Polished Venetian Plaster

view of old venice

Venetian plaster is a finishing technique for walls which creates a smooth surface with an illusion of depth and texture.

The technique was first developed to recreate the plastered walls of Venice, Italy where walls develop a soft patina over time.

The many layers required can give an old world look without having to wait hundreds of years.

The smooth finish is often described as having a marbled or polished look which adds something different to your average plastered wall.

The more layers which are added the greater the effect. The result is smooth but looks textured.

Creating a Venetian plastered finish

  • Buy Venetian plaster from your DIY store, or if it isn't available find a specialist stockist online. Choose a colour which will fit in with your walls as Venetian plaster is not usually painted over.
  • Use a small spatula to cover a small area with a thin layer using a backwards and forwards motion and overlapping the plaster as you go. Don't cover the wall entirely – let some of the wall show through. Allow the pattern to be random. Allow to dry.
  • Add another layer by skimming the surface with a small amount of plaster. This will fill in any areas which were missed earlier. Continue to cover the surface making the wall level and smooth. Allow to dry and repeat with another 2-4 coats as desired.
  • Once all layers are dry start the polishing process. Using a 600 grit sandpaper, smooth the surface using circular strokes. A steel spatula can also be used for a highly polished look. Hold it flat against the wall and rub in circular motion. Keep polishing until the desired effect is created.
  • Once the wall is complete and dry you can add a protective glaze or wax designed for Venetian plaster.

This technique can be used on interior walls or in areas such as patios or around swimming pools as it is durable and hard-wearing. The finish should not crack or flake and should even get better as time goes on.

Good lighting will make a Venetian plaster wall look even better. It will reflect more light than standard plaster which tends to absorb the light. The larger the wall the more dramatic the lighting effect will be.

Venetian plaster adds a rustic look to your home and gives it an old world charm. Add some antique Italian or French furniture and you have a look which will be effortlessly chic and relaxed at the same time.

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