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Our members create some pretty remarkable items & artwork.  And, even better, they are great about sharing their knowledge, techniques & experiences.  That's what TGAF is all about...sharing the know-how.  One of the driving forces behind building this site was to provide a place where all their contributions could be permanently housed and made U-Boat Replica Watches available for craftsfolk & artists to reference.  Now and always.  Together, we can build a virtual & ever growing "Library of Alexandria" dedicated to the subject. 

panerai luminor marina 1950 3 days replica


WildWorldWoman (aka; Langley) has put together an exceptionally thorough birdbath tutorial.  In fact, it is so detailed it won't fit here!  So here is her link to the Photobucket album where it resides. Outstanding job! Thank you WWW!

Langley's Most Excellent Birdbath Tutorial


A top notch mosaic bench tutorial from our good friend and TGAF Member "klinger" (who we all also know and love as Cindy)!  Thank you Cindy!


Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 168
Location: Nanaimo B.C. Canada
PostPosted: 24 Jun 2007 08:50 am    Post subject: This years first mosaic bench   

I haven't made any mosaic benches for a while so I got the urge to make one for under a willow tree I have. I thought I'd take some pics of the process, cause I sure like it when other people do their how tos,

The bench starts out with the glass pieces being stuck to contact type paper pattern down and placed into a bench top mold. The same idea would work for mosaic stepping stones etc. A bench top mold could be made from wood also,then I added about an inch at most of mix, I used some brown colorant, fibres, and a three to one sand and portland mix. When I have spread it out I then vibrate the mold to remove air bubbles and make sure all the little crevices are filled.

Then I lay some rebar down to give this more strength, I have some times painted the rebar with a rust inhibitor paint, but didn't bother with it. Finished filling the bench top mold and then filled my leg molds. There is tape on the leg molds to help them to not bow out so much when filled, and I also cut slits in them for easier removal. These are history stones molds and are very good, however I have never found anything as hard to unmold as these leg molds,
Then there is the bench top freshly unmolded, the colorant will fade a small amount, I will leave the pieces wet and covered for a week or so before they make it into my garden,
Finally the finished bench out in the yard, it's faded a bit, likely won't lighten to much more, I'll leave it to cure for several more weeks and then apply some sealer to it,

I'm pleased with how it turned out, and think I'll make another one soon,


Yet another crafty idea from our good friend and TGAF member Lexrobb!  Take a gander at how well this Faux Bois Hypertufa planter turned out.


Joined: 16 Mar 2007
Posts: 14
Location: Lexington, KY
PostPosted: 15 Apr 2007 04:21 pm    Post subject: Let's make a hanging planter   

Hi All,

I can't take credit for this idea. I found it on GW/Garden Junk a couple of
weeks ago. It sounded like fun since I'm tired of the green plastic and
wire basket planters from the garden centers, and I usually have 8 or 10
pots hanging from the rain gutter in front of the building in the summer.

OK, here we go.

We start with some 4" and 1" pvc pipe from Lowes.

The original recipe called for 4" pipe, but after I got there, I noticed this
drain pipe that was about 1/3 the thickness of regular pvc. Much easier to
drill and cut holes.

Cut both sizes into 2 foot lengths and glue on end caps.

I found some slotted end caps for the 4" which eliminates having to drill
holes through the standard caps. I attached some nylon screen inside
the caps with dabs of caulk to keep the dirt from coming through.

The 1" pipe was drilled with 3 rows of 1/8 holes for watering. The 1" pipe
goes inside the 4" before putting in the potting soil so we can water the
whole length of the planter. Clever, eh?

I plugged the small holes in the 4" pipe by covering them with duct tape
from the inside, then filling them with lite spackle, and sanding when dry.

Then spray on a coat of plastic paint, fill it up and hang it up.

Don't forget to drill 3 small holes near the top to hang them. You can use
strong cord or wire or whatever you have handy.

Oh, wait, this is a hypertufa forum. OK, let's keep going!

Let's apply some hardware cloth:

I have never done anything like this before, so I applied the mix with the
tube lying down, doing half at a time. The next day, turned it over, put down a layer of towels, then plastic,
then did the other half. It worked.

