How to Paint Over Waxed Venetian Plaster


True Venetian plaster has a depth, transparency and glass-smooth texture that is nothing short of breathtaking. There is no mystery as to why it has been beloved for centuries, though it’s not quite clear why anyone would want to cover Venetian plaster. Do-it-yourself Venetian plaster is not quite as smooth, or rich, though many kits include tinted plaster and wax, which brings out the colors. It is not hard to paint Venetian plaster, but it does take some prep work. Covering Venetian plaster that is roughly textured should be done by a professional to avoid damaging walls.

Things You'll Need

  • Mineral spirits
  • Clean, lint-free shop cloths
  • Dust mask
  • Palm sander
  • 80- and 120-grit sandpaper
  • Drop cloths
  • Painter’s tape
  • Alkyd or quartz primer
  • Paint trays
  • Edging brushes
  • Long-handled paint rollers
  • Latex paint
  • Splash about 1/4 cup of mineral spirits onto a clean, lint-free cloth. Rub the dampened cloth against the wall. Let the spot dry, and check to see if the wax has been removed. If it has, continue until it has been entirely stripped away.

  • Attach 80-grit sandpaper to your palm sander and go over the walls lightly if the mineral spirits did not remove the wax. Wipe away the dust with a damp cloth.

  • Change to 120-grit sandpaper and go over the walls again. Wipe them down with a clean cloth.

  • Put painter’s tape over any trim, electrical outlets or switch plates that you do not want to get paint on, and put drop cloths on the floor.

  • Pour a few inches of alkyd or quartz primer into paint tray. Use the edging brush to work around your painter’s tape, and a long-handled roller to do the rest of the walls. Apply the primer in a thin, even coat. Let it dry according to the manufacturer’s directions.

  • Fill a paint tray about halfway with latex paint. Use a clean edging brush to work around the painter’s tape on the trim. Paint the rest of the walls with a clean, long-handled roller. Let the latex paint dry according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

  • Remove the painter’s tape while the paint is still damp to avoid pulling up any dried paint. Use the edging brush to make small repairs if needed.

  • Apply a second coat if you think the room needs it. Let the paint dry overnight.

Tips & Warnings

  • Open all of the windows to ventilate the room and help the paint dry faster.
  • Do not try to remove thick Venetian plaster by yourself. It requires a hammer, chisel and belt sander, and the possibilities for disaster are legion.

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