How to Apply Venetian Plaster to Your Walls

Venetian Plaster is a wonderfully modern looking faux finish that you can learn to apply as part of your own in home do it yourself project. One of the important considerations for this project is to keep in mind that in order to achieve the right look of the finish it will take at least several days at a minimum. This is because you will be applying this finish in several coats and you must allow drying time between coats for the finish to come out looking right.

Before you begin you need to make sure that your wall substrate is not glossy. The ideal surface is like a flat, low-sheen surface upon which to apply the plaster. If your walls have a gloss finish on them you will need to repaint them with either flat paint or even eggshell.

Begin by mixing the Venetian Plaster in a can thoroughly. Load some plaster on to a 4 inch steel trowel. Begin in a corner of the room and apply the Venetian Plaster to the wall holding the steel trowel at around a 20-30 degree angle. This technique is critical to the success of the job (you should practice this first before applying it to the walls). The goal here is to spread the plaster in sort of half moon stokes on the wall in a more or less random pattern. The existing wall color should peak though the gaps of where you are applying the plaster – that is normal and expected at this stage of the application. When all the walls are coated in this fashion allow the plaster to dry for at least a day.

After drying apply a second coat of plaster. This time you are going to apply it while holding the trowel at a 90-degree angle, using random overlapping strokes. At this point you want to make sure that the whole original wall surface is now covered completely.

After the plaster has dried, you will then begin the burnishing step. It is though burnishing that the real look and feel of the plaster is developed. You will begin with 400 grit sand paper. Rub the surface of the plaster in a circular sweeping motion until you have created swirls in the plaster finish. Continue around the room making sure to check your sandpaper often to make sure that is isn’t clogged with plaster dust. Once you have completed your initial burnishing, you will need to go back around the room again with some 600 grit sandpaper. On your second pass you are looking to just smooth out the finish where you can. You want to do your best to remove anything which doesn’t look random (any repeating features). When you are satisfied with the look you have achieved then go over the burnished surface with a damp rag to remove any sanding and plaster dust.

As an extra tip you can take a clean steel trowel and burnish the surface. The heat from rubbing the trowel over the plaster can give it a glossy finished appearance.

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