Long before the time for the hundred years and as early as the ancient Egyptians, the employment of plaster in lavish designs was a common decorating solution to simple walls and ceilings. In the turn of the century, in the Usa States and abroad, Cast Plaster Ornamentation and Raised Plaster Stenciling were used to add architectural beauty to stately homes and government buildings. You can still find it in homes including the “Biltmore” mansions, fine hotels and various downtown structures all over America and in Europe and France.
The Vatican is well known for its grand use of cast plaster ornamentation, with elements dating back to its construction still gracing walls, Newcastle plasterers. Cast Plaster Ornamentals washed out using their once “stylish” reputation round the 1920’s and 30’s except in more high end homes and mansions. It is my sensation that this was to some extent due to the economical downturn of the war years and home builders switching to more cost effective building styles. Since then, this form of decorating has rarely been seen in the common decorating market. That may be, until now.
With Elevated Plaster stenciling now being featured in magazines articles, home decorating shows on television set and at numerous home decorating fairs across the nation, cast plastsorter is quickly following suit. Cast plaster is simply pouring common Plaster of Paris mixed with drinking water in to a mildew that has been dispersed or brushed with any release agent (such as cooking oil, mineral olive oil or mold release) and allowed to harden.
Firstly, before plaster pieces can be applied to walls or ceilings, they need to be bone dried out. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days with respect to the density of the design. Heavier pieces are applied the same way but with small pilot holes drilled and finishing nails gently tapped in to location to keep the piece firm as the joint compound dries.
Masters of plaster design create dramatic effects using cast plaster designs on ceilings and walls of the very wealthy. You can see types of this beautiful treatment all over the internet. Simply research “Victorian Plaster Ceiling”. Several of these ceiling and wall designs cost actually 1000s of dollars when created by a pro; but you avoid need to hire a master to create this beauty at home and it doesn’t have to set you back an arm, a leg and your first created!
To find plaster molds, simply search the term on the internet and appropriate sites will come up. Virtually any mold may be used to create designs. Molds designed for candy, candle lights, soaps or even more detailed architectural molds can be combined in various ways to achieve a myriad of possibilities.
An essential aspect of this construction is the 6mm gap involving the laths, as this provides a ‘key’ for the plastsorter as it pushes through and bulges out the back of the lath slightly. This crucial keying of the plasterwork is also the source of all plasterwork failures; as the keys steadily break away due to normal movement of houses over extended durations of time.
There are many ways of mending sagging lath and plasterwork, but due to financial reasons, it is often removed and replaced with modern materials such as sheetrock (plasterboard). This technique will at least allow for much better insulation material for use, thus saving energy and heating costs in the future life of the house.