Wear waterproof gloves. Hypertufa is caustic because of the cement, and abrasive because of the additives. Preserve your skin and always wear your gloves. Wash hands immediately after you are finished.
Get familiar with the properties of your recipe. There are many hypertufa recipes out there. Some are heavier than others, but not necessarily stronger. Some have additives such as synthetic fibers or bonding agents. When beginning, stick to the basic lightweight stuff. You can find a few good ones in the next article.
Line your molds with plastic sheeting. Hypertufa sticks to molds and getting your creation out in one piece is easier if you line the mold with plastic. Repurposed plastic from grocery bags makes a fine liner. A smooth interior surface isn’t required. Overlapping and wrinkles will add character. Always wash your permanent molds immediately after use.
Watch out for wind. Hypertufa is very fussy about its moisture and the evaporation process. You can do every step correctly, but if you have a lot of airflow around you, your project may crumble or crack. Work in a sheltered spot, and no fans, please.
Don’t try to rush the curing process. Hypertufa, like concrete needs the proper conditions for curing to insure its strength. It’s not a one day process and trying to speed things along will not help at all. Follow all steps and procedures for a long lasting return on your time investment.
As with any medium, take some time to acquaint yourself with the properties and limitations. Keeping this in mind, there is a lot of versatility and as you become more familiar with hypertufa you can move on to more challenging creations. It’s so much fun and simple enough for most anyone to do it. Working with hypertufa will bring back memories of childhood mud pie making…it’s not exactly that simple, but it’s close.
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Hypertufa Tips, Techniques and Recipes