How to Make Adobe Interior Walls


Those with an appreciation for the charm of adobe don't have to build a house with mud and straw to have the effect of adobe walls. Mimic the feel and color of adobe by coating interior walls with clay plaster. From reddish-brown to blue-gray, clay plaster is available in a range of earth tones and will accept a variety of hand-applied textures. Once on the wall, clay plaster will imbue the home with natural rustic warmth.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap or TSP cleaner
  • Sponge
  • 120- to 150-grit sandpaper (optional)
  • Plaster primer
  • Paintbrush or roller
  • Clay plaster with pigment
  • Bucket
  • Plasterer's hawk
  • Trowel
  • Spray bottle
  • Liquid wax (optional)
  • Prepare the wall. Wash painted drywall with a solution of dish soap and warm water using a sponge. Wash masonry surfaces with Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) cleaner. Allow the wall to dry. Sand the wall with 120- to 150-grit sandpaper if it is painted with gloss paint and clean up all sanding dust before proceeding.

  • Paint the wall with a coat of plaster primer, using a paintbrush or a roller. Allow the primer to dry.

  • Mix the dry plaster and plaster pigment with water in a bucket. Use the manufacturer instructed ratio of plaster, pigment and water. The resulting wet plaster should have a thick, creamy consistency. Ensure that there are no remaining dry clumps of plaster in the mix.

  • Place a gob of plaster on a hawk and for immediate access. Pick up bits of plaster and cover the wall with a thin film, spreading it on with a trowel. Add more plaster to the hawk as it is used up. Allow the plaster to dry.

  • Apply a second coat of plaster. The second coat can be as fine and smooth as the first coat or can be slightly thicker for creating a more dimensional texture.

  • Create the desired texture. One common texture is skip-troweling, which is creating a mottled appearance by applying the plaster inconsistently and smoothing it down to leave gaps and craters here and there. Making textural impressions in the plaster, such as with sponges, lace or sticks, while it is still permeable is another option for creating texture. For a smooth finish, use a trowel to burnish the second coat as it is drying. Allow the plaster to dry.

  • Mist the plaster with water, using a spray bottle. Burnish the dried plaster with a trowel to compress the plaster and prevent dust erosion. Burnish by skating the flat of the trowel around the wall in circular motions, applying medium to firm pressure. For optional added protection, sponge the wall with liquid wax, buffing the wax at the same time with a dry, lint-free cloth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Preserve the plaster over the course of the project by keeping the lid on the plaster bucket.

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