Raised Plaster Designs On Your Walls Is Easy

Published: 31st May 2007
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If you have yet to try it, stenciling with pre-mixed joint compound or plaster should be a must for your 2007 "To do" list!

Raised designs on walls, is a rapidly growing and truly exciting trend these days! Its beauty is un-equaled!

Though stenciling itself is a very easy craft to perform, stenciling with plaster for raised designs on your walls is by far, the easiest thing I've ever done. I've always been completely fascinated with the very ornate walls of Victorian homes and mansions. When I discovered that President and Mrs. Roosevelt had commissioned the use of stencils to create plaster designs on the walls and ceilings in our beloved White House back in 1905, I was suddenly overtaken with fascination! What I saw in old White House photos were richly detailed designs that were incredible!

I became nearly frantic to give it a whirl for myself. I ran to my local home store and picked up a bucket of joint (used by contractors to finish the walls in your home), designed a quickie stencil, cut it out of heavy plastic and tried my first design. Instantly, I was hooked!

The process is literally as simple as frosting the top of a cake. Simply tape the stencil to the wall, smear on joint compound to fill the cut out holes with a flat palette knife or plastic scraper, then pull the stencil from the wall and allow to dry (usually about 30 minutes). There, for all to behold, is an incredible raised design on your walls! How much easier can decorating get than that?

Through experimentation, we have found that by adding a bit of white glue (such as Elmer's - for instance), the joint compound can now be applied to very slick surfaces such as glass, mirror, high gloss walls, and pre-painted furniture. We were ecstatic with excitement! So off we went, creating highly ornate furniture out of old trunks and tables we might normally discard, adding raised plaster designs to vases and urns, outdoor planters and deck rails, even canvas for hanging in a picture frame on the wall! We have yet to find the one item that we absolutely cannot stencil with plaster.

We've found that joint compound is not the only medium we can use to create raised designs. We have found that stucco repair, powdered wall repair, powdered plaster, pre-mixed wood putty and even concrete can be used with ease in it's place for specialty projects (now we can add raised designs to our plain block walls!).

I've found a huge reward for my efforts in reviving this old decorating technique in the number of letters and photos I've received from people who have used my designs to decorate their homes in ways they never thought possible. I regularly feature those happy customers and their creative use of the plaster stencils on my Website. I love showing them off

My own home is now extensively plastered with designs such as life-sized columns and intricate frames and vines. Even the beginner exclaims with delight how easy it was and how the whole neighborhood is amazed with the magical feat it must have taken to perform such art on the wall. (It does look like you either spent a fortune or worked your tail end off to accomplish it!).

Once you have plastered your walls, there is any number of ways to finish them if you prefer color to your design (though I love just painting them the same color of the wall).

You can leave the plaster as it dries (pure white), paint it your wall color, or add color to the design with a stencil brush and paint. Acrylics or stencil creams can be used with a simple stencil brush and light strokes of color just over the raised design (the flat end of the brush is great because it only touches the top of the raised portion and not the wall behind!). Faux finishing the wall in a sponged effect is also a great way to show off your design even further, since the color tends to pool in the recesses of the design.

Color can also be added right in to the joint compound using any form of pure pigment coloring such as stucco or concrete powdered colors, food decorating colors, fabric dye or any of the number of pigment paints available on the market.

There is absolutely no end to the things you can decorate with plaster stenciling.

• Walls, cupboards, doors and drawers.

• Wooden boxes, chests and footlockers.

• Vases, lamps, jewel boxes.

• Crates, Welcome signs, canvases meant for painting.

• Flower boxes, Flower pots, Photo Frames.

• Stairway posts, Stairway Fascia boards, Front Porch posts.

• Memory/Scrapbook covers, Memory pages, greeting cards.

Designs range from highly detailed moldings and borders for walls, life-sized plaster columns and trees to corner and border designs for ceilings.

Now combine plaster stenciling with ornate cast plaster ornaments (where you pour mixed plaster in to a mold) and you have true plaster "Art" that literally costs thousands of dollars to have done to your walls by a professional, but you did it simply and easily and with very little cost.

Are you looking for a new and fun project for your children? Try plaster stenciling! They can create greeting cards for Grandma, plaster then paint little card board boxes for jewel boxes or plaster inexpensive wooden photo frames.



Copyright © Victoria Larsen 2007


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