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Venetian Plaster Techniques

The Correct Techniques to Apply Venetian Plaster on House Walls

Venetian Plaster is the source for the finest in decorative wall finishes. To create an elegant and innovative environment for your home or office, venetian plaster provides an ideal color and design plan which can suit your vision.
DecorDezine Staff
Last Updated: Mar 9, 2018
Textured plaster on wall
Venetian plaster originated in ancient Rome in the 16th century and since then, it has been used throughout the world. It is a decorative painting technique used to produce an affected stuccoed surface. Venetian plaster was named after the city of Venice in northern Italy, where it was used for applying finishing touches in the palaces, during the 15th century. Also known as Stucco Veneziano, it was originally made up of natural aged limestone derivates and ground marble dust, which gave stucco finishes. According to the application, its finish varies from granular to glossy to a smooth texture. It is easy to use and can be applied on all flat surfaces including ceilings.

History of Venetian Plaster

The history of Venetian plaster starts about 5000 years ago, in the areas of Mesopotamia i.e. modern Iraq, parts of eastern Syria, southeastern Turkey, Kuwait, and southwest Iran. Eventually, it became popular in areas like southern Europe, notably ancient Rome and Greece. According to the historical and archaeological evidence, the common baked clay was eventually replaced with plaster, grouted with lime. Gradually, it became a standard ingredient in formal and residential architecture. Initially, plaster was used for utilitarian purposes, but eventually it developed and was used for decorative purposes.

Venetian Plaster Techniques

The Venetian plaster technique uses thin layers of plaster employed with a trowel or spatula, which is then polished to create the desired illusion of depth and texture. To begin the technique, the wall should be carefully prepped and one should have the right tools like japan scrapers and stainless steel trowels. This often requires a skim coat of drywall compound and repeated sanding till the wall is smooth and without any defects, else it will sabotage the final look of the treatment. Once the wall is ready, apply a fine coat of flat paint to the surface and allow it to dry for 24 hours. Starting with the upper corner of the wall, apply a small quantity of plaster to the end of the scraper. Moving in a crisscross manner, first apply the plaster with one stroke and then cross that stroke. Spread the plaster and continue this motion across the entire wall. Since the plaster dries rapidly, spread quickly and make sure there are no thick lines of plaster.

Once the wall is completed, sand it with a thousand grit sandpaper. After that, apply another coat of Venetian plaster in a similar manner and repeat the procedure once more, making a total of three passes over the wall with the plaster. Now burnish the wall by strongly pressing the trowel into the wall in a circular motion. After completing the burnishing, apply a coat of sealer with the help of the scraper to protect the finish. Once it is sealed, burnish it one more time. If done properly, one can see their reflection in the wall.

Venetian plaster adds an artful and decorative feel to both interior and exterior surfaces. Also known as Faux Painting or Faux Finishing, it gives an ornamental faux finish by imparting a look of elegance, old-world charm and discrete sophistication.
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