Modern plaster is the easiest method to turn ho-hum drywall into an elegant hand made finish. Drywall has some serious issues and limitations. Though it is easy to install, it is a nuisance to finish, and its look deteriorates over time with popped nails and emerging seams. All of this is eliminated with modern plaster techniques. Using a combination of joint compound and Plaster of Paris (gypsum plaster), the modern plasterer gets a strong bond to standard drywall, a fast set and workability, and no sanding! This workshop will cover materials, mixing techniques, troweling and texturing, using paints and pigments to color plaster, and finishing around corners, trim and emergent architectural elements. Students will walk away with the skills to create a unique, beautiful plaster finish on their projects and in their homes.

Course start time: Saturday, 9am
Course end time: Sunday, 5pm



  • Competency Level: All Levels
  • AIA credits: 14 -- Qualifies for HSW requirements.

Course Objectives

To give students a working knowledge and actual experience in using modern plaster. Students will have hands-on experience and time to develop fundamental application techniques.

Materials to Bring

  • Hawk and plaster trowel (4x10" recommended) we will supply trowels if needed
  • Eye protection
  • What to wear: Work clothes

Course Outline


  • Welcome and orientation to Yestermorrow
  • Introduction to the course and brief bio of instructors
  • History of wall finishes and the advent of plasters
  • The basic chemistry of plaster, why it sets vs. the evaporation of joint compound
  • Introduction to materials, demonstrations: plaster setting up, workability of setting materials
  • Lunch
  • Mixing of batches and troweling plaster onto sample wall board and wire mesh substrates, creating hybrids of both substrates
  • Identifying common preparation issues
  • Using mesh tape
  • Hand mixed batches and drill mixed batches
  • Creating various textures
  • The importance of your hands and fingers in corner and detail finishing
  • Joining old plaster walls to new work
  • Troweling tips and techniques


  • Continuing the work from previous day
  • Inside and outside corners, techniques and options
  • Creating radii and irregular shapes, both hand-formed and patterns
  •  Emergent architectural elements and finishing around trim
  • Using plaster on cement based substrates i.e. block or wonderboard
  • Using paints and pigments to color plaster
  • Students will pick some wall space in the new Yestermorrow dorm facility to finish plaster an area that they can sign if they like, ultimate goal to finish over all exposed block in the dorm areas.
  •  Lunch in there somewhere.