husband's barn. That paved area is old crumbling cement anyway with some added gravel through the years, so helps hold it together no matter how minutely.

    • Necee Marie
      on Apr 30, 2018

      Make a mini hypertufa .😊

    • Darlene Miconi
      on Jul 12, 2018

      Where ever you pour it, know it will harden in to a shape that may not be pleasing to the eye. Use a plastic bag that is draped over a 12"x12" piece of wood and make a stepping stone out of the left overs. I have cement molds to make stepping stones but tried this method with the wood and worked great!

  • Liz
    on Sep 27, 2018

    Just finished my first planters. Love them. I'm sure this was answered earlier but how well do they hold up? Can you leave them out for the winter or should they come in?

    • Kim Smith
      on Sep 28, 2018

      They can stay outside all winter here in Ohio. I have not had a problem with them at all.

  • Barbara Willis
    on Dec 6, 2018

    What kind of outdoor paint do you use? I’ve made beautiful planters with spray paint, but not sure how it will hold up .. any suggestions?

    • Kim Smith
      on Dec 7, 2018

      I have used regular spray paint, and also the ones labeled for outdoors. I didn't notice any difference. When I painted by brush, I just used outdoor paint. I think it was actual House paint that I used. I hope that helps.

Join the conversation

2 of 124 comments
  • Necee Marie
    on Apr 30, 2018

    Love this! Can’t wait to try it

  • Celeste
    on Jul 19, 2018

    So sorry, I posted my comment in your question area. Let me try this again. Thank you SO much for your simple, easy tutorials! You inspired me to try my first draped hypertufa and I'm pretty pleased with the results. I wanted an old hollow log look draped with vines and flowers. I used rope for the vine and dollar store flowers and leaves all dipped in the slurry. This will be used as a spillway into my pool. Thanks again!

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