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How to Apply Venetian Plaster to Walls

DIY expert Bea Pila explains how to add Venetian plaster to your walls for that professional look that makes your room stand out.

More in Painting

  • Time

    Weekend

  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty

    Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Prepare the Wall

This technique is created by using tinted plaster. As with any painting project, the area to be painted must be cleaned. Also, the plaster must be applied over a low-sheen surface, such as a wall painted with a flat or an eggshell finish. If the wall has more sheen than that, you'll need to prime the surface before applying the plaster. Also, go over the dry surface with 100-grit sandpaper to smooth it and prepare it for the plaster -- this reduces the chances of leaving straight lines and edge marks.

Safety note: For a project of this nature, always use protective gear such as a ventilator or respirator and safety glasses, and always work in a well-ventilated area.

Step 2: Apply the Base Coat of Plaster

The most important thing to learn when doing this project is technique -- and that means holding the trowel at the correct angle.

Here's how:

  • First, load the trowel. Hold the trowel at a 15- to 30-degree angle and spread the plaster over the surface, using random strokes and creating a thin layer. It's okay if the original wall surface peeks through -- we'll cover that in step two.

  • Wipe the trowel often. Dried plaster could mix in with the wet plaster and make the surface bumpy.
  • Tip:If the colors are white or pastel, spread the plaster with a plastic wall scraper instead of a steel trowel. The steel can cause gray streaks in the finish, and if there's any rust on the trowel, it could appear in the finish as well.

Step 3: Let Plaster Dry

Let the plaster dry for about four hours.

Note: Venetian plaster is a multistep project and takes more drying time than the normal painting project, but don't let that intimidate you. It may take a few days to complete, but the results are worth it.

Step 4: Apply Second Coat of Plaster

This time the drying technique is slightly different from applying the first coat:

  • Hold the trowel at a 60- to 90-degree angle so it's almost flat against the wall.

  • Make long and short strokes, overlapping them. Fill in voids and recessed areas; making sure the original wall surface is covered completely.

  • Smooth away any edge marks. Allow the plaster to dry for 24 hours before finishing.

  • Step 5: Apply the Topcoat

  • Applying a topcoat is optional. If the area has a lot of traffic or moisture, such as an entryway, family room, bathroom or kitchen; you'll want to consider it. The topcoat makes the surface washable -- it also makes the surface shinier. If you don't need instructions on how to apply a top coat, skip to step 5.

  • Use a steel trowel (make sure there is no dried plaster on the trowel). Hold it at a 15- to 30-degree angle, then pull and spread the topcoat across the surface. It may darken the color of the plaster finish.
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