How To Achieve A Venetian Plaster Finish

Venetian plaster is a plastering technique which uses a fine delicate layer of of lime plaster, which is then polished to give a glossy appearance. This type of finish is known as Venetian Plaster, Marmorino, and Stucco Lustro Veneziano and has been used throughout history starting in Egyptian times. Venetian Plastering was used by the Romans, and during the renaissance for decorating palaces and villas.

The composition of Venetian polished plaster is that of Marble dust & lime, and occasionally quartz dust is added.

The industrial process of making Venetian polished plaster involves heating limestone in kilns, which is then emulsified with water. The mixture is then left to age for some years. The result is a lime putty which requires exposure to air to cure.

After aging is complete the putty is mixed with a variety of materials to add decorative effects, commonly marble dust or quartz is used, and pigments are added to produce plasters of different colors. Exposure to the air will cure the plaster over a number of months and a durable finish is the result. The durable nature of the venetian plaster finish makes it very versatile. It can be used externally or internally, and in spaces where a less durable finish would quickly wear out.   Essentially limestone is turned into a putty which when exposed to air will harden back into a stone like finish

Recently polished plaster finishes have become popular and seen in particularly wealthy homes and office buildings.   The finish has been used  increasingly by leading architects & interior designers.  Venetian Plaster can be  suitable in almost all the rooms in the home: bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, lobbies, swimming pool walls & ceilings, wet rooms & columns.


Venetian plaster is applied with a trowel or spatula and then polished to produce a smooth surface which has an illusion of depth and translucence.

Professional decorative plasterers will charge a great deal to apply the finish for you, however its with effort & patience, you can apply this beautiful finish yourself.

What you will need

1 large trowel,1 medium trowel, and 1 small polishing trowel , spatula, primer, brush/roller, polished plaster mix. sealer, cloth, wax.

Preparing the surface for plastering

A primer needs to have a slight grit to ensure the plaster adheres to the surface.  Apply your primer with a roller, and allow it to dry for about 8 hours. The primer must be dry before plaster application.

Empire Furniture Classical Interiors - Venetian Plaster Designer Brian McCarthy

Plaster application & Polishing

1st coat: Apply first coat using the large trowel so that it covers the surface, do not apply too thickly, and leave a slight patterning in the plaster. Leave overnight to dry.

2nd coat: Using the medium trowel lightly sand 1st coat to smooth any really textured areas and then apply the 2nd coat by using small rotating motions with the trowel, working from one corner to the other, in a methodical fashion.

Use as little plaster as possible, just enough to create an even smooth finish. Leave 8 hours to dry.

3rd coat: apply as for 2nd coat, Use even less plaster than before as you will be working on a smoother surface, work your way evenly and methodically across the surface with the small trowel, applying the thinnest possible coat consistent with covering the surface completely.

As the plaster dries, using an acute angle with your trowel smooth and compress the plaster using a cutting motion, this will give it a polished even glassy shine. Leave 24 hours to dry.


The plaster effect can left in its natural state if desired. It can however be sealed, if the application is in an area subject to humidity, such as a bathroom. Sealing is achieved by applying 2 thin coats of sealer , the 2nd coat can be applied 1 hour after the 1st. Leave for 24hours at which point its possible to also apply wax to give the plaster added shine and protection.

Additional Rooms By Brian J. McCarthy

Classical Interiors By Brian J. McCarthy Seen In Elle Decor


Classical Interiors By Brian J. McCarthy Seen In Elle Decor


Classical Interiors By Brian J. McCarthy Seen In Elle Decor

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