My Hypertufa Trough Keeps Breaking Apart

A Very Frustrated Hypertufa Trough Maker
Seeks Helpful Advice & Answers To Her Problem

I received this email plea for assistance from “Laughing”:

Please help me Claudia! I have tried the hypertufa beginner recipe several times and my ‘tufa troughs and containers break apart while taking them out of the molds I am using, which are simple large plastic containers – nothing fancy or anything. Just rectangular containers.

Only 2 of my hypertufa troughs out of about 20 have survived! Any thoughts?

Help please. Laughing

My reply:
Hi Laughing:
Oh dear … sorry to hear about this and I know you really aren’t laughing! (But if you are – good for you! Life has too many other things to get stressed over … hypertufa isn’t one of them! 😉 )

Unfortunately, I can’t nail down where the problem lies, as I haven’t a clue to everything you are doing, from A to Z. But my BIGGEST guess, based on years of experience in helping other beginners with the same problem is this:

    ??Are your ratios of dry ingredients to water correct??
    This is normally the #1 culprit that causes disasters.

I will also ask are you unmolding them too soon? Or perhaps you’re not providing enough moisture during the cure process? You should make it a point to peek inside the plastic bag you’ve wrapped your troughs in to see if condensation is collected on the inside of the bag every now and then.

Perhaps my reply doesn’t sound too helpful, but really … either a too dry or too wet mixture is what normally causes the problems. It *sounds* like maybe too dry a mixture is why the portland can’t set-up nice and strong, since you say they fall apart. Even though when you apply the mixture it seems OK, after the item(s) start to cure, that’s when the issue of not enough water in the hypertufa recipe becomes apparent.

If your mixture was too wet, most times it would start slumping off the sides of your form and you’d know almost instantly you had goofed and used too much water in the recipe.

My only other stab-in-the-dark guess is are you really using the right ingredients as listed in the beginner’s recipe?

Good luck and I hope this sets you on the right path.

Hey “Artistic-Garden” readers … want to learn about ‘tufa trough making? Then click this link to read my instructions on how to make a hypertufa trough. And remember to be mindful of the ratio of water you use in your recipe! 🙂


  1. I believe it is a good idea to start making tufa pots with round bowls. Do not have corner to contend with. Good luck. It is good messy fun.

  2. Sometimes it takes a few experiments to fine tune the mix, depending on differences in your local ingredients. Make smaller hypertufa projects first to figure out the best proportions before tackling a trough.

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