Friday, June 29, 2018

I THINK I'LL MAKE SOME MORE

Over the last few years I have made quite few of these hypertufa balls.

Hypertufa balls with Carex 'frosty curly'
Last weekend I made two new ones, the darker ones you see in this photo. It has been a project waiting on the shelf in the potting shed for some time. Too hot to be outside gardening but not too hot to work under the shade of the junipers in the back garden. 
My greatest success has been using old glass light globes as the mold, although one of these is made from an old basket ball we found in the woods. And you can make them from a child's ball by cutting a hole in the top, setting it in a bed of sand to support the mixture. See Faire Garden's how to here. I would probably feel less guilty about using one of those than the eventual destruction of the globe. But, when recently I found several globes at an estate sale I snapped them up. They make the job a lot easier.


The equipment needed is easy. A large container for the mix, the wider the better: it makes mixing easier. Gloves, trowel, jug for water, container to measure, cement, vermiculite or perlite and peat moss. And most important a face mask and protective eyewear.


One container of peat moss, vermiculite and cement was enough for two globes. I used a salad container.
Put on the mask( not much fun when the temperature is in the 90s) and measure equal parts of the peat moss, vermiculite and cement into the bowl and mix well making sure to remove any bits of twig and obvious lumps. At this point you can add colorant which you can buy at big box stores. I used some left over pigment from the making of our stucco walls.


I used just over a gallon of water in the mix but this will depend on how dry your peat moss is. it should have the consistency of cottage cheese or a heavy dropping consistency. Gather some up and squeeze. I should stay together.
Spray the inside of the mold with Pam and then add the cement shaking to settle and fill the whole of the globe.
Set aside for several days and then carefully knock the glass with a hammer. It should break away in large pieces. Now keep in a shady place until the cement cures completely.
With two more globes waiting on the shelf I made up another batch this morning. These have no added pigment so I expect them to be much lighter in color.


An hour later when I went back to take a photograph the ants were parading up and down the globes and clustering together on the sides.. They were after the water that had settled on the top as the cement dries out. Now that's what I call desperate for a drink.

For me that's it for ball making. I think I have satisfied my need.

12 comments:

  1. Yes, of course, the globes make so much sense. Thanks for this!

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  2. Ants do seem to come out of nowhere and get into everything!

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  3. I used to use the mix but now use shapecrete which is a commercial mix that I buy at Home Depot. It is so much easier than mixing up up all the ingredients, It makes perfect balls.

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    1. That's interesting Claire. Thanks for that information. It will certainly save others who plan on making the balls a lot of time and energy. I'm going to look for it next time I am there. You are right about it being a messy job but I happened to have all the ingredients on hand.

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    2. You only use the mix, nothing else?

      Malcolm W.
      Abilene, TX

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  4. What a great project for a hot day. They look great in your garden.

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  5. Fun! I wonder if I can make some this summer...

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  6. Love the hypertufa balls! I just made my first hypertufa thing (a leaf-shaped planter) a couple weeks ago at a class. Quite fun!

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  7. Clever use of old glass globes as molds!

    The only thing I can finish in hot weather is ice cream.

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  8. Thank you for posting. I will have to wait till the fall to try and make them. It's way too hot out there now.

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  9. This is really interesting but my idea of how you made these has been turned upside down. Until now, I didn't realize the globes were molds - I thought you formed a shell of hypertufa on the outside so the globes were actually hollow. Duh.

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