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Creating different effects with Venetian Plaster

Venetian plaster is an Italian finishing plaster (stucco) loved by interior designers for its beauty and luxurious, high-end finish.

It can be applied to a variety of different surfaces — so long as they are porous. These include stone, permeable concrete and drywall, making venetian plaster suitable for a wide range of indoor applications.

The traditional recipe for venetian plaster is simple: lime putty and natural pigments, mixed with natural stone dust such as marble.

The modern recipe is the same, except synthetic additives are sometimes used. These might add additional waterproofing, for use in wet areas, or a special colour to the mix that would not be achievable with natural pigments.

Creating different effects

The great thing about venetian plaster is no two applications have to be the same. This makes it possible to create different effects, from the smooth finish that lines the houses of royalty, to a pitted finish you might find in an urban bar.


One of the popular trends right now is to add metallic pigments to the venetian mix, which creates a silvery, bronze, gold or rose gold finish. The metallic pigment brings out the texture of the plaster, giving it a beautiful depth. Metal leaf, such as gold leaf, can also be added to create unique patterns and artwork.

Pitted finish

Pitted venetian plaster gives a wall a rustic, aged appearance. Many people prefer this to the high sheen of a polished finish, and some people can’t decide which they like best, so end up with a bit of both. Pitted plaster is texturized and rough to the touch, capturing the light in interesting ways.

Dragged finish

Dragged venetian plaster has a directional texture and is one of the most difficult finishes to get right. The aim is to create directional lines no more than 0.5mm thick, or perhaps a little more if desired. The lines are not straight ‘cuts’ – they are textured lines, with broken sections, which give the wall a worn appearance.

Polished finish

Polished venetian plaster is the traditional application. This is what you’ll find in the grandest buildings in Italy. The plaster is polished by rubbing it with a trowel. This process is called burnishing, and it’s a highly skilled job. The plaster can be polished to a semi-matte or glossy finish, depending on the desired look.

Colour changes

Venetian plaster is, traditionally, marble-like in appearance. However, the plaster mix can be tinted virtually any colour. This is useful for colour-coding a room. For example, you might like the finished wall to be a pale shade of blue. Natural pigments are best, but if these can’t create the desired colour, synthetic pigments are available.

Have an exciting project?

Chrysalis can help you achieve the perfect finish for your next project, whether you’re interested in a polished, pitted or metallic one. Contact us today to get started – call us on 0772 548 8669 or send us a message. Thank you.

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