how to use dry mix plasters
Watch the video and read the instructions below.
Using Vasari dry mixes is fast, easy and economical. Dry mixes are less expensive than our wet mixes, cheaper to ship, lighter to deal with per bucket, keeps forever and can't freeze. When doing larger jobs, dry mix can be a huge cost saver. If you're working on something that requires 10 or more 5 gallons buckets, dry mix can save you thousands of dollars on material cost. If you only need a bucket or two and you don't have the proper mixing tools, it's not worth it. Take a look at our price list to see the difference. Also, when ordering more than 10 buckets of dry mix (or wet), give us a call and we'll find a more affordable shipping solution.
When using dry mixes, you'll have to tint your own plaster. You can purchase tint from us or you can buy tints from your local paint store. They can formulate your custom color, or you can purchase unmixed tints and do your own mixing. Check out our Colorants section for more information on coloring your own plasters.
Each bucket shouldn't take you more than 5 minutes to mix and tint. Mixing the Marmorino, Stucco and Lime Wash is particularly fast. The sand helps pulverize any little bits of plaster and the Lime Wash tends to easily dissolve in water. If the Marmorino is still a little chunky, you can pour it through a fiberglass window screen.
Veneziano needs to be very smooth and creamy when you apply it. With every bucket of dry mix Veneziano, we provide a 5 gallon paint strainer to make sure your mix is as smooth as possible. When you mix the plaster, it should be thin enough to pass through a filter. Sometimes you need to squeeze the filter bag to make sure it goes through.
HOW TO MIX IT
SAFETEY FIRST: ALWAYS WEAR EYE PROTECTION, GLOVES AND A RESPIRATOR / DUST MASK WHEN WORKING WITH DRY MIXES.
Dry mixes come in a 5 gallon container. You can mix the whole bucket or just take as much as you need. If you wish to mix smaller batches, mix up the dry power in first ensuring that it's homogenous, then divide the water / powder mix accordingly. In shipping, lime likes to float to the top of the bucket, so if you skim off the top for small batches, make sure to mix the powder completely.
Use a 1200 rpm mixer and a 30" mixing paddle with a 4-5" head. This is very necessary. The plaster doesn't dissolve in water as easily as cement or drywall mud. A typical 1200 rpm mixer is a Milwaukee Hole Hawg. It's 7.5Amp, 1/2" bit and has a low speed setting for 300 rpm. There other tools of the same calibre. Buy whichever ones fits the profile. The Milwaukee costs about $300 new in most hardware stores. Used one are available at used tool stores for half the price. The 30" mixing paddle is sometimes tricky to find. They're almost always available at masonary stores and Ace Hardware. You can use a vortex head or one that looks more like an eggbeater. The square heads used for drywall mud can also be used but aren't as effecient. 'Squirrel' mixers don't work very well. If your mixing smaller batches, you can use 24" paddles. Proper mixing tools make a huge difference in your productivity and sanity. Don't improvise.
Because the plaster compacts in shipping, loosen the dry mix so it doesn't fall out all at once. In a seperate bucket, prepare about 10 quarts of water. Cold or hot will work, but warmer water will make it dissolve quicker with less chances of undisolved bits of plaster left over. Gently pour the powder into the water until it's full. Immerse you paddle and mix on low speed (if you have it) otherwise give a very short sporadic mix until the powder is mostly diluted. If you're on high speed, you might spin the plaster and water out of the bucket making a nice mess. Immediately add the rest of the powder into the mix. Mix until that's diluted. Then repeat the process until the last of the dry powder is finished. Take a stir stick and scrape the inside edges of the bucket to get any remaining dry 'clumps' and mix again for several minutes until there are no clumps left. Have extra water in case the mix is too thick. Pour only small amounts at a time. Try mixing quickly as it will ensure a smoother mix . This will prevent undissolved plaster.
When you mix, air will get into the mix. After a few hours or day, the plaster might feel a little foamy as the air is mixed into the product. If you mix it again, the air will pop out and leave you with a nice dense and creamy plaster. If it sits around for weeks entrained with air, the bubbles in the mix might get a little crusty. That's why it's recommended to remix it after the first time.
When air excapes the mix, bubbles might 'plop' out projecting the plaster upwards of up to several feet..meaning it can hit you in the eyes. WEAR EYE PROTECTION. We're not kidding. It's not fun when you get it in your eyes.
The plaster can be mixed thick or thin. If it's mixed thick, you can use it right away. If it's thin, it will settle in a few hours or a few days until it's thick and creamy enough to use. Also when mixed thin, it's easy to strain. When straining, you can use a fiberglass door and window screen mesh for the Marmorino or the provided paint strainer for the Veneziano. With the paint strainer, you might have to squeeze it through with your hands. Make sure to wear gloves (and all the other protection). Straining doesn't have to be done on the first coat. It's the last that counts.
A small tip for straining with window screen is to take a 5 gallon bucket lid, cut the inside of the lid out with a jiggsaw, leaving only the frame of the lid. Remove the rubber gasket from the frame, insert your screen, then reinsert the rubber gasket back into the lid. This way you have a screener that fits on top of the bucket and won't move when your plaster goes through it.
Plaster will continue to thicken for a few weeks. When you plan to store plaster, always mix more water into the product and make it slightly soupy.
When tinting plaster, if you use more than 20 ounces of tint for a medium to dark tone color, expect your plaster to become thinner. If the case, wait at least a day if not longer to let it thicken. If you need right away and it's too thin, you can roll on the plaster to the wall with a thick paint roller and back trowel the plaster. This is more effecient with Veneziano because it's a thinner product. You can even do this process for all your coats if need be.
When mixing dry lime washes, just add about a little less water than the powder. You can stir with a stick. Withing a day, all the powder will dissolve in the water. If you feel you have too much water, let the wash settle for a day and the lime wash will settle to the bottom leaving the water on the top making it easy to pour out.
Dry mixing can be tricky at first if you're not used to mixing plaster. Worst case scenario is that it gets too clumpy and you have to strain for longer than you expected. You can't completely ruin it. It will get much easier.Contact us if you have any problems.