Architecture. Grad School. The State of the Profession. Field Trips. Agony. Ecstasy. Life. Etc.

Architecture Addiction, The Official Blog of

unSchool of Architecture
suggested reading/bookstore
other blogs I like
my portfolio
fieldtrips & workshops*
categories | archives | search
contact | rss

Make Your Own Clay Plaster
by Katy Purviance on 04/23/10 @ 10:21:18 pm
Categories: DIY | 421 words | 1729 views

Just saw this in Natural Home (dot com) about how to make and apply your own clay plaster. Which I would love to do as soon as we move out of this apartment. But, if you have a house, you should try this. If you do, tell me about it. I’ll make it so you can send pictures. I’ll post them. You’ll be famous.

Before you apply plaster, conduct this simple test to find out if your wall substrate is suitable for clay: Spray, flick or paint water onto the wall. If the wall absorbs it in about five minutes, your walls have adequate absorption for clay plaster. If the wall absorbs the water very quickly (in less than one minute), the wall will require a natural primer to prevent the plaster from drying too quickly. Surfaces must be slightly rough so plaster can grip the wall. Prepare flat, smooth surfaces with a sanded primer.

1. Use a spade or shovel to access the ground’s sub-soil layer (generally 20 inches under the topsoil).

2. Take at least three soil samples over one area to assess clay levels. Mix the earth with a little water and observe how it behaves: Is it sticky? Can you make it into a cylinder without it breaking? If so, clay is present.

3. If the soil appears to have high clay content, excavate the amount you need, by hand or with a front loader.

4. Mix clay and water to make a slurry: Fill roughly 1⁄3 of a container with water, then add clay soil until the container is 3⁄4 full. To help break down the clay, stir the soaked material with a spade or using a whisk attachment on a drill. Let the mixture sit for at least 24 hours.

5. Strain soaked clay through a large sieve—1⁄4-inch mesh for a base coat plaster, 1⁄8-inch mesh for a topcoat plaster. (This removes larger sand particles so you have a smooth clay to work with.)

6. Combine clay with well-graded (particle sizes from .15 to 4 mm) sand. Play with different combinations to achieve the texture you need. To add more texture to base coats or decorative topcoats, mix in thicker natural fibers such as chopped straw or hemp. Add water to produce a mousse-like consistency and apply to the wall. Create several test samples to find the best mix for aesthetics and functionality. Ideal plasters often consist of 10 to 25 percent clay and 75 to 90 percent well-graded aggregate.

7. Wet walls before application unless you’ve applied a primer. Do not wet walls if you use primer.


Bookmark and Share Send Feedback | Permalink

our sponsors
Other Blogs I Like
GSD Blogs:
Ben in Paris
A Large Lumpy Rock
Wayfinding with Waxman
Other Blogs:
Saved By Design
Jetson Green
Core 77
Rammed Earth is for Everyone
Raw Design Build
Lloyd Kahn's blog
Form Follows You Home
Burning Down the House - Radio Architecture
Unhappy Hipsters
Design Vote
Truly Minimal Plan
February 2018
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
 << <   > >>
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28      


Me on Burning Down the House
The VERB School
August 18 2010

October 20 2010

Licensure in the USA
November 17 2010

Become One of Us...Subscribe to Architecture Addiction
Give the gift of an architecture book to Architecture Addiction
Radio Architecture
Listen live to Burning Down the House, Wednesdays 4PT/7ET
Or download the podcasts from iTunes

our sponsors
It's Finally Here
unSchool of Architecture is here. Enter your name and email below to learn more.

Architecture School Survey
Hi. My name is Katy. I like it when you write to me and tell me about the cool stuff you're doing in architecture. Yes, I write back.* I may publish your letter and my reply on the blog. If you don't want me to do that, you can just ask that I withhold your name, or if you're really serious about keeping your letter a secret, you can ask me to just not publish it at all. Of course I'll still write back to you. * I hope you'll take this opportunity to share your thoughts with our worldwide audience.

[Fields marked (*) are required]


Your Name:*

Your Email Address:*

Your Question or Suggestion:*

After you click Submit, you'll come right back to the blog!

* Unless you spam me.

Created by Contact Form Generator

places where you could probably learn more about designing and building in just a few days than I did after a year of grad school

Know of some others I can add here? Let me know. Have you already visited some of these places...or planning on it? Let me know and I will feature your story and your photos here!

I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.

suggested reading/bookstore

Need more? Visit our bookstore

where is everybody?
Locations of visitors to this page

Who's Online Now?

  • Guest Users: 43
random quote generator

Give me another

our sponsors