Starring. What is it? It can mean a lot of things, according to Merriam Webster, but in this case, I’m referring to something else. When it comes to plaster, “starring” is what happens when pigment isn’t fully integrated into the product, and reveals itself when it is spread on a wall. It manifests as a burst or streak of color that differs from an otherwise evenly-colored wall. Here’s a picture of what starring can look like:
In this post, I’m going to address a potential problem before it starts – How to minimize pigment starring. We don’t get many phone calls about this problem, but I anticipate it could become a new issue with the introduction of our blended color system. It won’t be an issue for everyone, just for those who opt not to follow our mixing instructions. (I have to say that carefully and with respect, because when I was an applicator, I didn’t follow the mixing instructions, either.)
Here’s a scenario from our office – This occurred a few months ago:
Our warehouse staff was making a large sample board of a new color that combines Sugarloaf White with another color, in this case Havasu, and came to me worried that the color was starring on the board. I asked, “Did you paste the pigment [as it says to do on our instructions] prior to mixing?” Of course, the answer was no. “Did you let the product sit wet for a while before you re-blended and spread the plaster?” Again, no.
With the introduction of a system that requires applicators to combine separate color packs into one bucket of clay, thorough mixing of our product is extra important. Here are some tips to help ensure your color will have significantly less starring in the topcoat:
- ***These are similar to our official instructions as listed on our color packs.*** Add a bit of water to the pigment and mix thoroughly into a paste prior to adding it to the plaster. This gives you a chance to break up any clumps or large bits of pigment that might not dissolve as easily in the plaster/water mix.
- If you do decide to add your dry pigment directly to your wet mix, blend it thoroughly and then let it sit for a while before spreading. Aim for an hour or so, but more won’t hurt. If you can mix the night before, even better. During that time, the water permeates and softens bits of stubborn pigment that haven’t blended with the rest of the plaster. Then, prior to use, re-blend the mix to integrate the color with the plaster.
- Consider getting additional mixing tools to help with the blending process. I use a great hand-mixer (commercial grade) to combine the plaster and pigment and pulverize any clumps of pigment when I’m making samples. Other people use Cuisinart food processors or blenders to ensure their pigment is as fine as they can get it.
If you follow any of these suggestions, you will minimize the occurrences of starring while using our plaster system. I hope this was helpful. Contact us with any questions!