I used a very diluted dark brown wash and brushed in the cracks and
crevices while the tufa was still wet.. After it dried, it looked like this:

The pic is not really accurate because of the flash washout, because, in
person, it REALLY looks like a hollowed out log. Of course, I could not
have done it without my handy-dandy tree bark tool.



Addendum...The tree bark tool is kind of a misnomer. Actually, it is a flexible mold
I made with silicone caulk. I took a hunk of tree limb with well defined
bark, primed it, gave a light coat of petroleum jelly, then gave it a coat
of clear silicone. Actually, 2 coats. I spread it on using a latex glove and
VERY soapy warm water. It worked quite well. The caulk didn't stick to
the glove at all.

When it was dry, I cut it lengthwise and peeled it off. Bingo! Instant tree
bark mold. I just take the silicone and press it firmly onto wet tufa to make
a tree bark effect.

Here is a pic:


Here is a really great Faux Bois technique from Lexrobb.  Just follow along with the instructions and make some stunning planters.  What a great idea Robb! Thank you!


Joined: 16 Mar 2007
Posts: 6
Location: Lexington, KY
PostPosted: 03 Apr 2007 06:18 am    Post subject: Faux-faux?   

Thanks, everyone, for your feedback. Jean--what you see is last years
crop. I live in a small second floor apartment, but my balcony spans 4
units, and I usually fill it up with pots and hanging baskets in the summer.

I didn't have a place to work until a month ago when the landlord decided
to not rent the basement offices in an adjacent office building because of
recurrent flooding during heavy rains. So, they gave me the run of the
place. I now have about 400 sq. feet of space to play in, including desks
and tables.

OK, back to business. The paper idea is so simple it's scary. (Even a
cave man could do it.) My first try was with a plastic bowl about 13" by
5" deep. I used brown paper bags, rolled up and twisted, then taped onto
the sides with blue painters tape.

It's great for testing ideas because I can mix and fill in about 20 minutes.
The brown paper is firmer than newsprint resulting in a more severe

First attempt:

And another:


There was some color sticking to the plastic from the previous pot, giving
this one an interesting blush:

So, I smeared some very diluted concrete color on the plastic and let it dry, giving it an interesting effect:

I'm also drilling holes while they are still soft so they can be used as
hanging baskets.

The great thing about this is that any size or shape container can be used.
The paper can be placed on an angle, or horizontally. Haven't tried that
yet, but plan to.


Another view of a larger one:

Another view:

I can't leave without posting a shot of my little jade forest avatar:

And last but not least, a sneak peek of my hanging planter made with 4
inch pvc:

I will post a tutorial on this when it is cured and I can get some color on it.



A terrific torso tutorial from a chap who does all-around terrific work!  Many thanks to our good friend from "The Sunshine Coast" of BC...
Rick...aka: "rickharmer"!


Joined: 16 Aug 2006
Posts: 154
Location: Sunshine Coast,British Columbia
PostPosted: 11 Feb 2007 02:46 pm    Post subject: Torso tutorial   

Well,I'm finally getting around to doing a tut about torso making.
For this particular one,a song from "Rocky Horror Picture Show" comes to mind;you know the one-"I Can Make You a Man"!
The torso mold,as all of mine are,are used in the retail industry for clothes.They're generally referred to as half shell torsos.Todays tut I'l use the simplest one-a male figure.

This boy is about 28 inches tall,about 6 inches deep and 18 inches at the shoulder.
As to ingredients:
First,you need detail mesh.It usually comes in 13 inch rolls and can be found at stucco stores.This is needed to add some structural integrity.I cut pieces from it in varying sizes,as you can see below.

In addition,The following are all important for my torsos.
The mix barrel on the left contains my torso mix-2 parts glass microspheres to 1 part cementatious materials(cement and silica fume),and a pinch of glass fibres.I've switched to glass(NOT fibreglass)as they "lay down" in the mix,so little if any burn-off.I usually make up my torso mix in advance.I use a large yoghurt tub(750 gram size) as a measure,so each of my mix barrels contains about 7 scoops of mix.These 11 litre ice cream drums are easy to find,and the lids fit tight enough that you can agitate the mix like you were using a cocktail shaker.
Remember that microspheres are VERY light.This stuff drifts UP when you open a bag.
The large drum of admix is courtesy Home Depot;I use little if any water,going with the more expensive but faster setting admix instead.When you're working on vertical suerfaces,you want that.
The last ingredient is my faithful companion Cresst Crete-lease.I've used it for years,non-toxic,aerosol.I'm fortunate that my supplier is relatively close to me(about 3 hours)as are the rest of my suppliers.If any of you are in large centers,or within a couple of hours of one,this makes it easy to get the supplies that you need to do these bodies.

