Projects and Tutorials

A Tutorial by Marie Wendt

Materials Needed:

1. Mod Podge – Matte finish
2. 1” Sponge Brush
3. Kleenex Tissue
4. Craft Knife

Step One:

Make sure the surface you are going to treat is clean and free of dust, etc. This technique does not require a sealed surface, but it does not matter if it is. It is advisable that if you‟re doing an entire room with this treatment, that you do one wall section at a time to avoid the Mod Podge drying out in another section before you get to it. The same applies to exterior treatments; a section at a time.

Take your tissue paper and gently separate the layers (most Kleenex tissue has at least 2 layers) being careful not to tear them. Eyeball the area you are going to treat first and make sure you have enough single layers of tissue to cover that area; including the door/window openings.

Step Two:

Once you have all the necessary layers, carefully wad them up into “tight” balls. The tighter you wad them up, the more texture you‟ll have. Now, VERY GENTLY, undo them and flatten them out on your work surface and set them aside. When undoing the wadded balls, you want to be very careful not to tear the sheets. If you do, just start over with another one.

Step Three:

Open your jar of Mod Podge and grab that sponge brush and your sample piece of wood or foamcore. Completely cover the surface of your sample piece with the Mod Podge. Don‟t be too stingy, or too generous. You want a happy medium here…enough for your tissue to absorb.

Step Four:

Once the surface of your sample is covered with Mod Podge, carefully cover the surface with the crinkled tissue paper layers. An overlap of pieces is alright as you won‟t see the overlap once you paint. While applying the tissue, gently “press” it into your wood/foamcore with your finger tips; forcing it to absorb the Mod Podge and setting the wrinkles that will give it the “plaster look”. When doing this part on an actual room with window/door openings, don‟t worry about your tissue covering these openings as shown in my sample. You‟ll cut these away once everything is dry.  Let this sit for a few minutes to set.

Step Five:

Now, for the precarious part. Allowing your sample to sit for a few minutes should make this step a little easier. Dip your sponge brush in the Mod Podge and get ready to cover the surface yet again. What you want to do now is VERY GENTLY paint the Mod Podge over the entire tissue paper surface; “sealing” it. It‟s been my experience in the past that if you don‟t allow your surface to sit for a few minutes before this step, it will be more likely that your tissue will „tear‟ at this stage. Regardless, you still want to be careful as the tissue is still wet and may still tear if you‟re too hard on it. Just use a light hand and brush, or dab, the Mod Podge over the entire surface. Your aim is for even distribution; no puddles.

Allow to completely dry. Depending on your climate, the drying process may take from 2 to several hours. Once your sample is dry, the tissue paper will be very hard and the surface textured. Using a craft knife, carefully cut away any tissue that might be overlapping into door/window openings at the edges; leaving clean lines.
Step Six:

What I like to do after the last step, is scrape away the tissue even further into the surface about a ¼” around the door/window edges. This will give you a „flat‟ surface to glue your door/window trim work to; rather than a textured one. The easiest way to do this is to score a line a ¼” out around the window opening first using a craft knife. This will “slice” the tissue through to the wood, thus allowing you to scrape it away without accidentally tearing into the parts you want to keep! I like using a flat-edged wood carving tool for scraping the material away.

The fun part now is the painting! The color I use most is Parchment by Folk Art, an acrylic paint, because of its close resemblance to the color of real plaster. But you can use any type of paint, or color, you want. When you paint your surface, this is when it really comes to life!

Here's a photo of this treatment used in my English Tudor basement. The surface was “aged” by dry-brushing a darkened shade of Parchment colored paint. You‟ll notice that I‟ve also included the look of an old stone wall underneath the plaster one!

I hope everyone will find this tutorial of mine useful.  If you use it for a mini project, please share pictures with me as I'd love to see them!


Briarwood Miniatures said...

Super tutorial, Marie! Very clear. I can't wait to try this sometime!


Anonymous said...

I was just wondering how to make the outside of my house look like plaster. Thank you so much for sharing this!

All Things Mini said...

You can use this same exact method on the exterior of a dollhouse as well. Same steps.