4 Venetian plaster tips for beginners

4 Venetian plaster tips for beginners

Are you looking forward to doing some Venetian plaster walls on your home, but feel like you’re not prepared for it yet? Or maybe you have done it already, but feel like something was off during the process and are looking for directions?

No matter what is the reason, there are some tips here that might help you to get better results. These are basics, but something that new decorators might easily miss as they have not done enough walls yet.

What is Venetian plastering

So you might be tired of your old home décor and want a change so you have spent some time at the local home improvement store browsing for some decorating ideas. There you might have come upon this fine way to decorate your walls, Venetian plaster.

Venetian plaster gives walls the appearance of a natural stone finish, which is exactly what you might want for your living rooms or bedrooms. Starting might seem a bit challenging though multiple layers of plaster have to be done and you might not be too familiar with the tools either.

For that reason, here are some tips to get you started. Like with any decoration, it’s important to find the key points that will turn your wall from a regular surface to a piece of art.

Materials needed

Here are the basics that you need. Obviously, you need plaster to do plastering, but when it comes to trowels I’d like to explain a bit. Short trowels are obviously easy to use, but you can’t do as a level surface with these as you can with longer trowels.

You can imagine it like covering a large surface and trying to make it level with something small. If it takes 10 sweeps with the trowel, there are 10 lines drawn by it. If you do it with a trowel two times bigger, there will be only 2 lines.

When it comes to sandpaper grit, you are polishing the surface of the plaster. You’re not sanding it like you would do joint compound in drywall.

  • Venetian plaster in whatever color you choose
  • Venetian plaster trowel
  • 400-grit and 600-grit sandpaper or steel Venetian spatula

Venetian plaster tips

Now it’s time for the tips. Following these guidelines you will do better than average job.

Step One: Apply plaster over the walls.

Using a Venetian plaster trowel, apply the plaster to the wall working in small sections (two to three feet sections). I personally like to apply plaster from up to down, but that is just my preference.

I start near the ceiling and spread the plaster down towards the ceiling, then apply it near the ceiling and pull the trowel towards the floor. When I work my way down the wall I just spread the plaster from down to up overlapping the already done plaster.

The good thing in this is that the falling plaster won’t damage the surface you’ve already done.

Apply a thin coat, overlapping your strokes, until you have covered the area in a thin coat of plaster. It is okay if you miss some small spots, as this will give the decorative paint a more authentic appearance. You will also do 3 layers of plastering so it’s not that important.

Step Two: Level the wall with the second layer

After the plaster has dried, you will need to level and smooth out the high and low areas of the plaster. Now if you did the first layer vertically, now you will work horizontally from left to right or right to left.

Apply a workable amount of plaster to the trowel that won’t fall down and skim over the surface to fill in surface dips. Continue to work in small areas applying a thin layer to smooth over the high and low spots. Again, move systematically.

Allow the plaster to dry before you apply the final coat – – two coats provide a greater amount of texture to the wall.

As your wall is now level, for the final layer of plaster apply it thinly, overlapping and keeping the strokes random so there is no definite pattern. This will create the final texture of the wall.

How to polish Venetian plaster with sandpaper

Step Three: Sand and polish

To finish and polish the Venetian plaster, you can use 400-grit and 600-grit sandpaper working in small, circular patterns to buff and polish the surface. It’s the same concept as polishing concrete floors.

Why do it in circles? It won’t draw lines to the wall and it can help it becoming more level and also to bring out the texture in it.

You may also use a steel spatula for a more polished look. Hold it flat against the wall, apply pressure and rub in a fast, circular motion.

Continue over the entire wall until the Venetian plaster has a glossy, polished finish. It should look like a polished stone wall with beautiful texture.

Beginner tips for applying Venetian plaster

  • Practice first. Use an old piece of plaster or wood to practice before you apply it to your walls. This will give you an idea of how thin to apply the plaster and how to keep the strokes random.
  • Use a colored plaster. It is much easier to use a pre-colored plaster than to paint the plaster. This takes out a step and makes the job easier.
  • Buy a Venetian plaster trowel. Do not try to save money by using any type of spatula. Buy a trowel that is specifically designed to apply Venetian plaster.
  • Keep the steel trowel clean while applying the plaster to avoid unwanted surface marks.
  • Apply a protective topcoat specifically designed for decorative paint or Venetian plaster finishes in high-moisture rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms.


This 4 Venetian plaster tips for beginners guide was meant for the How to do Venetian plaster surfaces 3 steps guide. There are always small details that are missed because some things you only learn by doing.

One thing like that is the use of trowels. You can read about it, but it’s like reading how to walk. How much plaster to put in and how to spread it on the wall is best learned by doing it.

Good way to start is to place enough plaster on the trowel that you won’t make a mess with. When you get better you can place more and become faster.

The most important piece here, if you’re not confident, is practicing on small are. Get a board or something else to plaster on. After you have it right, move on to the wall and do it in the same fashion.

It’s important when you work with, plaster to do narrow enough slices of the wall. This way the plaster won’t dry before you do it from up to down or another way around. If it starts to dry, it will start rolling with the trowel and that just won’t do.

For more about plaster walls and ceilings, read the link.

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