First we went shopping at a nearby Beauty supply store and found Styrofoam wig mannequins for less than $4, so we each bought one.
It was easy enough to saw off the top of the Styrofoam heads with a serrated kitchen knife and scoop out the Styrofoam with a spoon to form a cavity.
And we were pleasantly surprised to see that there was already a hole in the head! So all we had to do was to punch it through to insure good drainage for our pot heads.
Next we coated the heads with Elmer’s wood glue so that the hypertufa mixture would adhere to the Styrofoam.
While the glue dried to a tacky consistency, we mixed up the hypertufa. It’s best to work outside when mixing up and applying the hypertufa, because it can get a bit messy.
All of the ingredients for hypertufa are available at home improvement stores . Use a mortar pan for mixing the ingredients, but a large bucket or pan can also be used.
Portland cement is the bonding agent, and care should be taken to purchase Portland cement and not concrete. Cement and concrete are not the same thing. Portland cement is the name of a type of cement, not a brand name.
There are many recipes for hypertufa, but the one we use calls for 1 part Portland cement, 1½ parts vermiculite, and 1½ parts peat moss. And water.
(And a heads up about safety! It’s important to wear rubber gloves, a dust mask, and goggles when working with hypertufa because the Portland cement can be caustic.)
Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly, removing any pieces of wood that might be in the peat moss, and add a small amount of water (that’s the tricky part) until it forms a ball when squeezed.
Begin applying the hypertufa to the Styrofoam, pressing firmly. We also added some liquid concrete bonding adhesive (available in the masonry department where you buy the Portland cement) and that seemed to help it adhere better.
And here is the completed wig form covered in hypertufa. We tried to give the eyes, nose, and mouth some definition. We also added ears and built up around the neck to give more stability.
Finally we placed the planters in plastic bags in a shady location to cure for about a month, after which they were removed from the bags and left outside so that the rains could leach away the lime from the cement. Lime can be toxic to plants.
Now they are ready for planting.