DIY: How to Apply Venetian Plaster

Venetian plaster is a finishing technique which was developed by the ancient Venetian master craftsmen, and is renowned for it’s ability to add texture, depth, and beauty to any surface. Thanks to modern technology, there are products available that make applying Venetian plaster a relatively simple DIY home improvement project that the average homeowner can complete themselves.

Before undertaking a Venetian plaster project, you’ll need to purchase the necessary materials. All that’s really needed for the job is a steel trowel, fine sandpaper, and a few gallons of Venetian plaster. Other optional items you may need include drop clothes, paint, Venetian plaster topcoat, and wax. After finishing this article, it will be easy for you to determine which of these items you’ll require for your project.

Venetian plaster is available in gallon containers and can be purchased at any home improvement store. Both Behr and Sherwin-Williams paint companies manufacturer a selection of Venetian Plaster. You can choose either white plaster or from a large selection of colors. How much will you need? One gallon should cover roughly 75 square feet, so take a rough measurement of the walls you’re trying to finish.

Venetian plaster can be applied to any surface you desire, but you must make sure your walls are prepped properly. This means they should be smooth and free of cracks, which could involve a bit of spackle and sanding. The walls must also be painted with a flat paint, so that the plaster can adhere properly to the surface. If you already have a glossy paint on the walls, its fine to sand them down instead of re-painting. Some people prefer to paint the walls the same color as the Venetian plaster they are planning to apply, feeling that this gives the finish more depth and makes it more interesting. This is an optional choice, and white walls will work just fine too.

Before you start, use drop clothes or newspaper to protect your floors and furniture, if necessary. Open your plaster and stir it just as you would with paint. You’re now ready to begin application of your Venetian plaster.

For your first coat, hold your trowel at around a 30 degree angle to the wall and apply a thin coat using both a combination of long and short strokes. You don’t have to cover the entire wall on this coat, so don’t worry about missing a few spots. After you’ve finished, give your project time to dry before applying the second coat. The surface should dry in about 4 hours.

For your second coat, hold your trowel at a sharper angle, approximately 80 degrees, and be sure to fill in any spots you may have missed on the first coat. This time, give your project 24 hours to dry completely.

After this coat, you have the option of applying a topcoat. Both Behr and Sherwin Williams make a Venetian plaster topcoat that is made specifically to work with their Venetian plaster products. This topcoat will give added sheen to your walls, and should be applied with your trowel, not with a paintbrush.

Whether or not you apply a topcoat, use your sandpaper to lightly sand, or burnish, your finished walls. This will remove any rough spots and allow the true beauty of your new Venetian plaster walls to show. Some people like to follow this up with a coat of wax for additional shine. Liberon wax is a popular choice.

Now its time to sit back and enjoy your newly finished walls. With the availability of pre-made plaster products, using Venetian plaster to create a unique finish in your home has never been easier.

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