How to Carve Hypertufa

Kimberly Caines

Hypertufa can instantly enhance the appearance of your garden. The artificial stone is lightweight and can be made into a variety of items, such as plant containers, boulders, stepping stones and sculptures with faces. Aside from using molds to shape hypertufa, you can carve the material into the desired shape.

Decorative boulders in gardens may look like stone, but are often made from hypertufa.

To get the best results, learn about the correct way to handle and sculpt hypertufa.

Hypertufa Mix for Carving

To carve hypertufa, its consistency must be thick and resemble cookie dough. If hypertufa has a liquid consistency, which is often required when using molds, carving it will be difficult. To get the right consistency, mix equal parts of Portland cement, peat moss, and perlite or vermiculite. Slowly add water to the mixture. Use enough water so you can form a ball with the mixture in your hands. Always wear gloves and goggles when mixing your ingredients. Use the mixture immediately, because if you set it aside for later use, it will harden and you'll have to start over again.

Making Your Carving Block

To make a hypertufa carving block you can use a cardboard box. Pack the inside of the box with the hypertufa mixture. Lift the box and tap the bottom on a table to get rid of air bubbles. The mixture must be tightly packed into the box. Place the box on a table and wait approximately 10 minutes so the hypertufa can set. Remove the walls from the box so you have full access to your carving block.

Carving Hypertufa

Hypertufa can be carved with a wide variety of tools, such as knifes, spoons, chisels, nails and files. While the carving block is still moldable you can start sculpting it into the desired shape. You can carve the square block into an oval by shaving off the edges, or you can sculpt a face on the front of the block. Use a spoon to scoop out the eyes and sculpt lips and a nose from the removed, excess material. Run a wire brush over your sculpture to smooth the surface.

Curing Your Carved Hypertufa

Once you're done carving hypertufa it needs to set and harden. Place your sculpture in a large plastic bag and set it aside for approximately one week. Place the bagged sculpture in direct sunlight. If this is not possible, a shaded area will also work. Sprinkle water on your sculpture daily during the curing period. After one week you can place your sculpture in the desired area of your garden.