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Museum Plaster Ceiling Repair – A How To (2 of 3)

The Frick Collection is a premier museum in NYC that is internationally recognized for its collection of Old Master paintings and European sculptures.  Unfortunately, water damage from the roof had caused a plaster medallion to fall off the ceiling of the 90-year-old main gallery. Thankfully no one was hurt!  In this how-to, Pierre Finkelstein of Grand Illusion Decorative Painting shows you how he helped restore the ceiling to its original grandeur in just one day!

For more details on the actual plaster repair, see also: Plaster Repair and Making the Plaster Mold

Main gallery of the Frick Museum
The hole to be repaired
The workspace for the project has the added benefit of seeing paintings from the old masters - Franz Haltz, Turner, Vermeer, Rembrandt, etc.

HOW TO CREATE THIS FINISH

Use our step-by-step instruction below

MATERIALS NEEDED:

Here is a list of the tools & supplies you will need to achieve this technique.  Supplies available at fauxbrushes.com are linked below and listed at the bottom of the page.

1

COLOR ANALYSIS

STEP 1 – COLOR ANALYSIS:  The museum gathered all of the pieces and sent them to the GIDP shop. Luckily the main medallion was in good shape.  For preservation purposes, a color analysis was done to establish the three main colors used in the glazing and the gilding.

For efficiency, GIDP pre-mixed the Acrylic Colors and gold leaf that would be used to match the rest of the ceiling.

2

PROPER PREPARATION

STEP 2 – PROPER PREPARATION: First part of the preparation was protecting the area. The museum provided a work lift and the area was protected.

This is a hole from above, on the other side of the ceiling.
3

REPAIR THE PLASTER

STEP 3 – REPAIR THE PLASTER: Next step is repairing the plaster. The pieces were affixed and filled with a casting plaster and secured to the ceiling. See also: Plaster ceiling repair

For a smaller missing ornament, a cast was formed (purple area) and a mold was later made. See also: How to Make a Mold

4

SEAL THE SURFACE

STEP 4 – SEAL THE SURFACE: After that, the ceiling was ready to paint. First a coat of amber shellac was applied. This is an essential step to seal the raw plaster.

Finished shellac.
5

TEST THE MOISTURE

STEP 5 – TEST THE MOISTURE: To ensure the surface was dry enough to continue painting, a moisture meter was used on the fresh plaster repair. If the plaster is not fully dry, it will crack.

A 22% moisture rating allowed us to continue painting. The moisture would continue to escape from the other side since the roof was still open and unsealed.

6

APPLY THE BASECOAT

STEP 6 – APPLY THE BASECOAT: The basecoat that was pre-mixed in the shop was applied with a pointed Detailing Brush.

7

GILDING

Using a Pointed Sizing Brush, water size was applied to select areas. The gold leaf was applied once the water size had dried to tacky. A Rondin Brush was used to transfer the gold leaf to the sized surface. See also: other gilding posts

8

PROTECT AND FINISH

STEP 8 – PROTECT AND FINISH: Because of the gold, the finished area was not varnished.

COMPLETED FINISH

As requested, the touch-up was finished in one day! The curator was very pleased with the final results and couldn’t spot the touch-up from below.

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