I use bowls for my hand mixing.The glass microspheres strike me as NOT a product to use with a mechanical mixer of any sort.I add admix at roughly 50% of the cementatious materials.I say roughly because results vary according to the day,weather,hangover,etc.Add appropriate amount of colour additive if using.I use DAVIS and some other oxides and MASON colours from my favourite pottery store.I mix slowly and with care not to kick up too much of the mix into the room.It mixes very slowly at first and you might be tempted to add a lot more moisture-DON'T!.I keep mixing by hand until the first batch of liquid is absorbed and the mixture doesn't kick up any dust.Add about 1/3 more,working in the fluid until you get a clay-like mix that you can squish flat ,and not have excess moisture sitting in the bowl.Too dry,it won't be good enough for this molding;too wet,it won't adhere to the mold.It's basically a "3 Little Bears"approach to mixing.

I spray the mold with release;then,I apply a"paint" of 1:1 cement and silica flour(a sand used in pottery making)usually with another colour,or use a different colour of cement and you'll end up with a neat "two tone effect". This mix has to be thin enough to paint onto the mold in a very thin coat.

The next step is to apply the torso mix. Do the patty cake approach,keeping it thin(about 1/2 inch-you don't want much more than that),making sure that you get it on the whole torso,all the nooks and crannies.I take an approach here that I vary the leg lengths here,so that no two torsos are the same.The same at the neckline.

Next,I apply the detail mesh,in various sizes,so that the entire surface is covered,and always with an overlap of 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch.Each piece of mesh is,for want of a more scientific term,smooshed into the torso mix with your fingers,so that the mesh is embedded into it.

Almost done!I put a border around the torso edge to prevent cracks .The mix at this point is starting to get very clay-like,so the border is easy to apply,about 1/2 an inch wide.I wet my finger to give it a bit of a smooth edge.

I usually pop the piece out of the mold after 24 hours,being EXTREMELY careful as the piece is quite fragile.I pop it out on a piece of foam rubber.You'll see a blotchy effect from the paint and the mix-this gives the piece what I want for a look.Sorta Etruscan pottery look.
I put into a curing"cooker"as I call it,keeping the inside moist for a week.I then determine if I want to leave it"au naturel",or paint it.You see some of the resulting finished pieces in this final photo,waiting for whatever finish I opt for.

cheers from here


John (aka; "Hanoverman")'s Absolutely A+ Planter Tutorial!  A very classy tutorial from a very classy guy.  Thank you for sharing and thank you for doing such a great job!  You've raised the bar for us all.


Joined: 06 Dec 2006
Posts: 6
Location: Hanover, Md
PostPosted: 02 Jan 2007 02:28 pm    Post subject: Imbedded Tile Planter How To   

Here is how I make the tiled planters that I showed in a previous post. Sorry for the delay but the last few weeks have been a bit crazy!!

For these instructions I’ll use the same form that was used to make this planter.

The new planters overall outside dimensions will be 12” deep, 11.5” high, and 17.5” wide. This includes the four feet that are 4” by 4” by 1”. We’ll make the thickness of the sides 1.75” and the bottom 1.5” by using polystyrene insulation inserts that I’ll show farther on.

These are the five parts of the outer form. They are made from plywood scraps reinforced with 1x2 and 1x3 strips. The thickness of the sides is .25” and the bottom of the form is .5”. The stains are from the glue used previously.

Our first step is to cut felt paper to cover the inside surface of each of the five form sections. (Felt paper is sometimes called roofing paper or tar paper. It’s inexpensive and can be purchased from any “big box” building supply center.) I use a utility knife and the form sections as templates. I’ve found that it’s best to be a bit undersize to prevent any interference when we assemble the form.

We next apply Elmer’s Glue-All as shown. This is the only adhesive that I’ve tried. It holds up during the pour and initial cure processes and is reasonably easy to clean up after we’ve removed the piece. Other glues or adhesives may work just as well.

