Decorative plaster wet silk

Recommendation points

When choosing interior decoration, it is customary to fight for originality and non-trivial appearance. One of the techniques for applying Venetian plaster provides good opportunities for this without significantly increasing the cost and increasing the complexity of the work. We are talking about “wet silk” plaster, which we will try to deal with in detail.

Decorative plaster wet silk

The essence of technology and appearance

The final type of plaster, referred to as wet silk, is an almost smooth surface, similar to a cut of a noble stone with a low glossiness and slightly velvety texture. In addition to the effect of crumpled silk, you can imitate frost or shabby suede, it all depends on the practice and sophistication of technology.

Wet silk Venetian plaster

Despite the fact that during application the same composition is used without differences in tinting, the drawing contains 2-3 different tones. This is achieved due to a lighter substrate and partial transparency of the composition. If desired, the contrast of the picture can be increased, we will definitely tell you about the technique of such an application..

Decorative plaster wet silk

When finished, wet silk is an example of a very practical anti-static coating. The plaster can be easily cleaned with a sponge and soapy water. If desired, the appearance can be updated by applying 2-3 new layers, the color mismatch will not play a decisive role in that. It is also possible to sand the surface to prepare it for another type of finish: adhesion to the substrate is excellent.

Decorative plaster wet silk

Of the disadvantages, the most pronounced are the complexity of application and a rather high requirement for the quality of materials and surface preparation. Of course, wet silk requires a certain skill of work, at least knowledge of the basics of plastering, as well as high accuracy. And nevertheless, even from the hands of non-professionals, quite decent coatings come out, although without any special exclusive claims. Note also that wet silk can be both the main cover and an element of decor.

Materials for application

The material for application is based on an acrylic binder with the addition of polyester. The base, which determines the properties of the material during application, is practically no different from the base of Venetian plaster, this is their main similarity. However, the filler used is different: in contrast to the traditional “Venetian” marble dust, wet silk uses cellulose and other fibers that dye and reflect pigments. This radically changes the appearance of the coating and its response to lighting..

The second compulsory material used in the application of wet silk is paint, which forms a base 2-3 tones lighter than plaster. It is recommended to use a high quality acrylic dispersion paint. It should have a high hiding power, which is achieved mainly by high-quality priming of the surface..

Ready plaster wet silk

Tinting paint and plaster can be done independently, but there is one caveat. The pigment contains a high amount of moisture, and the proportion of its content in the finished composition is always standardized by the manufacturer. When manually dyeing in saturated dark tones, up to 15-20% of the dye is used, which is the limit of the color content. With vibration mixing in the paintwork salon, the final concentration of the dye is slightly lower, respectively, the plaster and paint are thicker. Hence the conclusion: high-quality tinting completely determines the final look and durability of the coating..

Surface preparation

The composition of wet silk almost completely loses its ductility upon drying. Therefore, all surface defects, such as cracks, swelling, loosening, organic damage – all of them will negatively affect the appearance of the coating. More precisely, they will completely ruin it.

Because of these shortcomings, plastered walls are rarely covered with wet silk and only after reinforcement with fiberglass mesh or canvas. In most cases, it is recommended to assemble false walls or pasting plasterboard. Seams must be sealed in accordance with the original technology: with cutting joints, which are reinforced with paper or plastic filler at the junction with the capital structures.

Sealing plasterboard joints

In addition to the strength of the base, its roughness is also regulated. The surface is putty and sanded according to the requirements of preparation for painting in one layer. In other words, there should be no visible scratches, sagging and visual unevenness on the processed plane. After leveling and sanding, the surface must be dedusted and opened with deeply penetrating soil. It is important here to avoid drips, which, when solidified, form local irregularities. After drying, the walls are wiped with a 100-120 grit mesh, peeling off the adhering sand and bristles. As a result, the wall plane is perfectly smooth and solid, with a slight glossy sheen..

Grouting putty

The final stage of preparation is painting the substrate. It is preceded by pasting the corners on the abutments with masking tape: in the classic application scheme, wet silk is never located close to the corners, instead there is a white border of an unpainted base. It is recommended to paint the surface with a roller or spray gun, the edge of the masking tape is painted over with a brush. There should be no adhering pile, pebbles and dust on the surface, they are removed immediately as they are stained.

Masking tape application


Like Venetian plaster, wet silk is applied in two stages. On the first, the surface is covered with plaster completely as thin as possible. The direction of movement is not controlled here. It is only important to cover the treated area evenly and without gaps, setting the primary toning, and at the same time controlling the smoothness of the surface, removing sagging and stripes. It is important that each plane is applied continuously, in subsequent layers, processing in separate areas is possible.

Wet silk plastering

Actually, an unlimited number of layers of wet silk can be applied, usually from two to five, including the base one. We will discuss the technique of their application separately, for now it is worth learning the basic rules of overlap. The main one is that the thickness of all superimposed layers, starting from the second, should be 1.5–2 times greater than the first. Thus, with a two-layer application, the second layer has a quite tangible thickness, but with the number of layers of 4 or more, each subsequent layer is rubbed as thinly as the first.

Plaster has limited transparency and after 4–5 coats the specific visual effect is usually lost. However, it is important to experience the play of light and shadow with your own eyes, as well as deeper toning on overlapping strokes. Another feature is that when smeared with a spatula, the microscopic fibers of the plaster are pulled in the direction of movement, which is the reason for the principle of creating a unique pattern.

Artistic techniques and finishing

When applying wet silk, it is important to understand that the stronger the pressure of the spatula, the more pronounced the difference in color refraction will be. In general, the behavior of the finish is similar to suede or velor: if you run your hand over them in different directions, the villi will reflect the incident light differently. It is also important that when the plaster is stretched, its lowest thin layer dries quickly and sticks to the surface, while the rest of the mass retains plasticity, if not fluidity..

Wet silk plastering

If this is your first time dealing with wet silk, select several scraps of gypsum board, paint them with a tinting base on the ground and evaluate from your own experience how the appearance changes depending on the direction of the strokes. The plaster is applied with a steel or plastic trowel, usually round or with rounded corners. The tool is pressed tightly against the wall or ceiling with the entire plane, with pressure, the composition is accelerated over the unfilled areas, forming torn edges at the intersections of strokes. You can drive the trowel either without tearing or in separate movements, but for the last layer, even rubbing is still recommended. When applying, the trowel can move in an eight, along a circular path, a herringbone or in a chaotic manner.

Wet silk plastering

It often makes sense that the coating on different surfaces or even entirely done with one pair of hands, but this is rather a requirement for finishing with claims for an exclusive look. The features of the painter’s muscular motor skills do not have a significant effect, unless a certain pattern or pattern is conceived. But you should be aware that the same composition can have very significant differences depending on the application technique, the width and length of the strokes..

After drying, each layer can be processed with a new metal trowel, which is pressed down at a very sharp angle, practically close. The smallest metal particles remain on the protruding parts of the plane, increasing the contrast of the pattern. Usually, the layers are “burned” with the same spatula as they are applied, so the metal surface is polished more and more from layer to layer and the burning effect becomes softer. Finally, wet silk can be rendered hydrophobic by opening the finish with a thin layer of beeswax. These are the same compounds used to protect wet plaster, but note that hydrophobic treatment almost always distorts the color and makes the drawing a little duller..

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