Mixing is an important step in applying American Clay. Mixing to an appropriate thickness and with proper technique can save you a lot of time and physical exertion.
Mixing the plaster to a thicker consistency can result in unnecessary labor as spreading and controlling thickness of the plaster becomes much more difficult. Similarly, mixing the plaster with too much water can make it overly soupy, which will make it difficult to hold on to the hawk and will cause the plaster to be spread too thinly.
A quick test to see if your mixture is just right is to run a trowel, your finger
or a spatula down the center of the plaster in the bucket. If the plaster caves in on itself instantly, it may be too soupy. If the plaster doesn't move at all, it may be too thick. The aim is for something between these two consistencies, similar to a soft-serve ice cream.
The technique required to mix all of our plasters is the same.
*Warning: Mixing plaster creates dust that can cause health concerns. Always use proper safety equipment when mixing plaster. A dust mask and eye protection are always recommended.
Mixing the Plaster
1. Pour one gallon of water into a 5 gallon bucket. A 7 gallon bucket may be used as well for more comfortable mixing of all of our plasters, although, these are harder to find. Check with your local hardware store to see if a 7 gallon bucket is available for purchase. Some have even found 7 gallon buckets at pool supply stores and wine home brew stores.
Enjarre™ plaster is packaged in a larger 63 lb. bag (our other plasters are packaged in bags weighing 50 lbs. each) and can be more difficult to mix in a standard 5 gallon bucket.
2. Add 1/3 bag plaster and mix using a spade handle 1/2" gear-driven low-speed mixing drill and plaster paddle.
3. If using an Original plaster only: add the entire bag of Up & EZ! binder (or one scoop of PlasterPlus binder) and mix completely.
4. Add enough water to dry pigment (if color is desired) to create a slurry and mix. Mixing the pigment into a slurry is optional, but this step helps prevent starring. Starring is when bits of pigment do not break up during the mixing process. When troweled, the bits of pigment leave dots or
streaks of darker color in the plaster. Pre-mixing pigment with water helps minimize starring.
When mixing a standard Illumina Series Forté White color pigment pack into Forté White plaster: Take a small amount (1/4 to 1/2 cup) of dry Forté White plaster plaster from the bag and add it to your dry color pigment pack. Shake the blended pigment and plaster up in order to disperse the pigment more evenly. As the pigment packs are quite small, this helps to prevent color discrepancies from batch to batch.
5. Add pigment (wet or dry) to bucket and mix.
6. Slowly add remaining plaster and more water to bring plaster to a soft-serve ice cream consistency. Total water content will vary between 2 to 2 1/2 gallons, possibly more, depending on humidity levels. (Forté plasters will require more water than Original plasters to properly activate the pre-mixed binder.)
7. Scrape sides of bucket and continue mixing until all lumps disappear.
8. Let plaster sit for at least one hour prior to application (the longer it sits, the better it becomes).
Original plasters may be mixed up to 30 days prior to application.
Forté plasters should be mixed and applied within 3 days.
A Note On Color Pigment Packs
The following color packs are now recommended for use in the finish coat only: Sugarloaf White, Estancia, Glacier and Treetop. These particular pigments, when used in both coats, can lead to chalking problems which can lead to delamination.
If you wish to tint the base coat (optional):
You may use 1/2 the color pack in the plaster when using Estancia, Glacier or Treetop.
You may use Chalk Creek in the plaster when using Sugarloaf White. Chalk Creek is pre-packaged as an equivalent to 1/2 Sugarloaf White.
When using Sugarloaf White as part of a color blend you may use Chalk Creek and either a full color pack or 1/2 color pack of the second color pigment in the blend in the plaster.
Example: If using Arcadia (1 Sugarloaf White + 1 Havasu) you may use 1 Chalk Creek + 1 Havasu OR 1 Chalk Creek + 1/2 Havasu
Please continue with the guided Online Workshop steps below:
Please note: The guidelines outlined in these instructions are provided as a source for general application procedures. We are not responsible for the results of your project. The only way to ensure a proper application is with due diligence on your part. If you have questions or are unsure of anything, please call 1-866-404-1634 (toll-free technical support line) for further information.