Making Rock Planters?

Lately I have seen planters that look like rocks with a hole in it for the plant. They are rather costly but I think I've figured out how to make them EXCEPT for one thing that I'm hoping some can help me with.


They are made of concrete but are fairly light weight. They seem to have something mixed with the concrete, looks like styrofoam beads or the like. Any suggestions what it might be and where one can buy it? If -no- WHEN I get it figured out completely I will share with you. Thanks!

Donna from Dayton, Ohio

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By Roz (Guest Post)
May 22, 20070 found this helpful

The process is called "Hypertufa" If you "Google" it you will get recipes. Cheers, Roz

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May 22, 20070 found this helpful

Cement mixing is as easy as cake batter but know that the dust will do you great harm period. Don't chance it when working with it by NOT using your face mask as well as long cuff rubber gloves and safety glasses. I don't mean to scare you but working cement is nasty stuff if mishandled and not respected for what it is... With that out of the way to your question about light hand made rocks, find white Portland cement at larger hardware outlets that handle it (white is better to achieve purity of hue if or when you go to color the mix). "Portland" is the name of the process of making the product and not a brand name and it is sold almost everywhere in the color of grey so IF you want good color, find the WHITE. Now that you've found your cement, also buy equal amounts of fine industrial sand from the same place and you're almost set. Those are the two basic ingredients for just plain grout mixed in various ratios to one another according to the application. You'll also need some type of aggregate to make this into concrete. Aggregate is the filler used to create volume and ranges in types from heavy iron and granite to light rock shavings as well as Peat Moss. Early Roman masons also used rice in their mix along with many types of grain and some of their work is still standing lol. Vermiculite and Perlite are two of the best aggregates to use for hand made planter type rocks that are light and sturdy. Use the following recipe and see how it works for you:)


Mix thoroughly dry first in a wheel barrow or wash tub that's easy to work in with a common garden hoe or strong spatula (Professionals use their trowells but they also cost a good $$ so just find what works for you).

1 part white Portland Cement
1 part sand
2 parts Perlite

Combine thoroughly and introduce water to it slowly and start working towards creating a mix about the consistency of hand made biscuit dough or a little thicker ( when it's ready you should be able to grab a handfull easily without it slipping through your fingers yet wet enough so when you squeeze it a little water escapes. When it's this way, walk away for about 10 minutes and let it sit.

Hopefully by this time you have some idea of the shape you want your rock and again, hopefully, you've made a rudimentary skeleton form of it that your concrete will adhere to when applied. If not, you can just blob out the mixture in a free style form and it will harden into a shape you can work with a few tools (file, chisel, sandpaper, etc.) as well as making the plant hollow any number of ways such as pushing a cereal bowl down into the still wet mix or even push your hand print deep and use that for small places.


Please forgive my long windedness in this explanation but I enjoy making things with cement and hope you have fun with it... Again, be safe with these products because they are the same things used by professionals.

To achieve different colors, buy regular water based acryllic paint at any hobby section of many places, thin it in a pint of water water and get the color/colors you want and pour the "1 part" of sand in with it before you mix it with the cement and thoroughly mix the sand until it is the right color you want yet still somewhat dry (NOT soupy). You can use a regular plastic gallon pitcher to do all your measuring. They above recipe will yield right at a 5 gallon bucket full o concrete to work with and is not very heavy.

Hope this helps after you wake up from the nap reading all this has brought on... lol

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By Gillian (Guest Post)
May 23, 20070 found this helpful

There is a spray paint you can buy which is stone effect, why not trymaking one out of clay and spray paint it, the paint is real effective

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July 20, 20070 found this helpful

Hypertufa....great fun & beautiful planters -- I usually line my form w/ plastic for easy removal when it sets -- then I drill the holes and then I sit out to season for a month of rain (we get plenty in the PacNW)...I also take large black planters, put it w/ the bottom up -- cover w/ hypertufa (let sit 2 days & be sure you punch the drain hold) -- then I wrap the planter w/ chicken wire, cover it w/ hypertufa to include the lip...let set for about 5 days in a dry place..people will think you paid a fortune for hypertufa & you will gets lots more's far simpler than it sounds (be sure to wear a mask when mixing) and the results are sooooo spectacular. I make them as gifts -- they arent heavy (oh I do have one that looks like the Alamo) -- there's a brand new book out on this but I get my info off the fun fun cj in camas wa

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By Jeri Anderson (Guest Post)
April 25, 20080 found this helpful

I can't wait to try this. I have been trying to figure out how to make pots for outside (the big ones and little) made out of colored pea gravel.


They are so pretty. I saw them at a street fair once. They can be kind of expensive, so I want to learn how to make them.

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By Bird (Guest Post)
June 1, 20080 found this helpful

One kind is lime rock and you use a tool to make the hole, also, you can buy\ kits, some are a little expensive but I would love to have them to make my own rocks and yard art. put concrete cement yard art molds, molds and all different sites that sell them will come up, or email me and I will send you couple of the sites, BirdzWOrd AT I have an interest in that sort of thing too.

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By Tim (Guest Post)
August 4, 20080 found this helpful

I actually have a machine that cuts rocks for planters. I use real stone and cut them to make all kinds of products.


My website is My contact info is on there is your interested.

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By Gerry B (Guest Post)
August 29, 20080 found this helpful

The subject you are referring to is called Tufa - look it up in any rock gardening book.

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By (Guest Post)
August 29, 20080 found this helpful

I have made planters similar to this. They are called hypertuffa and it is concrete mixed with peat moss. You can do a search on the internet and should come up with the recipe.

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December 14, 20080 found this helpful

Hi All, Based date of first response on this website, I am assuming that you are referring to our life-like rock planters and pots that we first exposed this product in the Ohio and related regions in the USA back in 2004-2005. If it is true, please visit our website at


we are canadian company with manufacturing based in china and we can produce thousands of the same rock

Our products are made of cement with 100% natural composition and approx. 30-40% lighter than real rock.
And it is not hypertuffa which is kinda rough and will scratch your hands, and we dont use acrylic paint, and
will wear off over time in the rain sun and snow, our colors last 10+ years left outside no problem.

thanks, i really enjoyed your feedbacks

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