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Blending Traditional and Contemporary Design
Venetian Plaster

Inspired by the ornate plaster-work of Renaissance Italy, decorative plaster has a millennial history, with origins dating back to the Rome of the Caesars and in the art of Ancient Greece.

It was Andrea Palladio, a famous Italian architect, who in the XVI century re-discovered it through his studies and re-proposed it in the splendid Venetian villas that are still to this day the distinguishing mark of his career. Stucco Veneziano is an aesthetic solution that step by step, conquered Venice and Lombardy, then Italy, and finally entire Europe in the XVII century. Today, venetian plaster Stucco Veneziano restores the splendor of a classic and prestigious finish.

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Color Palette

Create any color your heart desires

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.

Base Color Quartz Primer - Un-tinted White


Step-by-step tutorial starts here...

Step 1: Preparing your surface

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

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.


plaster materials

Step 2: Choosing a base color and preparing materials.

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.


mixing plaster compound

Step 3: Mixing your 'fresco' plaster compound

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.

mixing plaster
mixing plaster
mixing plaster

applying the plaster

Step 5: Applying the plaster compound.

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: Smoothing and creating texture.

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.


creating plaster texture

Use broad even strokes to smooth out the plaster.

creating plaster texture

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

creating plaster texture

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

creating plaster texture

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


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


plaster wall finish

Completed plaster surface. Allow the plaster walls to dry completely. This may take up to 12 hours.


plaster wall finish

Completing the fresco process

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

Series 2 - Antique glazing and distressing


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