Royal Recipe: How to Stencil Pompeiin Plaster Finish

Recreate the look of a painted fresco on plaster-inspired by the decorative painted rooms in the lost city of Pompeii. Royal Design Studio has a collection of Pompeii-inspired stencil patterns-panels, motifs, and borders. We share a variety of designs and techniques below.You can mix and match them on your wall to create a unique Italianate mural. 

Like all of our Royal Recipe Professional Finishes Stencil Tutorials, this finish is designed for the experienced DIYer or professional decorative artisan. This is not a "beginner" faux finish and a basic understanding of artisan finishing techniques is required.

Royal Recipe from Royal Design Studio: How to Stencil Tutorial - Old World Italian and Pompeii Plaster Wall Finish with Wall Stencils

Supplies:

Pompeii Red Plaster Finish

Prep: Roll a thin, even coat of Texturecoat over the entire surface. Texturecoat has a gritty, sand-like substance in an off-white base. If desired, substitute with a coat of good quality, off-white Eggshell paint.

Royal Recipe from Royal Design Studio: How to Stencil Tutorial - Old World Italian and Pompeii Plaster Wall Finish with Wall Stencils 

Step 1: Create two different color mixes of Untinted Plastertex by tinting the material separately with Antique Cherry and Golden Oak Stain and Seal at a rate of approx. 2.5T. of stain per quart of Untinted Plastertex.. Note: Estimated coverage for this technique is 100-150 sq. ft. per gallon. Trowel on the Antique Cherry in random, open patches. Complete the entire surface area with the Cherry mix.

Step 2: Repeat the process, now with the Golden Oak/Untinted Plastertex mix. Use this layer to both cover over and fill in areas untouched with the Antique Cherry color.  For this layer, work in smaller areas at a time-about a 3’ by 3’ space.

Royal Recipe from Royal Design Studio: How to Stencil Tutorial - Old World Italian and Pompeii Plaster Wall Finish with Wall Stencils

Step 3: While the Golden Oak is still wet, go back and work in some additional Antique Cherry mix, blending it slightly with the yellow color by pressing hard with the trowel. Note that there are still some small, open areas of the background showing through.

Step 4: Now apply a very tight skim coat of Venetian Gem Tint Base overall. Push the material hard into the recessed areas with the trowel held parallel to the surface and pull it very tightly and thinly on the raised areas by changing the angle of the trowel to be more perpendicular. During this step, you may want to add back in a little more of the Golden Oak mix and blend it well into the Venetian Gem on the wall. Let dry completely.

Royal Recipe from Royal Design Studio: How to Stencil Tutorial - Old World Italian and Pompeii Plaster Wall Finish with Wall Stencils

Step 5: Thin some Antique Cherry Stain and Seal with about 30% So Slow Extender. Trowel some onto the surface in small amounts, pushing it into the recessed areas.

Step 6: Immediately use a damp terry towel to spread the stain around on the surface, removing the excess. Since you are working in small areas, you will want to “feather out” the stain to nothing around the edges.  Apply more stain with the trowel slightly away from the area you just worked and blended and “feather in” the stain towards the previous area. Note: If you want a more toned down, antique look to the color, add some Rich Brown or Honey Pine Stain and Seal to the Antique Cherry mix

Pompeii Stenciling Techniques

Multi-colored Distressed Pattern with the Herculaneum Pompeii Border Stencil

Royal Recipe from Royal Design Studio: How to Stencil Tutorial - Old World Italian and Pompeii Plaster Wall Finish with Wall Stencils

Step 1: Stencil the design solidly first with a medium value of Dark Brown. Continue this to repeat the pattern the desired number of times.

Step 2: Shift the stencil up and diagonally to the right just under 1/8”. Add a few drops of Yellow Ochre to White Aquacolor and stipple the entire design area to cover. It is OK if this is somewhat blotchy and irregular. It will add to the distressed effect.

Royal Recipe from Royal Design Studio: How to Stencil Tutorial - Old World Italian and Pompeii Plaster Wall Finish with Wall Stencils

Step 3: Stencil in the various areas of the design with Earth Green, Teal, Autumn Brown and any other desired or appropriate colors.

Step 4: To add interest and dimension, use a small brush to stipple Dark Brown in areas that would be naturally shaded.

Royal Recipe from Royal Design Studio: How to Stencil Tutorial - Old World Italian and Pompeii Plaster Wall Finish with Wall Stencils

Step 5: Use another small brush to stipple the White/YO mix in areas that would be naturally highlighted.

Royal Recipe from Royal Design Studio: How to Stencil Tutorial - Old World Italian and Pompeii Plaster Wall Finish with Wall Stencils

Blue Banded Embossed Pattern with the Pompeii Border Stencil

Royal Recipe from Royal Design Studio: How to Stencil Tutorial - Old World Italian and Pompeii Plaster Wall Finish with Wall Stencils

Step 1: Tape off a border the total width of the stencil mylar. Burnish well. Create a  plaster mix by mixing Untinted Plastertex and Venetian Gem Tint Base 1:1. Tint this to a Steel Blue color with 1.5 teas. Blue and 2 teas. Earth Brown Aquacolor  per 1 quart of the texture mix. Trowel on 1 to 2 coats of the Steel Blue mix depending on the desired depth of color. Allow to dry.

Step 2: Stencil the design solidly first with a medium value of Dark Brown. Continue this to repeat the pattern the desired number of times.

Royal Recipe from Royal Design Studio: How to Stencil Tutorial - Old World Italian and Pompeii Plaster Wall Finish with Wall Stencils

Step 3: Go back to your origination point and the original position of the stencil used for stenciling the Dark Brown. Shift the stencil up and diagonally to the right just under 1/8”. Use a small trowel or blade to trowel on a low relief embossing of the design with the original Untinted Plastertex/Antique Cherry mix used for the background.

Step 4: Repeat the stencil embossing to continue the pattern. Always go back to the original brown stenciling and shift up and over from there. Always shift in the same direction and by the same amount. You may find it best to “hopscotch” and stencil every other repeat. Go back when these have dried to stencil emboss the “in betweens”.

Royal Recipe from Royal Design Studio: How to Stencil Tutorial - Old World Italian and Pompeii Plaster Wall Finish with Wall Stencils

Step 5: If a deeper color intensity of red is desired for the embossing, replace the stencil and stencil back over it lightly with the Antique Cherry/Aquaglaze mix. Use a very dry brush and a light pressure to avoid run-unders.

Step 6: For hand painted highlights, mix equal parts White and Autumn Brown Aquacolor. Add a touch of Yellow Ochre and thin slightly with water. Apply highlights with a small artist’s pointed round brush to the upper edges of the design-opposite the shadows.

Royal Recipe from Royal Design Studio: How to Stencil Tutorial - Old World Italian and Pompeii Plaster Wall Finish with Wall Stencils

Closeup detail of the finished Pompeii Border stencil.

Royal Recipe from Royal Design Studio: How to Stencil Tutorial - Old World Italian and Pompeii Plaster Wall Finish with Wall Stencils

For this mural we've used the same colors and techniques outlined above and combined them with the Botanical Column Pompeii Wall Stencil, Pompeii Berries Wall Stencil, and Simple Pompeii Border Wall Stencil


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.