Make Hypertufa

Handmade Projects for Beautiful Gardens
   Styrofoam Hot Wire Cutter
Foam Cutting Wire Shapes
Cut Styrofoam Hypertufa Molds
So you want to get creative?  Cut Styrofoam using a hot wire foam cutter for those 3D projects that will marvel your friends. 
We love hot wire foam cutting.  It is quick and easy.  It doesn't leave a popcorn mess as it neatly slices rather than melting or shredding the foam.   Press the start lever and be ready to cut in just 15 seconds.   
Find the Styrofoam Hot Wire Foam Cutters and optional attachments here.
Let's begin...
Purchase the thickest foam board you can find, usually 2 inches thick and 2' x 8'.
Once you have designed a pattern cut the board in squares 3 inches wider than the model you are building.
  • Draw a cross section of your model and divide it into equal layers that represent 2 inches in height.   Estimate the widths of the holes at each level and draw them on each piece of foam board either free hand or using a pre-drawn pattern.
  • Assuming the hole is tapered, cut the smallest hole first, straight down.  Next draw the pattern on the other side and cut the hole.  Then blend the lines together.
  • Continue this for each layer.
  • Butt the layers together and use a wire hanger or skewer to hold them in place and duck tape together.
  • Carve out any inconsistencies.
  • Line it with a plastic garbage bag.
  • Press the Hypertufa in the bottom and up the sides about 2 inches thick.
  • Once set for 3 days, if necessary, cut the tape to release the mold.  Texturize and cure.
Note: For better results we find that this tool is great for thinner Styrofoam and for texturing effects.   For thick cuts, try the hot knife found at Harbor Freight a special for about $14.95 or use a keyhole saw
Lawn Stepping Stones - Two methods, both easy:
      Dig a Hole
  • Dig a hole 3 inches deep in the ground, in the shade. Line it with plastic and press in the hypertufa with wire reinforcements in between layers.  Cover it for 2 to 3 days.  Carefully dig it up and texturize it using a wire brush, (best after 2 days).  Handle it with care until it cures for a month.  Keep it hydrated while curing. 

      Cut Styrofoam

  • Using a felt pen, draw a pattern free hand and cut a hole in 2 inch Styrofoam.  Place it on a flat firm surface.  Line the hole with a plastic bag and pack it with hypertufa. 
    In between hypertufa layers use rebar or hanger wire to strengthen it.  Let it set for 2 to 3 days then unmold it and texturize it.  Cure it, keeping it hydrated for 1 month.
Add Feet
Try adding feet to a cardboard box mold.  Cut the foam to fit into the bottom and cut feet in from the edge about an inch and bevel the cut for interest.  It looks great avoiding the plain old box mold look.
In a round bucket, cut a ring to fit in the bottom to serve as a platform.  This makes a great looking planter.  See our Hypertufa eBook for details.


Toad House

  • Cut two pieces of 2" thick Styrofoam 7"x8" and 5"x8".
  • Abut them at right angles to form an L shape and attach them with 2 long nails and duck tape.
  • Cut the front and back with 4" side walls and match the roof line.
  • Cut the 2 small sides being careful to cut an angled top to tie into the roof line.

      Butt all edges, skewer together and duck tape.

      Doors and Windows 

  •  Cut two 1"x1"x2" blocks for the windows.
  •  Cut one 1.5"x2" door with an arched top.
      Stuff It!
  • Turn the mold upside down and line it with a plastic bag or smear Vaseline inside as a release agent.
  • Press in the hypertufa to be about 1.5" thick up to the level where the windows go.
  • Put the window and door blocks inside and attach them using nails from the outside.
  • Apply release agent to them.
  • Press hypertufa around the blocks to the bottom of the house.
  • Wrap the house in plastic and let set for 3 days.
  • Carefully unwrap, remove the window and door blocks and smooth off any unwanted swag.
  • Cure for 1 month keeping it hydrated.
For your handmade 3D projects and making hypertufa molds, check out our foam cutter hot wire tool.  Multiple blade shapes can produce interesting lines in your molds. 

Hypertufa eBook

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