Decorate Walls with Plaster Relief
Bring something timeless and unique to the walls in a home with plaster relief and delicate stencil patterns.
An ancient art form is experiencing a revival as bas-relief plasterwork displays in modern homes. This of it as an alternative to smooth plastered walls, installing wallpaper, adding a mural, or decorating with vinyl stickers. Bas-relief has been used as a decoration for centuries and still enjoys a certain amount of popularity. Before we look at a few examples of bas-relief plasterwork on walls, let's learn a bit more about bas-relief and its origins.
What is Bas-Relief?
Since ancient times, plaster and terracotta have been used in many forms. It has been used to craft vases and urns, decorate pillars and posts, and even used to adorn ancient buildings. Put simply, bas-relief uses a thin layer of plaster over a surface to leave a barely visible design on the surface. A plaster relief, on the other hand, has a more raised profile than bas-relief and is harder to achieve whereas bas-relief is easily achievable with the use of stencils.
To further understand how bas-relief looks in modern times, think about the design on a coin, how it is raised above the surface. This is a good example of bas-relief.
Modern Uses for Bas-Relief
Today, you will find bas-relief used as a decoration for all types of materials. It can be found carved into wooden furniture and accessories, it decorates clay and terracotta pots, and it is also used as a form of decoration for walls, mostly bare plaster walls. Bas-relief is used in interior design to create unique focal points that enhance walls and ceilings and other architectural features.
How to Apply Bas-Relief
Bas-relief is an easy way to add a design onto a wall or ceiling and all you really need to do this project is a stencil (that you can buy online) and white cement, plaster of Paris, or cement. After taping the stencil where you want the design, the plaster is gently skimmed over the stencil to leave behind the bas-relief design.
To apply a bas-relief decoration to a wall or ceiling, do sand a painted finish so that it will accept the plaster.
Once the design is finished, you have the option to leave as is, to apply a Venetian plaster finish by using a steel trowel to rub and bring out a shiny finish, or you can apply oil-based paints for a decorative feature. The videos below give you a basic understanding of how a bas-relief design is applied onto a surface and how easy it is.
Use Bas-Relief on Furniture
Just as you would use bas-relief to apply a decorative plaster finish on walls, so you can apply it to furniture as well. Just as long as the surface is sanded before application. After sanding, it is simply a matter of placing the stencil over the area where you want the design to be placed, skimming over with the plaster mix, removing the stencil and leaving it to dry.
The bas-relief on a piece of furniture shown below is by salvagedinspirations.com and you can visit the website for instructions for the step-by-step application of bas-relief plaster on a wood cabinet. This project uses ordinary grey cement that gives the finished look a distressed effect.
The cupboard was sanded to provide a rough surface for the plaster to adhere to and then the stencil arranged before skimming over with plaster.
Once the plaster finish was dry, it was painted over and then sanded back to reveal even more detail. Love how it gives a distressed finish to this vintage furniture piece.
While a lot of bas-relief decorations are based on historical designs, modern bas-relief can incorporate geometric shapes and flourishes for a modern or contemporary home.