DIY Silk Plaster at Home: Part I

Silk Plastering the Quote

Our project is officially under way! After the initial idea of a tree with branches, we decided to just go with a quote above the doorways in our living room. (This is mostly due to the fact that we don’t own our apartment and even though our landlord is great, we want to keep the personalization of our space to minimal and classy.) For this quote from Lao Tzu, we will use the East 960 because it will stand out best against the white wall we already have. As a first experience with Silk Plaster we want to stay within minimal usage in order to see how things look, how they dry, and how we feel about the result.

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The Preparation of Silk Plaster Liquid Wall Covering

There is definitely a part of me that is artsy and creative, and an adjoining part that is nerdy. I really enjoyed preparing the mixture, as is was great to see the differently colored silk and cotton particles joined together by the water. Admittedly, it was also a lot of fun to feel the mixture; it was like being a kid again and playing with a mushy material. For the moment the product is sitting in a bag, soaking in all the water, and becoming the homogeneous material that we need it to be before application. Tip: be sure to have the work space area and floor protected as the small particles will undoubtedly get free from the initial bag and fall to the floor, table, etc.

Perhaps even more importantly, I am focused on preparing the wall for application. I have to make sure the surface that I use is primed, and then I have to lightly sketch a couple lines or points onto the wall so the quote goes on there straight and legible. One of the unknowns at the moment is just how much material to apply because the lettering isn’t going to be particularly wide. It will have to be wide enough for which to use the trowel, but I’ll have a handy, moist cloth nearby to wipe away the excess product and keep the lettering looking clean and professional.

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Our Process

While Silk Plaster is a DIY or “Do It Yourself” product, all users, whether experienced or amateurs, need to make sure enough time is set aside for all steps of the product preparation and wall preparation. Tip: Make a list in advance of all the additional things you will need. For example, we were going to borrow a step stool from the neighbors, but when we went by to ask for it, we discovered that they were not home. Our fallback plan was a kitchen chair and I can say, while it’s not as easy or comfortable as the initial idea of a step stool, it is just as effective.

In advance, and before the preparation of the Silk Plaster, I took some time to measure, mark, and sketch lines on the wall so the quote would be evenly painted across the way. Using a leveling tool, I made notch marks 10cm from the ceiling, and again at intervals of 17,5cm and 32,5cm. The goal is to sketch the outline of the letting so they are 15cm high, and approximately four to eight centimeters wide, depending on the letter.  Since I am a perfectionist by nature (be that good or bad!) I made sure that what I wanted to spell out had enough space before doing any sort of plaster application to the wall. Tip: It is important to remember that the product needs between two and twelve hours to thoroughly soak up all water mixed in, but I found that because we were using a smaller amount, I only needed between two and three hours for the plaster to be ready.

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I discovered that this was a multiple day project because standing on a kitchen chair for that long in order to measure, sketch, mark, and then use masking tape was just too much strain on my back and knees. Check in next week for photos of the finished project after the product dried and after the masking tape was removed. Our method of preparing the wall for decoration is not the prescribed method and may not work for everyone. It is important that in addition to all preparatory measures, that you enjoy yourself! Have fun!

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