Lessons in Plastering

First let me start by saying that I am in no way whatsoever an expert, or even an experienced amateur, in any type of home renovation…AT ALL.
My experience in fixing or building stuff is limited to the drilling, painting, and what ever else I did in my high school drama club during set construction and following the instruction booklets for assembling furniture. When I was a young teenager one of my brothers and I did help my dad put together a barn-like shed. Then we had to paint it ourselves. But really that’s about it.
There is nothing in my past that qualifies me to do any home renovation (except maybe some light painting) without the direct supervision of someone possessing expertise or at least base line knowledge.
But that never stopped me before so why should it now?

It’s Easter weekend and my first holiday without my kids also their first school break of our shiny new post-divorce parenting time agreement.
Not having my kids for the actual holiday doesn’t bother me but it’s their dad’s turn to spend spring break with them. He gets them from our usual Thursday switch time through Monday morning…the next Monday morning.
That includes this whole weekend, the one that would normally be MY time with them.
In a span of ten days I’ll have spent four hours with my children. That’s the most time I’ve been apart from them EVER. It sucks but maybe I’ll get into that in another post later.

It’s a beautifully sunny spring weekend here in Michigan and I really didn’t want to spent the whole weekend angry, drunk, or crying about not seeing the kids. If I gave into the temptation I’d probably find myself indulging in all three simultaneously.
Instead I decided what I needed was a project, one that would take up the majority of the weekend. Luckily I have an old house that has many potential projects.

In the spirit of all those home make-over shows where a crew comes in and totally revamps something then reveals their amazing results after a short time, I’ve been spending (part of) my time the past couple days giving my living room a mini-makeover.
Okay maybe that’s a tad too dramatic. Basically I’ve been working on painting my living room but that also entails patching old, crumbly plaster.
I bought a rug and two colors of paint about a month ago and painted one wall shortly after that. The other paint has been waiting patiently for me to find the time for it.
Painting is not a problem for me. I’ve done quite a bit of that as my multi-colored painting pants can attest to. The problem that has caused me to procrastinate (like I really need a reason for that) is the gaping holes in one of the living room walls.
My house has a lot of holes in its walls. It could quite literally be called a hole in the wall place.
The biggest of these holes are in the living room, the dining room, and the computer/sewing room all on the main floor.
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It doesn’t look so bad from a distance but the whole area is cracked & a bit messed up.

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Up close & personal it looks worse.

See. Intimidating.
Before patching it I had to clear out some of the loose stuff. It made the hole bigger but trying to work over it just makes a mess.
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Those two circular little holes, the ones that look like vampire bite marks, are a direct result of my attempts to tack down the wobbly walls. It didn’t go so well. Thee screws just went right through and fell into the abyss between the walls.
At this point I was tempted to open it up and make it look like the crack in the wall from season five of Doctor Who. People buy wall decals of the crack, this would be way more authentic. I could paint the inside of it black. That could be pretty awesome…buuut I did already buy that other paint.
So enough avoiding it and on with the wall fixing I went.
Last fall a friend with experience bought me a bag of plaster and showed me how to use it but this has been my first solo venture into plastering.
Here is what I’ve learned so far:
-use cold water, it makes the plaster set a little slower and you’ll probably need that extra time
-mix it thin. Again, extra time to get the plaster into the hole and smoothed out. Also thinner plaster is easier to spread smoothly
-don’t check text messages right after mixing plaster. AGAIN, extra time, you don’t have any. Once the plaster is mixed it goes from a spreadable thick paste to a putty-like substance to a barely pliable mess pretty quickly.
And here’s what I’ve done so far:
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One more layer of plaster and it’ll be time to sand.
I did get two smaller holes completely patched.
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I also started painting the other walls but I’ll save pictures of that for a dramatic reveal post in a few days.

Right now it’s time for me to get ready to practice another kind of plastering.
One that involves alcohol & friends

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About nights7

A metamorphosis in progress...always.

4 thoughts on “Lessons in Plastering

  1. Vince says:

    Good job! Plaster is a pain to work with but it looks like you are getting the hang of it. Makes me think of some projects I should start/finish here .

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    • nights7 says:

      It is a pain! It’s a pain to paint too. All those tiny little holes suck up the paint and show through even after multiple layers. Maybe that’s only the hundred year old plaster though. The patched parts seem to paint okay.
      My house is full of projects waiting to be tackled. Most of them I have no idea what to do about. I am probably the most poorly prepared home owner ever.

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  2. […] well then either. I survived though, honing the oh-so-important coping mechanism of staying busy. I patched and painted the walls of my living room, caught up with a couple friends, and drank just enough to spend Easter day […]

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  3. […] of…as much as anyone can. At any rate, I handled this past ten day spring void better than the one two years ago. There was no Easter hangover this year, mostly because Easter fell on my work weekend and was at […]

    Like

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