Step-by-step Techniques for Applying Venetian Plaster on Walls

Abhay Burande Jun 23, 2019
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Applying Venetian plaster involves four basic steps. This post will guide you in the application of the Venetian plaster.

Application Technique

  • Using a stir stick, mix the Venetian plaster well. Use a practice board to preview the technique and color combination before embarking on the project.
  • Load the plaster on a steel trowel that is rounded with 100-grit sandpaper or a file to decrease edge marks during application.
  • Begin at the corner of the room and apply the plaster to the wall ensuring you hold the trowel at a 15-30 degree angle.
  • Ensure you spread the plaster in a single thin layer across the surface using long and short random strokes.
  • Allow the plaster to dry for a couple of hours before applying the second coat.

Second coat

  • Starting from the corner of the room apply a thin coat of plaster to the wall.
  • Remember to fill the voids and recessed areas so as to cover the original wall surface completely.
  • Smooth out any edge marks or high spots with the trowel.
  • The plaster must be allowed to dry for 24 hours before topcoating or burnishing.


The Venetian plaster topcoat is used for a washable and satin-sheen finish in high traffic or excessive moisture areas. A clean and flexible 4" or large trowel is used to spread the topcoat across the surface holding it at an angle of 60-90 degrees.
The technique to be employed is long and short overlapping strokes forming a thin layer to avoid puddling in the recessed areas. Allow the topcoat to dry throughly.


  • Burnishing the surface should be ideally done within 7 days of application.
  • Using 400 or 600 grit sandpaper, rub the surface in a circular motion till the desired look is obtained. For large areas, use a power sander.
  • Wipe the burnished surface with a dampened rag to get rid of any plaster dust.
  • Use the flat side of a clean trowel for a better polished look. Heat and friction caused due to rubbing creates a defined and glossy appearance.

Applying Venetian plaster

  • The most important and often overlooked step is to ensure that the substrate is smooth, flat and level.
  • Ensure you tape off any trim or adjoining walls not receiving the plaster.
  • Prime the wall with an oil based primer.

Applying base coat

  • Generally, a Marmorino type plaster is applied with a trowel in a single coat.
  • Some Venetian plasters have to specify an alternative liquid brush-on or roller applied base coat.
  • The base coat will have to have a coarse or sanded tooth for the plaster to stick to.
  • Dry and sand lightly with 100 grit paper and block to knock down any unruly areas.

Venetian finish coat

  • Initially, apply a coat of plaster using a trowel using short random strokes. The edges must not be left dry.
  • Allow the first coat of Venetian finish dry 70% before applying the next layer.
  • Employing the random stoke method apply the second coat of Venetian plaster having a wet edge.
  • Apply the third thin finish coat of material while the second layer is still wet.


  • Before the final coat dries, polish the coat with the trowel. Remember to keep the trowel clean and burr free.
  • To have a scratch free finish, polish the trowel blades with 800 and 1000 grit sandpaper. This is also necessary for new factory polished blades.