Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hypertufa. Hyper-wha-ta???

HYPERTUFA. (Hyper-toofa). Until a few days ago, I had never heard of hypertufa. A lady wrote me through my Etsy shop and asked if I could make a hypertufa pot. A hyper-wha-ta???

After doing a google search and watching a few how-to videos, I knew this was something I had to look into. And by look into, I mean something I had to try right away.

Hypertufa is like concrete, but not. It is made by combining Peat Moss, Perlite, and Portland Cement. Mix those together, add some water and pretty soon you have the most amazing substance to make pots, bowls, toad houses, fake rocks, whatever your imagination can come up with!

I was so excited about trying this that I went to the store the next day and bought the materials. Oh, as always, I wore gloves and eye protection while making this. The look is way less than flattering, but sure beats concrete in my lungs or eyes.

Once I mixed the ingredients, I started to form my molds. Being that this was my first time, I really wasn't sure if I was doing this correctly or not. But, I was having fun, so I kept filling molds, or putting it on the outside of the mold to make a larger pot. From what I read, it is best to use either cooking spray or even a bag so the hypertufa does not stick to the molds. I opted for the plastic bags as I thought they might leave a cool indention on the outside of the planters.

Once I was done forming, I closed up my planters in bags and let them sit for about 48 hours. And yes, it is a long 48 hours. With this, it is better to let them dry very slowly and the longer you let them dry, the better.

But, after that 48 hours, the moment of truth was about to arrive. I slowly unwrapped each pot and drum roll please...........

........not too bad. They are still pretty wet and have a ways to go before they are done. But, a huge sigh of relief for making it this far. Whew!

Once they have been taken out of their molds, you can then fix minor things on them. I forgot a drainage hole, so I added one using a drill. Once you have them how you want them, they then go back into the bags for a few weeks to a month. "WHAT??? This is taking for-ev-er!" I mean, ahem, that seems like a long time, yes, but that just gives me a month to make some more.  Speaking of which, I went and bought some concrete color to add to my next batch. I am thinking maybe a two colored pot. Or striped. Not sure, but going to try a few things and see if any of them work out.

The thing I love about hypertufa is that you can leave it pretty rugged looking and it looks great. No need to finish it smooth or worry about a bump or dent, I think those "concrete defects" actually add to the charm and character of hypertufa.  I love anything where an imperfection makes something look better!

So, there you have it. Hypertufa. I will take pictures in a few weeks once they are dried and ready to sell.


Oh, I also tried some more rock engraving. hehe  I made this little owl and my son loved it. I think he is pretty cute for an owl.  I ended up making a few more, including a small one. They are pretty funny and so I thought I would share them with you.


Last, but not least, here is the World's Coolest Rock Ever. I found this at a garden decorating place in a big pile of rocks. Oooh, I love it. I have it at my house and it is on my end table. I had to share because it is officially the World's Coolest Rock Ever.

Take care all! I hope you try making some hypertufa. I would love to hear all about it and see some pictures.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How to Make a Log Toothbrush/Pen/Pencil Holder

Hi! Today I am going to show you how I make a log toothbrush/pen/pencil holder. These are pretty easy to make with the right tools - I know you will be able to do it.

Before beginning any project, I like to nag you, er, remind you to wear your safety goggles and a mask. Someone asked me why I wear a mask when I drill. Well, once I start drilling, bits of sawdust and splinters go flying up. Sometimes I wear a hat to keep them out of my hair, but even that doesn't work very well. I have been hit in the face with flying splinters enough times that I always wear a mask. (I am not wearing a mask in the picture as they just aren't that great to look at.)
Let's begin. 

STEP ONE:  Find a log that has a surface big enough for the number of holes you want. 

STEP TWO:  Cut the log. I always cut both ends so it sits evenly and it is also a lot easier to sand. 

STEP THREE: I mark where I want the holes with a pencil and get ready to drill. For this one, I am using a 3/4" drill bit. 

STEP FOUR: Drill, drill and keep drilling. To make sure the holes are even in depth, I marked my drill bit with nail polish. When that gets to a certain spot in the wood, I stop drilling. 

STEP FIVE:  I love my dremel. Not only is it my favorite tool but it has so many uses. For this project, I used it to clean out the holes. I used the little sandpaper attachment and that worked out nicely.

STEP SIX: Time to sand. I first used grade 60-grit and then finished it off with 220-grit. 

STEP SEVEN: Add a clear coat and whaaa-laaa, you have yourself a log toothbrush or log pencil holder.  Easy, huh?

This one is a custom order, so I ended up woodburning their names on it. I didn't take pictures as I wanted it to be special for them. 
Once you are done, it is time to relax. Put your feet up. Have a cold drink. You are done. Enjoy your hard work and finished project. It feels good to finish what you started. Enjoy it.

Take care. :)
Cindy Breninger

P.S. I am a huge Elvis fan so naturally I have an Elvis picture hanging in my garage. (Who doesn't, right???)  

And as to the "No Worms Allowed" sign, the first day my son bought a woodburner, he saw a worm in the garage and we decided we didn't want them in the garage or in the wood. Here's to hoping they abide by the sign. ;)