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

Abhay Burande Jun 23, 2019
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.