My Draped Hypertufa Planters, Draping Fabric With a Cement Mixture

Kim Smith
by Kim Smith
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!
Kim Smith
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 10 questions
  • Reg23518347 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?

  • Liz 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?

  • Barbara Willis Barbara Willis on Dec 06, 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?

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

    Love this! Can’t wait to try it

  • Celeste 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!