image courtesy of Freccia Studios Decorative Arts.

Contemporary treatments using plaster effects can add richness and texture to your rooms, while implying an impression of sophistication and elegance.

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featuring the
3 step colorScheme system

Plastering method

2 trowels or large putty knives
Drop Cloths
Painters tape
1 gallon bucket
Disposable gloves
Universal tinters
Plaster of Paris
(1/2 inch)
Plaster trough
Water based paint color -flat (matt - emulsion) sheen


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Frescoes Series 1

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Simulated fresco
discover the creative process behind developing commissioned murals.


Create old world charm or contemporary sophistication with these easy to follow plaster effects and simulated Fresco techniques.

artSparx has created a 3 stage step-by-step tutorial series. Series 1 begins with basic plaster application, Series 2 illustrates antique glazing and plaster distressing methods, culminating in the final fresco simulation Series 3, hand-painted elements. You can complete each tutorial as a finish and style in it's own right. Or, depending on your interests and style needs, combine the tutorials to achieve the hand-painted fresco appearance that will bring your environment to life.

Series 1 - Plaster effects Application
Series 2 - Antique glazing and distressing
Series 3 - Hand-painted fresco elements

The color recipe for the following tutorial is for creating a classic, antique plaster effect, ideal for most rooms and an excellent base color for hand-painted fresco elements. You can also create additional plaster wall color tones, in virtually any color combination. For additional color recipes visit the artsparx color palette. To create alternate colored plaster walls, simply follow this step-by-step tutorial, substituting the base color suggested below with the base color specified in each color recipes at the artsparx color palette, and complete the effect using the glaze recipe from the selected Color Palette tutorial.

Preparing the surface

Step 1: Remove all nails and repair any damaged or cracked areas. Prime as needed. Refer to the artSparx basic preparation resource for tips and techniques….

Step 2: Tape off all baseboard edges, ceiling edge, trim, window and door frames. Remove all electrical and light switch cover plates. Cover furniture and floor areas with drop cloths.

Choosing a base color and preparing materials

Step 3: For you basic aged plaster effect you will start with a slightly off-white latex flat wall paint. Benjamin Moore Linen White works well as an off white base tone. In addition, Plaster of Paris is required, plus a couple of plaster trowels, 1 gallon bucket and some disposable gloves.

For the 'Classic Color Glaze' mixture and other color suggestions refer to the artsparx color palette.

Mixing your 'fresco' plaster compound

Step 4: You will be mixing the plaster/paint combination in small batches, to insure the compound does not dry out and become unworkable as you move along your room. Use a 1 gallon bucket and pour approx. 1 quart of your latex flat wall paint (Benjamin Moore Linen White) into the container. Slowly add handfuls of Plaster of Paris, stirring the mixture thoroughly to insure the plaster becomes fully integrated in the paint.


Continue to add plaster until you have created a mixture with a smooth putty consistency.

Applying the plaster compound

Step 5: Once you have thoroughly mixed your plaster-paint compound you can begin to trowel on the plaster over your wall surface. Place a portion of the plaster compound in a plaster trough and, beginning at the top of your wall, spread the plaster mixture over the surface with a wide, flat trowel or putty knife.

Step 6: Spread the plaster thinly over the wall, adding more as needed. Using a second trowel or putty knife, continually wipe blades together to remove excess plaster build up on the trowel edge. This also helps you re-work the plaster surface without dragging more plaster over the wall.

Create slight variations in texture over the surface by dragging the trowel blade over the surface. Experiment with different amounts of pressure applied to the blade. A light, even pressure will cause the trowel edge to 'skip' over the surface, creating variations in surface texture. A harder, firmer texture will result in smoother areas. Try and develop a nice blending of smooth areas, with occasional, irregular textures.

Use broad even strokes to smooth out the plaster.

Creating a slight texture is an important part of the antique fresco appearance.

Carefully re-work the plaster to smooth and create light texture.

Wipe the trowel blade against another putty knife frequently to remove excess plaster build up.

Step 7: Continue over the wall surface until you are out of your plaster-paint mix. Mix up another batch and continue onward until your have completed the walls.

When you reach a corner, simply apply the plaster mixture with a small 1/2 inch brush and smooth outward with a trowel. Your finger, dipped in the plaster compound can also work well, as long as you complete the corners by smoothing the surfaces with the trowel edge.

Completed plaster surface

Step 8: Allow the plaster walls to dry completely. This may take up to 12 hours.

Completing the fresco process

You are now ready to move onto the next stage, Antique glazing and distressing the plaster surface.

Series 2 Antiquing and distressing.

Series 1
Applying a plaster finish
Series 2
Antique glazing and distressing
Series 3
Hand-painted fresco elements

Series 3 Adding Hand Painted elements

Materials for United Kingdom users

The materials remain the same. Simply substitute your local paint brand in an off white (Dulux Grecian White, for example).

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