How to make your own lightweight cement planting pots

Written by jennifer loucks
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Create your own hypertufa cement planting pot at home with a few easy-to-find supplies. The pots make great accent planters for flower and rock gardens. Purchase and organise all supplies prior to starting the pot-making process since the cement needs to be worked with quickly to prevent it from drying before you are finished. Make sure to wear old clothes, lay out a dust sheet, and work in a well-ventilated area as the project can get messy.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Dust sheet
  • Peat moss
  • Perlite
  • Portland cement
  • Plastic mixing tub
  • Water
  • Rubber gloves
  • Face mask
  • ¾-inch wire mesh
  • Wire clipper
  • Wooden dowel
  • Tape
  • Mason trowel
  • Plastic sheeting

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  1. 1

    Make a mould for the pot you are creating. An easy method is to use a cardboard box for the exterior size you want and place a smaller box inside for the interior hole. Make sure the boxes leave a one- to two-inch space for the cement sides.

  2. 2

    Lay a dust sheet under the cement mixing and assembly area. Create the cement mixture by mixing three parts peat moss, three parts perlite, and two parts Portland cement in a plastic mixing tub.

  3. 3

    Mix the three dry ingredients together. Slowly add water and mix with your hands to form a cement mixture that has the texture and consistency of cottage cheese.

  4. 4

    Cut a section of ¾-inch wire mesh (chicken wire) to fit the bottom of the exterior cardboard box. Cut one inch off of each side of the mesh to easily fit into the box. Pour one inch of cement into the bottom of the exterior cardboard and place the wire mess of top of the cement. Do not have the interior box inside the exterior box when pouring the bottom layer of cement. Pour an additional one inch of cement on top of the wire mesh. Smooth the surface of the cement with a mason trowel.

  5. 5

    Create drainage holes into the bottom of the pot by poking two 4-inch pieces of wooden dowel through the poured cement, making sure the dowel goes through one of the 3/4-inch holes in the wire and touches the bottom of the box. Poke the holes in the centre area of the pot so the interior mould fits over top of the dowels. Leave the dowels in the pot until the cement dries.

  6. 6

    Reinforce the sides of the pot by folding the cover flaps of the interior box to the inside and taping securely. Place the interior box upside down in the pot, making sure it is centred. The bottom of the box is facing upwards. The box opening is covering the dowels set in place for drainage.

  7. 7

    Cut sections of mesh wire to fit around the four sides of the box mould. Cut one inch off each side of the mesh wire. Place the wire inside the mould so it is centred between the walls of the exterior and interior box moulds.

  8. 8

    Fill the pot walls with cement using a mason's trowel. Push the cement down into the pot with a stick to eliminate air holes. Smooth the top edges of the pot with a mason trowel once the sides are filled with cement.

  9. 9

    Cover the mould with plastic sheeting while the cement sets. Allow the pot to cure for up to six weeks, however most pots are usable after one week. Remove the interior and exterior boxes and dowels to finish the pot.

  10. 10

    Repair cracks that may appear in the pot after use by applying cement to the damaged area.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear a dust mask while mixing the cement to prevent inhalation of the fine particles.
  • Wear gloves while mixing the cement for easy cleanup.
  • Do not use wood or metal for the mould unless they are lined with plastic.

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