Earlier this week, I had a great day with “the girls”. You know the drill; lunch and shopping plastering! I had organized a little day trip for myself and Karen, Kari and Julie up the I-5 to the Vella Venetian Plaster Systems studio in Orange, CA.
The guys from Vella (that’s Ken (VP) and Brett), had been down to my studio in San Diego a couple months ago to demo the product to our local IDAL chapter. I was impressed by a lot of the aspects of the Vella product (inexpensive, ease of use, gorgeous color range, etc) and wanted to see more!
They generously (and wisely) offer free hands on training at their facility, where you can see the products applied on numerous walls and ceilings, get the run down on application, and try your hand at a few quick samples. Apparently, they do this a LOT because if you notice how the plaster is built out on the wall where Ken is demoing-that’s the build up of layers plaster where they keep going over with new coats to demonstrate the various steps in the process.
And a simple process it is! The Vella plaster requires no special primer and can go over anything from unprimed level 3 drywall to enamel paint. It starts with a quick allover basecoat followed by an “interest” layer to create subtle highs and lows and color variations. There are just two main products, the Vella Premium Plaster (some lime) and the Liscio Plaster (all resin) and they can be used separately, layered, or even combined to make the plaster crack.
Of course, I wanted to see how it worked with our Modello Decorative Painting stencils and Royal Design Studio mylar stencils. The answer is: fabulous! The viscosity of the product makes it ideal for raised, embossed stencil effects and the strength and elasticity of it makes it great for Modellos.
The Vella plaster does need to be sealed with carnauba wax and that is where the real fun begins. They have clear and pretinted wax colors and easy mixing formulas for also adding mica powders in. You can layer the waxes, buff, not buff, blend while still wet with buffing to create a color wash effect…
Another easy way to alter the look is to throw some crushed marble or clean sandbox sand (30 mesh) into the Vella for the first layer. Adding the aggregate allow for a look that resembles travertino and give you a nice textured look.
Here are Kari’s samples, showing a coordinating smooth and textured finish.
Apparently, they don’t generally add the sand to the Liscio (all resin) product, just the Vella. Julie unknowingly added the sand to the Liscio and it’s awesome! This is just two plaster layers, plus wax. Love the texture, love the crackle! We were literally in and out of there in two hours and nailed down a bunch of great finish ideas and some beautiful samples. Kari even sold a job the next day…
Want more bennies? The first layer of Vella will bridge orange peel and knockdown textures so you can do a two layer finish over those hideous walls and be done, OR just use the Vella as a filler for something else. The carnauba wax can be rolled over with Kilz primer down the road when it’s time for a change, and this product runs 30-50 cents a square foot from start to finish. It is available in or through Sherwin Williams stores around the country as well as other local suppliers. Vella Venetian Plaster System.