Homemade Venetian Plaster Trial and Mostly Errors.

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DarthStig

New Member
Hi guys, I'm trying to redo my foyer and I want to do a Venetian Plaster but man, pre-made VP is *expletive* expensive. So being an art grad, I figure I could make the stuff like the Italians of old and man it's been a pain. So far I've been unsuccessful in my attempts to recreate it. So now I'm here trying to find a recipe and perhaps more information as to why certain ingredients are needed.

All of these trials have used stainless steel 6" putty knife I rounded the edges off as an application. I mixed them all using a power drill mixer for joint compound (Internet #100392767 on the Home Depot website). They are 3 layers thick and all have been finished by sanding with a Dewalt DA sander with 600 or 800 grit.

Attempt 1:

1/2 marble dust (specifically Fredrix powdered marble)
1/2 Behr Premium Paint & Primer in one (matte I believe)
Outcome: The consistency was runnier than the limited videos I saw on YouTube about Venetian Plaster. It dried hard (pressing your fingernail into it didn't scratch it, so greater than a 3 on the Mohs hardness scale which would mean the paint calcified to hopefully limestone). The problem is there is little to no variation in the colors. It's just one solid color. After burnishing, the putty knife left scuff marks which made the light color I chose look dirty. Sanding was easy and I was left with a very smooth feeling wall (nearly glass-like but not quite). It'd be perfect but I had no contast in the paint and the finish wasn't shiny enough (I'm not going for glossy, just a high-eggshell or satin sheen).

Attempt 2:

All the same except I used eggshell and a darker sample to try to bring out contrast as well as sheen to the finished product.
Outcome: The same as Attempt 1, no luck with either color contrast or sheen.

Attempt 3:
I read somewhere that pigment to dust & lime was around a 10:1 ratio so...
1 part paint
10 parts marble dust
X parts water to allow even distribution of everything and turn the very dry powder into some sort of plaster.
Outcome: Worst outcome so far, but I was impatient and a little annoyed. Obviously without the binder in the paint or anything else, the marble just slid off more or less after the water had evaporated. Sanding was laughably inefficient at getting a good surface. I should have known better, but hindsight is 20/20.

*At this point, I realized art studios and Home Depot/Lowes materials weren't going to cut it. So I went to a masonry/construction products place just outside of Atlanta. I spent $30 total on 50 lbs of lime to make lime putty and 100lbs of marble dust... I spent that just on 3 samples of paint from Home Depot. Ridiculous how much they charge, anyways:

Attempt 4:
10 parts Hydrated lime known as Mortaseal autoclaved mason's lime (Which is a Type S Hydrated/dolomitic lime)
10 parts marble dust (still Fredrix)
1 part paint
X parts water to create paste/putty consistency
*No time given to lime to "mature" or to crystalize (more on this later)*
Outcome: The mixture was much more... gummy. It looked, felt and applied much more consistent with what I believe I saw in the videos. It's like a very thick paper mache feel and it kept soaking up water as I was mixing it all together. On the wall, the paint pigments did not mix (I guessed that beforehand) and it was speckled, but not in a nice deliberate way. There's almost no color at all due to the extreme ratio I used (again I knew that would most likely happen). The texture is also rough, like the lime didn't soak up enough water to make it smooth so it feels like the plaster has a very fine grit of sand in it. The dried variation is soft and can easily be scratched with a fingernail... not good.

Attempt 5:
Same as attempt 4 (in fact the same leftover mixture I used), the difference is it's been sitting with water over the surface of the paint for 5 days. The reason for this is to allow the lime to "mature" for at least 24 hours. I've just been busy and haven't tried it again.
Outcome: Not determined as of yet, but I can't see it going much better. Fingers crossed but most likely it'll be soft and gritty again.

Other experiments:
- Straight hydrated lime allowed to mature (again 5 days or so. I used the "1:3" ratio, water to lime, and it was nowhere NEAR enough so I added probably enough to be 1:2)
-Natural pigments for suspension instead of paint i.e. "epoxy pigments" found at my local Blix art shop
-Possibly add Linseed oil (not sure why it's needed in the plaster aside from giving it a sheen)
-Soaked ivory barsoap, whipped with a food processor until the consistency of whipped cream and used as a topcoat/polish I think...
-Imerys Pool Mix Marble Dust (Product number: AAA-37-0100)

Can anyone help me out to get something CLOSE to Venetian Plaster? Am I on the right track? Does someone know a good pigment brand/what I'm looking for? etc.