Position the felt paper in place and using 3 inch putty knife, working from the center towards the edges, smooth out the felt paper. Remove any glue from the surface with a damp cloth.

Stack the sides and end pieces face to face and flip the bottom onto a flat surface to dry. I usually let them sit overnight at room temperature.

After the glue has dried I assemble the form, trimming any area where the felt paper interferes with the fit as I proceed. When all pieces are in place I scribed a line down each corner and around the bottom to outline the actual finished side and end surfaces. A number 2 soft pencil provides a usable line on the black surface. We now disassemble the form and continue to layout our tile pattern.

For this planter, I’ve chosen this pattern tile. It’s in 12” by 12” sheets with the individual elements held together by fiber mesh. The mesh makes alignment very easy, as we’ll see farther on. Here’s a front and back view.

The plan is to separate and expand the spacing to make the planter’s sides and ends. I’ll use some of the small rectangle pieces to decorate the top rim.

I’ve laid out the tile elements face-up in a pattern that looks appropriate for this piece. There are a couple of other combinations that could be used but this one pleases me the most. Notice the layout lines on the surface of the felt paper. The side and bottom hashed areas overlap as part of the form assembly (these are lines that were scribed when the form was assemble above). Since the planter is poured upside down I’ve allowed a 1-inch space at the top of the sides and ends in which we will form the feet. The elements are positioned in a field that is 7/8” from the edges of the available area. Nothing magic about 7/8”. It just happens to be the width of the base of the right angle I use for layout. I’ve divided each area into equal quadrants to make alignment easier.

I’ve laid out the bottom of the form (top rim of our planter) like so. The scraps of 1” thick polystyrene insulation will be affixed to position the insert that we’ll put together to form the planter’s inner cavity.

We now affix the individual tile elements in place face down on the felt paper surface. I again use Elmer’s Glue-All. Apply pressure for a second or two to set each piece. I find a straight edge to be helpful to align separate pieces. Let the glued-up form sections with tiles cure at least overnight.

Our next step is to assemble the inner form that will define the planter’s cavity. The inside dimensions are such to fit over the scrap pieces we affixed to the bottom of the outer form. I use inexpensive (Dollar Store) masking tape on the outside only. This makes it easier to remove. The stack of foam on the left is used to fill the inner cavity. For ease of removal I alternate scrap pieces dimensioned to the inner length and width instead of making a solid block.

Here is the assembled form. I fold masking tape over the top edges to prevent the mix from getting under the felt paper.

For this planter I’m using 1-part cement 3-part vermiculite mix with fibers and charcoal color dry pigment. During the winter months I mix and pour outdoors usually when the temperature is above 45 degrees or so. I use warm water in the mix. I place a brick on the inner form to hold it in place as I fill. I fill the form an inch or two at a time and carefully tamp using a scrap piece of 1 by 2 lumber. When I get to within a half inch or so of the top I insert 3 pieces of 1-inch foam dimensioned to make the 4 by 4 inch feet. The foam wants to float so I use bar clamps to squeeze the sides to hold the foam in place level with the top of the form.

After a 48-hour cure period at about 70 degrees we carefully un-mold the piece. Shown are some of the tools used for to remove the excess material from the tiles. To provide an aged texture I use a wire brush attachment in a drill motor. I remove just enough material to obtain a sharp profile to each tile piece. The tile pieces are slightly elevated from the base material. This piece has an antique Venetian look to it. Next step is to fabricate a matching garden bench!!

I use a three quarter inch spade drill to make four drain holes in the bottom. I’ll continue the cure indoors at about 70 degrees for another week to 10 days. I put a wet towel in the cavity and wrap the piece in a black plastic trash bag. A 100-watt light bulb in a 10-inch aluminum reflector mounted a couple of inches above the wrapped piece will warm the piece to between 70 and 75 degrees. The laundry room where I cure has an ambient temperature of about 60 degrees.


Justin's Terrific Faux Bois Table Tutorial!

Joined: 05 Aug 2006
Posts: 66
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2006 12:21 am    Post subject: Faux bois coffee table (image intensive)   

This project was slowly completed over the course of a year. I didn't take good notes on the details of the mixes but I did take lots of pics.

The Idea/design:

The armature is normal rebar, bent as best I could, and wired together. Stucco lath was then added to the rebar frame.

