yesterday we plastered most of the walls in our bunkhouse—the room attached to the kitchen where we hang out and eat our meals. we used natural plaster, which is (roughly) clay + flour + sand + pigment + water. we also added mica for sparkle!
(with test color patches)
STEP ZERO. prep your space.
STEP ONE. mix clay slip: water + clay.
(soupy checks the slip’s consistency)
STEP TWO. add pigment (in this case, yellow iron oxide).
STEP THREE. add wheatpaste. we made the wheatpaste by mixing cold water and flour, and then adding that mixture to a whole bunch of boiling water.
STEP FOUR. add mica!
STEP FIVE. add this mixture to a bunch of fine sand and get your hands dirty!
STEP SIX. start plastering it on the wall! we did this using hawks (the wooden palette-sorta-things) and trowels. not all of these trowels were created equally. there were two “magic trowels” made of flexible stainless steel that were about a zillion times easier to manipulate that the other non-stainless steel ones. but we figured it out, sort of, eventually.
there were some trials and errors. we didn’t remove the color test patches before adding our new plaster, and the green patch in particular didn’t bond with the wall very well, which meant our lovely yellow plaster wouldn’t stick either to that spot. our application technique was also not great at first, and until we learned to taper every bit we applied into the wall as we went, we had some problems with plaster falling off.
STEP SEVEN. smooth it out! the magic trowels are useful for this.
STEP EIGHT. admire.