Thanks so much guys!
~DS
 

Brimstone

Well-Known Member
You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. You bitch about the price without any idea of the amount of work or anything to do with how the real thing is made, cheapskate with crap materials & no idea how to even do basic plaster/stucco.
Go grind rock to make 50lbs of dust then say it's cheap. Ditto for the lime.

I'll help you - PAY FOR A PROFESSIONAL TO DO IT, STICK TO ART TO MAKE ENOUGH MONEY TO PAY FOR IT (IF YOU'RE ANY GOOD AT THAT).
 

JessThePlasterer

Queen Jess Elizabeth I
I actually found this quite interesting, mental, but interesting. Why can’t you have a go at whatever you want to in your own home?

Advice wise I am absolutely no use to you I’m afraid. Perhaps use a buffer instead of sandpaper?

Doesnt Venetian use dyes?

I must say though, by the time you’ve bought all these materials plus all your time spent trying to create the plaster, you may as well have bought the stuff.

But all the best to you
 

bof

Well-Known Member
Skim as usual
Go down the skateboard park and pay the local hero 1/4 oz of your finest herb and he'll spray whatever effect you want
 

Kinkyboy

Well-Known Member
Hi guys, I'm trying to redo my foyer and I want to do a Venetian Plaster but man, pre-made VP is *expletive* expensive. So being an art grad, I figure I could make the stuff like the Italians of old and man it's been a pain. So far I've been unsuccessful in my attempts to recreate it. So now I'm here trying to find a recipe and perhaps more information as to why certain ingredients are needed.

All of these trials have used stainless steel 6" putty knife I rounded the edges off as an application. I mixed them all using a power drill mixer for joint compound (Internet #100392767 on the Home Depot website). They are 3 layers thick and all have been finished by sanding with a Dewalt DA sander with 600 or 800 grit.

Attempt 1:

1/2 marble dust (specifically Fredrix powdered marble)
1/2 Behr Premium Paint & Primer in one (matte I believe)
Outcome: The consistency was runnier than the limited videos I saw on YouTube about Venetian Plaster. It dried hard (pressing your fingernail into it didn't scratch it, so greater than a 3 on the Mohs hardness scale which would mean the paint calcified to hopefully limestone). The problem is there is little to no variation in the colors. It's just one solid color. After burnishing, the putty knife left scuff marks which made the light color I chose look dirty. Sanding was easy and I was left with a very smooth feeling wall (nearly glass-like but not quite). It'd be perfect but I had no contast in the paint and the finish wasn't shiny enough (I'm not going for glossy, just a high-eggshell or satin sheen).

Attempt 2:

All the same except I used eggshell and a darker sample to try to bring out contrast as well as sheen to the finished product.
Outcome: The same as Attempt 1, no luck with either color contrast or sheen.

Attempt 3:
I read somewhere that pigment to dust & lime was around a 10:1 ratio so...
1 part paint
10 parts marble dust
X parts water to allow even distribution of everything and turn the very dry powder into some sort of plaster.
Outcome: Worst outcome so far, but I was impatient and a little annoyed. Obviously without the binder in the paint or anything else, the marble just slid off more or less after the water had evaporated. Sanding was laughably inefficient at getting a good surface. I should have known better, but hindsight is 20/20.

*At this point, I realized art studios and Home Depot/Lowes materials weren't going to cut it. So I went to a masonry/construction products place just outside of Atlanta. I spent $30 total on 50 lbs of lime to make lime putty and 100lbs of marble dust... I spent that just on 3 samples of paint from Home Depot. Ridiculous how much they charge, anyways:

Attempt 4:
10 parts Hydrated lime known as Mortaseal autoclaved mason's lime (Which is a Type S Hydrated/dolomitic lime)
10 parts marble dust (still Fredrix)
1 part paint
X parts water to create paste/putty consistency
*No time given to lime to "mature" or to crystalize (more on this later)*
Outcome: The mixture was much more... gummy. It looked, felt and applied much more consistent with what I believe I saw in the videos. It's like a very thick paper mache feel and it kept soaking up water as I was mixing it all together. On the wall, the paint pigments did not mix (I guessed that beforehand) and it was speckled, but not in a nice deliberate way. There's almost no color at all due to the extreme ratio I used (again I knew that would most likely happen). The texture is also rough, like the lime didn't soak up enough water to make it smooth so it feels like the plaster has a very fine grit of sand in it. The dried variation is soft and can easily be scratched with a fingernail... not good.