Base layers:
The first layers were more of a traditional concrete recipe (Mostly cement and sand). The subsequent layers "detailing" layers are cement:potting soil (walmart miracle grow brand) at about 1:3. Carving and detailing was done at about 36-48 hrs after applying.

A plastic bucket was used to form the circular base on the stump and the circular shape in the table top to form a snug fit (thank's for that suggestion, Tango!)

first Acid stain:
I used Rare Earth Labs stains. The first layer was "sandstone" at 1:4 acid:water. Subsequent detail was various dilutions of "mocha".

A top cap was used to secure the top to the base.

99.9% finished:

As always, the project ended up a lot bigger than I planned. I still need to make some faux bois pegs to fit in the bolt holes on top. Feel free to contact me if I left out any details you may be curious about.


Chrisr's "Sun Worship Totem" Post
(aka; "The Plate on a Stick")
Thank You Chrisr!


Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 37
Location: Wisconsin
PostPosted: 07 Sep 2006 05:46 am    Post subject: Progress Pix   

Eva, the column is free standing. It is cement so it's quite stable and with only the plate on top it isn't top heavy. My nephew calls it the "plate on a stick"!

OK, here are the progress pics. (All clickable to enlarge)

First 2 pics are the column with hardware cloth and the plate and plate base with chicken wire.

This is a pic of the top of the column looking down. I have a plastic glass inserted surrounded by chicken wire. This is where the top will fit in.

Column with first coat of cement.

I couldn't get the base symmetrical enough freehand so I decided to use a flower pot saucer for a mold.

This is from the cup I used for the bottom of the plate section. There is chicken wire embedded in it with some sticking out the top so I can embed that on the plate later. There is also a shallow groove in the top to fit around the curve of the plate.

This is the plate with cement on it. I stuck it in a box to set up.

Here is the entire top portion finished.

That's it. Thanks again for your encouragement and interest! is the completed piece assembled & installed in the garden...

Eva's Sand Casting Basics Post
With Moon, Bird & Fish
Thank You Eva!


Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 108
Location: Chicago Area
PostPosted: 22 Sep 2006 08:15 am    Post subject: Sand Casting   

Hi, Everyone,

If you haven't tried sand casting yet, I hope you will. I consider myself a beginner with so much to learn, but I can share with you what I've had the most fun with so far...sand casting creatures. It's easy, and you'll like even the first one you cast. (Hope I'm not boring you all with my sand casting stuff)

Step 1 -- It doesn't take a sand dune to do this. Compact some damp sand in a container. You can use a mortar pan, plastic dishpan, kitty litter pan, or whatever else you have available.

Note: The depth of the sand depends on the type of piece you're casting. You need enough sand in the bottom of your container to allow for making shapes/contours, embedding, imprinting, etc.. You don't want your cement or 'tufa mix to come in contact with the container, only the sand.

Step 2 -- All you need to do is draw a shape (for example, a moon or bird or fish shape...these are simple ones to start out with) with your finger on the top of the damp sand and then scoop out sand inside your outline to make the contours of your moon or bird or fish.

Note: Sometimes I make a cardboard cutout of my design and cut around it in the sand with a plastic knife to get the basic shape.

Step 3 -- At this point, you can make imprints (your thumb print, for example, is good for fish scales or try plastic-coated wire twisted into different shapes) or add embellishments such as seashells, half marbles, costume jewelry, stained glass, etc. by pressing them into the sand face down (the side you want to appear on your casting in the sand), leaving part of the item sticking out of the sand so it will become embedded in your mix.

Note: Exaggerate the details by making fairly deep imprints/impressions in the sand. You'll need to play around with this to get a feel for it. If you have a digital camera, taking a picture of your sand mold can give you a pretty good idea of how your casting will look in case you want to make some changes.

Step 4 -- Keep your sand mold moist by misting it with a spray bottle if it starts drying out. Then you're ready to mix a batch of cement or 'tufa. I've been using 1 part Portland cement to 2 or 3 parts sand, because I like how much detail I get with that mix. But a lot of different mixes would work. I make my mix more on the wet side, somewhere between packable and pourable. Apply your mix carefully in handfuls to avoid disturbing your designs in the sand. Leave for about 18 hours or so, and then demold.

Give this a try soon! You'll find out that it's easy and fun. If you have any other questions, please let me know.