Embossed wall decoration: materials and technique

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Despite the active dissemination of the ideas of minimalism, exclusive finishing methods do not lose their relevance in modern renovation. Material manufacturers are willing to meet the whims of consumers, offering formulations with more and more perfect properties. Today he will talk about the use of embossed plaster in wall decoration.

Embossed wall decoration

Characteristic features of the embossed finish

The main property of invoicing walls is considered to be the rejection of smooth finishing surfaces formed after painting or wallpapering. In terms of style, this can be considered a tribute to ancient architecture, in a practical sense, such a finish has no advantages. Almost all textured surfaces are devoid of the qualities that coatings like siding or paintable wallpaper have, they have the following disadvantages:

  • Low maintainability.
  • Lack of anti-static properties.
  • Problems with removing contaminants.
  • Injury risk.
  • Relatively high cost of materials.
  • A certain skill is required for correct application.

Bas-relief on the wall

It is necessary to distinguish relief from texture. Unlike conventional textured surfaces, reliefs imitate not only the appearance of the surface of various materials, but also the methods of their processing, which are often very archaic. However, the embossed finish also finds its place within the framework of modern, shocking and futuristic interior designs – often in this version, the coating does not have a small texture at all, remaining absolutely smooth.

Textured plaster

Properties of the materials used

Obviously, the retention of massive bas-reliefs is possible only if the mixture used is sufficiently thick and dense. However, in this case, the material loses its plasticity and it becomes difficult to work with it. Three types of mixtures can be considered convenient in application and well-retaining their shape:

  1. Thixotropic with a homogeneous structure. They are plastic putties without filler included.
  2. Contains lightweight granular materials for weight loss.
  3. Porous, saturated with the smallest air bubbles.

Thixotropic compositions are more difficult to manufacture, their consumption based on mass is higher, but only such plaster is considered the most universal, since it allows you to create both large and small relief forms. Such material has the same physical and mechanical properties at different layer thicknesses, which increases resistance to crack opening and mechanical stress.

Application of textured plaster using a raised roller

Embossed plasters with granules of perlite, vermiculite or expanded glass occupy some middle position between materials of a different type. They confidently hold only an average layer thickness – up to 15–20 mm, but at the same time they are quite dense and durable, often their additional processing is not required.

Porous materials are quite fragile, but their structure, in fact, is a very strong foam, which is optimal for creating bas-reliefs, while even large molding will not slip under its own weight. However, the final surface qualities after curing are far from optimal, a layer of hard material is required, for example, a putty with microfiber or ordinary gypsum, reinforced with fiberglass spider web.

Embossed finishing techniques

Conventionally, methods of working with embossed plaster can be divided into artistic and technological. The latter include those methods of work when the form is set by the nature of the movement of the working tool, and not by its shape. By crushing the plastic mixture in different directions, moving with separation, stretching and other manipulations, a relief is given that is always chaotic.

Technological methods, on the contrary, are used to form a uniform, repeating pattern, which is formed by the edge of the tool in one movement. Here are some examples:

  • Light ripples or wavy relief are applied with a wide spatula with a curved edge.
  • The bark structure can be recreated with a stencil roller.
  • Brickwork is imitated by leaving a print from the stencil panel.
  • A repetitive large embossed pattern can be made by applying plaster on a flexible stencil.

Examples of textured rollers for decorative plaster

The last method needs to be described in more detail. Ready-made stencils on sale are rare, but you can make them yourself. As a material, it is better not to use Whatman paper or packaging cardboard, the edges of which become limp, due to which the stencil loses its shape. The best options for manufacturing are paronite, moisture resistant cardboard, from which sealing gaskets are cut. As a last resort, you can use silicone baking mats, which cost a penny and are found in most stores with kitchen utensils..

Volumetric drawing on the wall using a stencil

To cut a stencil, you need to find a repeating pattern called a pattern, print it at the desired scale on several sheets, then glue the image onto a substrate. After drying, the stencil is cut out along the contours with a disposable scalpel or model knife, leaving as few serifs as possible in the corners and sharp curves. After making the sticker, it is better to soak it in warm water so that the printing ink does not stick into the wall covering..

Stenciled plaster

The procedure for using a stencil is simple. The drawing is applied in horizontal or vertical rows, starting from an arbitrary angle. With each subsequent application, the stencil is applied on one or two sides to the existing pattern. This must be done carefully, inexperienced craftsmen are better off enlisting the support of an assistant.

Decorative embossed plaster

We also draw the readers’ attention to inverted landforms, which are characterized by depressions and chipped areas on the common wall plane instead of bulges and sagging in the standard version. This technique can be performed in an unpretentious way: first you need to apply a continuous relief with sharp peaks and ridges, most of which are interconnected. After that, the plane is ground: first with a coarse trowel, then with an abrasive mesh of the required grain size. The main difficulty of this method is that the entire surface area must be processed strictly in stages, constantly controlling the curvature with a long rule. Porous mixtures are best suited for creating an inverted relief, which, after curing, are most easy to process..

Final and artistic processing

Almost always, the embossed pattern on the wall is not left as it is after the plaster has dried. First of all, you need to clean up and eliminate blemishes in the form of flakes on the edges or large scratches. You don’t need to be too zealous: for each type of relief, its own roughness tolerances apply, taking into account the hiding power of the protective coating.

After “file finishing”, the surface must be water- and dirt-resistant by covering it with a water-dispersed paint with hydrophobic properties. Processing is carried out either with a brush with a thin synthetic bristle that does not fall out, or with a spray gun. You can apply paint in several layers, but remember that the coating should be thin so as not to smooth out the fine surface texture beyond measure.

Decorating the bas-relief

Bas-reliefs, as a rule, are tinted after applying the main protective layer. Thus, the depth of the picture is emphasized, and it looks even more embossed. Before you try to do toning yourself, we recommend that you study several video tutorials from artists on the play of light and shadow. After that, you will need to choose the general direction of lighting and bring the protruding parts of the relief so that the light edges are not tinted at all, and the bevel from the side of the light source is smoothly muted, becoming more saturated towards the depression. At the same time, from the side opposite to the incidence of light, a shadow was brought in, which is 2-3 tones darker than the toning of the bevel and brightens with distance from the edge.

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