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Online Workshop


American Clay Earth Plasters can be applied by just about anyone! Whether you are a handy homeowner, just your basic everyday DIYer, or an experienced plasterer, our systems are here to make everything as simple as possible.


The following Online Workshop will guide you through our process each step of the way and provide easy methods for turning your home into a natural beauty.

Getting Started


If you would like to take this information with you, download our General Application Tutorial which includes helpful photos, but be sure to come back and watch the videos for valuable hints and tips.


Warning and Tips

Prior to preparing your walls for plaster application, please review the general warnings and tips we have for a successful project.

If you read only one section of our application tutorial, this section is worth every second. Following these recommendations can save time, frustration, and money later on by ensuring you proceed as diligently as possible.

  • Patience is key. Let everything dry as long as possible. Failures have occurred most often when the process is rushed. Let your joint compound dry thoroughly. Let your primer coat dry thoroughly. Let your plaster coats dry thoroughly.

  • Use setting-type joint compounds (45 minute version or longer). Quicker setting-type joint compounds can dry rapidly leaving a surface that requires further preparation to ensure bonding with the primer. Use an approved primer mixed with Primer Sand additive. Clean your surfaces before beginning to remove potential issues of dust or oils as best as possible. Use new joint compounds. Failure is more likely on old, opened joint compounds which have sat around waiting to be used. Do not use joint compounds which have been frozen or been left out in the heat. Fresh, new joint compounds are preferred.

Cracking Peeling.png

Large cracking and peeling of clay plaster from the wall

  • Do not overwet your plaster coat during installation. Do not overtrowel your plaster coat during installation. These two improper installation techniques will cause cracking and/or peeling. Your finish is meant to have trowel marks and imperfections – this is a hand applied plaster with character and mottling in the final appearance.

  • Apply your plaster coats at the proper thicknesses (see Step 4. Plaster Application for more).

  • Use the right plaster for the right finish you are seeking. Trying to over-trowel one of our coarse-aggregate finishes to be smooth will only lead to problems.

  • Use fans and dehumidifiers in your space, especially in highly humid climates. Good airflow allows things to dry out properly. Work in moderate temperatures, trying to avoid low and high temperature environments particularly those in unheated/uncooled spaces.

  • Do not sand your surfaces unless specifically noted to do so, especially joint compounds.

  • To be repetitive: patience is key. Not allowing the adequate drying times on a project may seemingly speed up the process, but the overall project could take longer as you have peeling and cracking that must be completely removed and redone. It is easier to complete your project one time properly.

Plan your project to work on specific stages with proper dry times. It is better to work over several weekends than compressed into one. An example would be:
• drywall prep one weekend
• dry time
• sanded primer the next weekend
• dry time
• clay plaster application the following weekend


Tools and Materials


The first thing you need to do is gather all appropriate tools and materials needed to complete your project.


You will need the following tools:

  • Appropriate safety equipment (safety goggles and dust mask)

  • Drop cloths

  • Painters tape

  • Paintbrush

  • Paint roller with covers (very short nap or smooth foam)

  • Paint tray

  • 5 gallon bucket

  • Pump-style garden sprayer or standard spray bottle

  • Plaster hawk

  • Tile sponge

  • Stainless steel trowel

  • Lexan plastic trowel (used with certain plaster finishes only; more in Step 5. Compression Techniques)

  • Spade handle 1/2" gear-driven low-speed mixing drill with plaster paddle


You will also need the following materials:

  • American Clay plaster(s) of your choice

  • American Clay color pigment(s) of your choice

  • American Clay Primer Sand

  • Approved paint primer*

  • Up & EZ! / PlasterPlus binder (Original finishes only)

  • Setting-type joint compound*


*List of paint primers and discussion of joint compounds in following sections.



Please follow the guided Online Workshop steps below:

Mixing Your Plaster
Plaster Application
Compression Techniques
Cleanup and Storage

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.

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