How to Apply Venetian Polished Plaster

Evoke polished plaster interiors residential example

In this article:

  • How to apply Venetian polished plaster to walls and ceilings
  • The tools you need to apply polished plaster
  • How to prepare for a Venetian plaster application
  • How-to video: Venetian plastered ceiling

When it comes to Venetian plastering, London specialists in the trade have its application off to a fine art. And it is exactly that: an art form, honed over hundreds of years.

Emanating from Venice in Italy, Venetian plaster became exceptionally popular during the Renaissance period, but it was widely used a long time before this. In fact there is evidence of it being used during Roman times.

Venetian polished plaster delivers an elegant, mirror finish that never fails to turn heads. It really is one of those finishes that makes a statement, and there is an incredible array of choice too in terms of patterns and colours, including decorative logos and stencils.

What’s more, polished plaster is a robust material, known as a ‘lifetime finish’, rarely disposed to cracks or shrinkage like other interior applications.

As you can imagine, bearing all of this in mind, applying polished plaster calls for a highly expert approach. It really is no job for an amateur, being a very specialist form of plastering. Polished plaster specialists London wide are intricately trained in the artisan craft of Venetian polished plaster application.

It is quite an unusual product to work with, well-known for showing up imperfections. A huge amount of skill and many hours of labour are required just to complete a single wall or ceiling. Make no mistake, this is not something that can be learnt overnight, or even over a year. It takes many years of practice to perfect this skill.

In order to demonstrate the effort, dexterity and knowledge that go into applying polished plaster, London based experts from our team here at Evoke Polished Plaster have put together a step by step guide to show you how it’s done, complete with top tips on selecting the right tools for the job, and getting the preparations right.

What tools are required to apply Venetian polished plaster?

It is crucial to use the right tools to apply polished plaster. Otherwise you quite simply won’t be able to achieve the flawless lustre that beautifully reflects the light. The very finish this product is known for the world over.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Steel trowel (or drywall knife)
  • Hawk
  • 400 and 600 grit sandpaper (or steel wool)
  • Dust mask
  • Dust sheets
  • Lint-free cleaning cloths
  • Mutton cloth
  • Protective coating, e.g. Cera Wax

How to prepare ahead of applying polished plaster?

The surface to be plastered must be clean and free from imperfections. Fill any holes or cracks, and sand any rough textures to a smooth finish. Clean away any dirt or grease, leaving a smooth surface for the best possible adherence.

It is possible to plaster over painted walls, but if it is gloss paint, then give it a sand to get rid of the sheen.

Importantly, be sure to round off the corners of the walls with sandpaper so that you don’t cut into the plaster with your trowel. This can cause unsightly flaws.

How to apply Venetian polished plaster to walls and ceilings

This is a coat-by coat application process, culminating in three full coats of Venetian plaster.

First coat

Whilst the first coat doesn’t really affect the final finish of the surface, it will play an important role when it comes to applying the next two coats.

Begin at the corner of the room working your way inwards, using your trowel and hawk to apply a thin coat of plaster. Don’t worry if the coating is that thin you can see the wall behind it. Just be sure to make it thin, but even. Your objective is to achieve a smooth surface.

Once you’re satisfied the first coat is nice and even, leave it to dry for at least 16 hours.

Second coat

Before you start on the second coat, give the wall or ceiling a good sanding, first with 400 grit sandpaper then with 600 grit, or just use steel wool. Work in small areas, with circular motions and very little pressure. Re-tape your wall or ceiling where necessary. Now you are ready to apply your second coat.

Your goal with the second coat is to fill the first coat. The smoother your first coat, the easier you will find this stage. Again, start from the corner, work your way inwards, and keep it thin and even. Use thin, short strokes for consistent coverage.

Once you’re done, give this coat a minimum of 24 hours to dry.

Third coat

High end finishes call for a third coat of Venetian polished plaster for the ultimate flawless finish. Use the same method as you did for the second coat, but there is no need to sand ahead of applying this one.

Let this last coat dry only until it starts to go matte. This should take no more than an hour. Leave it too long, and you’ll find the next polishing step very difficult.


Take your trowel and hold it flat against the wall or ceiling. Press lightly, and move it in small circles. The aim here is to flatten and burnish the plaster, which brings out the contrasting colours that give Venetian polished plaster its unique finish. Take care not to allow the corners of the trowel to scratch or nick the plaster. If this happens, be sure to repair it immediately, and leave to dry to a matte finish again.

Now use a lint-free cloth to wipe away any dust. Next, sand over the surface again as you did before applying the second coat. The finer the grain of the surface, the higher its sheen will be and the more light it will reflect. Wipe down again with your lint-free cloth to remove the final dust.


There are various finishes you can use to bring up the shine of your Venetian polished plaster and protect it against dirt and grime and make it easier to clean. Cera Wax is one of the most popular, and the one most often used by our polished plaster specialists in London. Use mutton cloth to apply the wax until you see that stunning mirror finish you’ve been waiting for.

Venetian polished plastering in action: How to apply polished plaster to a ceiling

Take a look at our time-lapse video showing the three-coat application of Spatulato Venetian plaster to a ceiling.

Evoke Venetian Plastering London

Evoke are the polished plaster specialists London interiors experts recommend. Our experts have been honing their artisan craft over many years and as such come highly rated, with the likes of Harrods, Quaglino’s and Timberland having engaged our services for an array of exceptionally high-end, high-budget projects.

Venetian polished plastering application calls for a great deal of creativity, imagination, skill and knowledge. Here at Evoke, we have them all and are ready to talk to you about your next interiors project whenever you are.

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