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Leaf-Embossed Tabletop Mold

The broad leaves of elephant's ear lend a breezy, tropical feel to this hypertufa tabletop. The greenery is arranged on a Plexiglas base before the mold is filled. Sand stirred into the mixture and a hidden layer of mesh supply the necessary reinforcement.


  • Spray adhesive
  • Klubbo nesting tables, from Ikea, 800-434-4532
  • Textured leaves, such as elephant's ears
  • 1/4-inch-thick Plexiglas, cut to fit your table base, Home Depot, 800-553-3199
  • Four 2-inch-long pieces of 1-by-4-inch wood
  • Four lengths of 1-by-4-inch wood (frame sides), cut at least 4 inches longer than each side of Plexiglas
  • Drill with regular and masonry bits
  • 8 wood screws
  • 4 C or A clamps
  • Universal Smooth-On Mold Release (No. 66MR1), from the Compleat Sculptor, 800-972-8578
  • Gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Peat moss (No. 809383), and perlite (No. 809352), both by Miracle-Gro; Gray
  • Perlite
  • Portland cement, from Home Depot, 800-553-3199
  • Rubber mallet
  • Wire-mesh hardware cloth, cut 1/2-inch shorter than Plexiglas on all sides
  • Sand
  • Sheet of plastic


  1. Step 1


    Mount leaves. Using spray adhesive, mount leaves (textured-side up) onto Plexiglas in desired pattern, securing the stems as well.

  2. Step 2


    Construct mold. Stack a 2-inch piece of wood at 1 end of 1 wood frame side, aligning the edges; using drill, secure with 2 wood screws. Repeat, securing remaining 3 wood pieces to remaining frame sides; these stacked pieces will give the clamps something to grip at each corner. Align 1 frame side at bottom-left corner of Plexiglas, with 2-inch piece facing out. At bottom-right corner, add second frame side, aligning 2-inch piece with corner. Clamp both frame sides in place at bottom-right 2-inch piece. Repeat process to complete the square, adjusting as needed so that there is no space between wood and Plexiglas. Coat mold interior with mold-release spray.

  3. Step 3

    Prepare hypertufa mixture (see "Basic Hypertufa How-To"): Wearing gloves and dust mask, mix 8 quarts peat moss, 8 quarts perlite, and 8 quarts Portland cement in a large, shallow bin. Add water gradually until mixture has the consistency of yogurt. Pour mixture into mold to a 1-inch depth. Tap exterior gently with rubber mallet to level mixture. Lay mesh hardware cloth on top of mixture, centering it. Mix 2 quarts of sand into remaining mixture, and pour it on top of hardware cloth. Tap exterior again with rubber mallet. Cover with plastic.

  4. Step 4


    4. Let set for 36 hours, then gently remove mold. Flip tabletop over. Gently pull away Plexiglas; gently remove embedded leaves from hypertufa slab. Wrap it with plastic, and let cure for several weeks (a month is best).

Reviews (1)

  • 30 Sep, 2012

    it would be useful to see an illustration or photo of the mold assembly for those of us that have never made molds this way before. thanks!