So Pretty! A Faux Plaster Collage

Recently I taught my younger son how to make Irish soda bread (Happy St. Patrick’s Day, by the way!). As we transferred the newly mixed dough onto my weathered and floured cutting board I told him that this was my favorite part, because kneading dough is something that goes back generations and connects us with our ancestors.

Creating art gives us that same connection, as we make marks, tell stories, and express ourselves through a visual representation. Variations of the oldest art techniques are alive and well today, including (as you’ll see in this new Cloth Paper Scissors Art Lesson,) working with plaster–in this case, faux plaster.

“Creating with plaster is an ancient art technique, dating back as far as Roman times,” artist Rae Missigman tells us. “Traditionally plaster is a mixture of lime, sand, and water that is spread on ceilings and walls or put in molds, forming a hard surface when dry. Depending on the desired effect, plaster can be smooth and polished or have a matte, stone-like finish. Plaster is most often applied with a trowel and is known for its deep, textured appearance. While modern-day plaster is often white, artists have been tinting the medium for centuries and incorporating it in art as well as in architecture.”

Scroll down for a preview of Rae’s Faux Plaster Collage Art Lesson!

Faux plaster collage lesson | Rae Missigman,
Faux plaster adds interest to a canvas journal cover, which is embellished with paper towel rosettes. A found bead adds a pop of color and doubles as a pretty closure. PIN THIS!

Faux Plaster Collage: Beginning Steps by Rae Missigman

Faux plaster collage lesson | Rae Missigman,

1. Color some paper towels with paint or ink, or gather some that you have saved from cleanup from other projects. Lay them flat to dry, or flatten the ones you have on hand.

Faux plaster collage lesson | Rae Missigman,

2. Add gesso and matte medium to your palette. Using your paintbrush, mix them 50/50 and apply a thick, even coat to your canvas. Gesso is a great primer, and mixed with matte medium it is the perfect “cement” for the foundation when creating faux plaster.

Faux plaster collage lesson | Rae Missigman,

3. While the gesso/matte medium mixture is still wet, carefully place paper towel pieces onto the canvas and gently press them into place, using a palette knife, a paintbrush, or your fingers. Be careful not to pull the paper in the process. Continue pressing the papers into place until the surface is covered and all of the air bubbles are gone. Let dry completely.

Faux plaster collage lesson | Rae Missigman,

4. Once dry, smooth the paper towels down over the sides of the canvas, adhering them with matte medium.

5. Repeat steps 1-3, adding more layers of painted paper towels. Let each layer dry thoroughly before moving on.~Rae Click to continue…

Here’s to honoring historic practices in art and beyond. The soda bread, by the way, turned out to be delicious. Next on our agenda is planting some heirloom green beans in our vegetable garden.

I hope that you find time to slow down and create something meaningful soon. Start with this Art Lesson, which you can download for only $3.99. You’ll be able to follow Rae’s complete steps for creating a faux plaster collage, and apply some of the same techniques to other mixed-media art projects.

Until next time,


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Blog, Collage, Mixed-Media Techniques


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