Attempt 5:
Same as attempt 4 (in fact the same leftover mixture I used), the difference is it's been sitting with water over the surface of the paint for 5 days. The reason for this is to allow the lime to "mature" for at least 24 hours. I've just been busy and haven't tried it again.
Outcome: Not determined as of yet, but I can't see it going much better. Fingers crossed but most likely it'll be soft and gritty again.

Other experiments:
- Straight hydrated lime allowed to mature (again 5 days or so. I used the "1:3" ratio, water to lime, and it was nowhere NEAR enough so I added probably enough to be 1:2)
-Natural pigments for suspension instead of paint i.e. "epoxy pigments" found at my local Blix art shop
-Possibly add Linseed oil (not sure why it's needed in the plaster aside from giving it a sheen)
-Soaked ivory barsoap, whipped with a food processor until the consistency of whipped cream and used as a topcoat/polish I think...
-Imerys Pool Mix Marble Dust (Product number: AAA-37-0100)

Can anyone help me out to get something CLOSE to Venetian Plaster? Am I on the right track? Does someone know a good pigment brand/what I'm looking for? etc.

Thanks so much guys!
~DS
Am I f**k reading all this im out
 

DarthStig

New Member
Wow, guys. Dont bother messaging again then. This is now a dead thread as far as Im concerned. I thought the whole eating crow thing would be funny to read for "professionals". Glad to know this is a forum with a bunch of pre-schoolers. Admins if you read this, just delete this whole thread. Apparently if you ask for help, you get a bunch of whiny adolescents who are less useful than the millenials on reddit.
 

Kinkyboy

Well-Known Member
Wow, guys. Dont bother messaging again then. This is now a dead thread as far as Im concerned. I thought the whole eating crow thing would be funny to read for "professionals". Glad to know this is a forum with a bunch of pre-schoolers. Admins if you read this, just delete this whole thread. Apparently if you ask for help, you get a bunch of whiny adolescents who are less useful than the millenials on reddit.
Dont be like that we love you.please could you explain in more detail
 

Monkey Boy

Well-Known Member
Admins if you read this, just delete this whole thread.
We ate the admins in the woods at the annual BBQ
Phone Kirk
D6D1BE07-5D45-40AE-8BAD-BD38620C66C2.jpeg
 

JessThePlasterer

Queen Jess Elizabeth I
Wow, guys. Dont bother messaging again then. This is now a dead thread as far as Im concerned. I thought the whole eating crow thing would be funny to read for "professionals". Glad to know this is a forum with a bunch of pre-schoolers. Admins if you read this, just delete this whole thread. Apparently if you ask for help, you get a bunch of whiny adolescents who are less useful than the millenials on reddit.
I was nice to you :crying:
 

Brimstone

Well-Known Member
Well it wasn't funny, first thing on a Monday morning we all have better things to do than read a load of bull about failed attempts.
Basically it's a secret, handed down to those who have already paid their dues in money, time and effort to learn skills before getting to venetian. That's why we ate the admins.
And you want it for free..
It took the Romans, and others of their time, years and years to learn how make it and to do it. If you want to start again from scratch for fun go ahead. Just don't ask the few who know for their knowledge and time for free and then feel entitled and upset when the answer is No.
Tip;
It is perfectly possible to paint walls and columns to fake venetian and marble/stone really well. It's another specialisation known to only a few painters and decorators. Try that, it better matches your own training and skills.
Or spend a long time grinding rock.
 

The Hobo

Well-Known Member
I actually found this quite interesting, mental, but interesting. Why can’t you have a go at whatever you want to in your own home?

Advice wise I am absolutely no use to you I’m afraid. Perhaps use a buffer instead of sandpaper?

Doesnt Venetian use dyes?

I must say though, by the time you’ve bought all these materials plus all your time spent trying to create the plaster, you may as well have bought the stuff.

But all the best to you
well man thought u were the guy
 
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