How to Make Venetian Plaster

Venetian plaster, also known as Roman stucco or ancient stucco, is a technique originating in Venice, Italy. It's a home improvement or decorative layering technique that leaves the appearance of marble or stone on a wall or pillar. Venetian plaster is expensive and uses 40 percent marble dust and pigment. Italian craftsmen have handed down the ways to make Venetian plaster from generation to generation; however, very few people can make a coat of authentic Venetian plaster. If you like the look but can't afford a professional, you can mix and apply the Roman stucco yourself.


  1. 1
    Wear a protective facemask to prevent inhaling the lime and marble dust.
  2. 2
    Get a large plastic bucket or a wheelbarrow to use for making the Venetian plaster.
  3. 3
    Pour 2 quarts (1.89 liters) of lime putty into the bucket.
  4. 4
    Add 2 quarts (1.89 liters) of marble dust to the bucket and stir with a mixing rod or a wooden stick. You can get a wooden stick free at any paint store.
    • Continue stirring the putty and marble dust together.
  5. 5
    Use your double boiler on your stove and melt some olive oil soap. You can also microwave the soap in a glass bowl or container.
  6. 6
    Measure and add 2 tablespoons (29.565 mL) of the melted soap to the mixture.
  7. 7
    Pour in 1 1/2 cups (360 mL) of linseed oil, while stirring.
  8. 8
    Add 3/4 cup (177.44 mL) of liquid, lime-proof pigment when your mixture begins to form a plaster consistency. Typically, you will want to use earth tones for the plaster pigment, but the Romans often used red tones.
  9. 9
    Mix in 1 teaspoon (4.927 mL) of water at a time if the color does not mix well.
  10. 10
    Use your homemade Venetian plaster immediately.
  11. 11
    Re-temper your Venetian plaster by adding water and stirring well. Re-temper each mix just once. You only need to do this if the mix begins to stiffen.


  • Use contrasting tint colors for a more dramatic look.
  • Use a medium mixture of dust for a varied texture.
  • To change the color of your wall to gray, add small quantities of black and white colors to the tinted plaster.
  • Thoroughly clean the wall or pillar, allowing the surface to dry completely before mixing your Venetian plaster.


  • Never make more Venetian plaster than you can apply in an hour or so.

Things You'll Need

  • Protective facemask
  • Large plastic bucket or a wheelbarrow
  • 2 quarts (1.89 liters) of lime putty
  • 2 quarts (1.89 liters) of marble dust
  • Mixing rod or wooden stick
  • Double boiler or microwave and glass bowl or container
  • 2 tablespoons (29.565 mL) of melted olive oil soap
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 mL) of linseed oil
  • 3/4 cup (177.44 mL) of liquid, lime-proof pigment
  • 1 teaspoon (4.927 mL) of water

Article Info

Categories: Plastic and Adhesive Projects