Thursday, May 25, 2017

GARDEN PROJECT: Whimsical Toadstools and Succulent Tray


Here’s a simple but effective succulent tray you can make featuring toadstool accessories. 
 What you need:
-heavy plastic sheeting to cover work surface
-two equal sized pieces of styrofoam or insulation foam at least 12 inches square. One of the two pieces should be at least 2 inches thick. Rectangle shapes work fine as well. 
-ruler and a Sharpie pen
-keyhole saw
-3 inch common nails
-baking spray
-protective mud gloves (Your gardening gloves will work fine.)
-trowel and plastic mixing bucket
-a length of ½-inch pipe or rebar
-a brick
-a fresh batch of hypertufa.  Use your favorite recipe or try mine:
(http://fromthesummersgarden.blogspot.com/p/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-ja-x_10.html)
-permanent craft glue such as Goop or E6000.
-exterior craft paint of latex paint

What you do

1. Use one of the two pieces of foam as the base for your tray mold. If they are of different thicknesses, use the thicker piece for the top part of the mold.
2.  Draw a rectangle or square on the top mold piece leaving a 1 ½ inch thick border around the edges.  Use the keyhole saw to cut out the rectangle resulting in a foam frame shape.

3.  Position this frame shape on top of the bottom piece of the mold.  Use the nails to pin the frame to the base piece, spacing them about 4 inches apart all the way around the frame.

4.  Once the mold is assembled, generously spray the inside with the baking spray.

5.  Mix up the hypertufa to a clay-like consistency.  It should stick together when squeezed, resembling gray hamburger.

6.  Sprinkle hypertufa over the entire bottom of the mold in a one-inch layer. Press the hypertufa together with your gloved hands creating a smooth solid surface.   Tamp the bottom layer with the brick to get a smooth even surface.

7.  Out line the perimeter of the frame with a thick border of hypertufa.  Use your fingers to press it to the sides of the mold and smooth together.

8.  Use the brick to square the sides and corners of the tray.  You can create a fluted edge by pressing the sides in even increments with the ½-inch  piece of rebar. Finally poke one or two drainage holes in the bottom with the pipe or rebar. Set aside, out of the weather, to set and harden for at least two days .

9. Roll 6 baseball-sized balls of hypertufa.  This will make three complete toadstools.  If you’d like more toadstools, roll two balls for every toadstool.

10.  For each toadstool, roll one ball into a thick stalk-like stem.  Flatten a second ball into a mushroom cap and round the edges.  Be careful not to make the caps too thin or they will break easily. Use the rebar to flute the caps if you’d like.   Allow these caps to set over night.  The next day they should be hard enough to carefully pick up.

11.  Use the sharp corner of a trowel to bore a depression in the bottom center of each toadstool cap and allow to cu    

12.    Glue the toadstool caps to the stems with Goop Household Cement or E6000 craft cement.   

13.  Leave the toadstools plain or paint them with exterior paints.      
14.  Pot up the tray with succulents and add the toadstools for the finishing touch. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
If you’d like to make these toadstools and succulent tray but do not feel up to doing it yourself, join is in a creative workshop offered repeatedly through the summer.  For more info visit: peaceinmygarden.com

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