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How to Make Garden Statues

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How to Make Garden Statues

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Overview

If you dream about a garden decorated with statues, but you dread the price tag that comes with them, you may choose to make your own garden statuary. You can hand-shape statues by making a mixture of hypertufa. Hypertufa is a lightweight combination of cement, organics and aggregates that resembles weathered limestone when it dries. During the wet stage, a drier mixture of hypertufa may be molded by hand. In the early stages once a mixture has set, it can still be carved easily.

Step 1

Determine the size and shape of the sculpture that you wish to create.

Step 2

Create a base for your sculpture. This base, which is known as an armature, may be made of a chicken wire frame twisted into the basic shape of the sculpture.

Step 3

Mix a hypertufa solution for your base coat of stone. Use 1 part Portland cement, 1 and 1 1/2 parts peat moss, 1 1/2 parts coarse sand, a handful of poly fibers and a handful of silica fume (a type of high-strength concrete). Add water to the mixture until it is the consistency of cake batter. Hand-apply the hypertufa over the chicken wire base. Allow the hypertufa to dry before adding a second coat. Continue to build up the hypertufa base in layers until it is the size that you want for your sculpture.

Step 4

Mix a hypertufa recipe for your final layers. This recipe will be easier to sculpt and carve. Mix 1 part peat moss, 1 part coarse sand, 1 part cement and 1 container of white craft glue to act as a bonding agent. Add enough water to make the mix the same consistency of cake batter.

Step 5

Apply the second hypertufa mixture so that it is thick enough to allow for the deepest crevices of your sculpture. As soon as the mixture has been applied to your sculpture, begin to sculpt the hypertufa. Once the surface begins to harden, it will be more difficult to sculpt.

Step 6

Rub the sculpture with a wire brush to give it a weathered look, once it has been semi-cured.

Step 7

Mist the sculpture with a spray bottle. Wrap the sculpture in plastic to allow it to cure and harden.

Things You'll Need

  • Chicken wire
  • Plastic bucket
  • Stirring rod
  • Rubber kitchen gloves
  • Portland cement
  • Peat moss
  • Sand
  • Poly fibers
  • Silica fume
  • White craft glue
  • Wire brush
  • Plastic wrap
  • Misting bottle

References

  • The Artistic Garden: Hypertufa Sculptures
  • Oregon State University Extension: How to Make Hypertufa for Garden Containers and Accents
  • Washington State University Extension: Hypertufa

Who Can Help

  • Efil Doog: Hypertufa Pots, Tubs, Troughs
Keywords: cement sculpture, garden statues, yard art

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."