DIY





10 Beautiful and Useful Things You Can Create with Earth Plaster


| 11/11/2017 9:06:00 AM



My earth plaster.

People are often fascinated by the structure of my earth bag home, but in truth that was the easy part. It’s the plaster that is an art. And a science. At times I thought it might have even been witchcraft. Because it took me just 6 weeks to build my earth bag house, but almost 2 years to get my plaster sitting beautifully on my walls without cracks or bits of it falling off.

It doesn’t have to take that long to learn earth plaster though. I was sitting atop a remote hill in Turkey, and not receiving the correct information about how to deal with my soil and my climate. But once you learn the art of mud render, it opens up a whole world of possibilities. I think it’s one of the most useful skills I’ve ever learned.

Earth plaster (also known as clay plaster) is made from a mixture of earth, clay, straw and sand. The clay is the binding element, hence why it’s also called clay plaster. Sometimes other ingredients are added into the mixture for various reasons, perhaps to water proof the plaster or to help it adhere better, or to mitigate the damp. Each stage of plaster creation and application is crucial to success. You need to know how to mix it, test it, and apply it.

Here’s an incomplete list of just what you can do with earth plaster. The beauty of course is that it’s insanely inexpensive to make things out of mud. Most of the time it’s free. And if you’d like to know how to make it, I have a free PDF here.

1. Render

The most obvious use of earth plaster is as a natural render. Render is crucial for any house as it protects the main structure from weathering. What a lot of people don’t realise is just how many different surfaces you can successfully render with earth plaster; stone houses, straw bale homes, cob, earthbag, and even wood (wood requires some preparation, but can definitely work). Earth plaster doesn’t work well with mainstream building materials such as Portland cement and plastic though, as they are not breathable.



Earth plaster sculptures protect walls.



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