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Venetian Plaster and Faux Finishing Techniques|Faux Painting and Venetian Plaster|Distinguishing Between Venetian Plaster from Faux Finishing Venetian plaster is a mixture of plaster with marble dust, which is applied to the wall and ceiling as a decorative finish by using a spatula or trowel to spread over the plaster mixture into thin, multiple layers, in a glossy fashion to create a smooth surface with the intention of presenting an illusion of depth and texture. When the walls are left unpolished, the Venetian plaster produces a matte finish that is rough and stone-like to the touch; in effect, unpolished Venetian plaster is very brittle and can easily be damaged. Where marble panels could not be easily installed or on surfaces that would be too expensive to carve from real marble, such as columns, corbels, and curved walls, venetian plasters are used as an alternative finish. Tinted or colored Venetian plaster are oftentimes produced using natural or synthetic colorants, in which this technique is especially helpful when a specific marble color is desired or when a color that does not exist naturally is required.
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After a couple of years, when natural, lime-based Venetian plaster is applied on walls, it will eventually return to its original state, which is lime and marble, which is an indication of its authenticity and also distinguishing Venetian plaster from a faux finish.
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Lime plasters are called Venetian plasters, because they can tolerate rising damp and canal-side applications, like in the lagoons of Venice, and this is also the reason why authentic Italian Venetian plasters are good choices for surfaces that are always exposed to moisture, since lime plasters perform extremely well in wet climates by allowing any water that is absorbed into the plaster to quickly evaporate and exit the structure. Since Venetian plaster is self-healing, much less likely to crack than cement finish, and naturally mold-resistant, thus resulting in beautiful walls that can withstand the test of time, unlike paints, which must be re-applied over and over, Venetian plaster is a lifetime finish. The paint and finishing process that are applied on walls to replicate the appearance of materials such as marble, wood or stone, is referred to as faux painting or faux finishing, and this decorative, finishing technique has also come to encompass many other decorative finishes for walls and furniture, including simulating recognizable textures and surfaces. Faux finishing comes in many decorative techniques, such as faux marbling (used to make walls and furniture look like real marble), fresco (uses mixture of tint and joint compound to add mottled color and subtle texture to plain walls), graining (used to imitate exotic or hard-to-find wood varieties), color wash (using multiple hues of glaze blended together with a paint brush), Strie (glazing technique using a paint brush to create soft thin streaks of color), rag painting (using twisted or bunched up rags to create a textural pattern), and sponging (free-form finish achieved by applying glaze to the wall by dabbing a sea sponge).