Search
Close this search box.

Plaster Molding Ceiling Repair – A How To (1 of 3)

In the first installment of this series, a significant issue occurred at The Frick Collection, a renowned art museum located in New York City. Unfortunately, a plaster medallion detached from the ceiling in the main gallery due to water damage from the roof. Part 1 primarily concentrated on painting the ceiling ornament, whereas this article will center on restoring and installing the medallion itself. In this how-to, Pierre Finkelstein of Grand Illusion Decorative Painting shows you how the medallion was restored to its original grandeur.

See also: Part 2: Museum Plaster Ceiling Repair, Part 3: Making a Plaster Mold, Boucher Room at the Frick Museum

Close Up of the Cieling

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.

  • Casting Plaster
  • Wellbond Glue
  • Dremel
  • Drill
  • Specialty plaster gauze
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Palette Knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Carving tools
  • Plaster File
1

REVIEW THE MEDALLION

STEP 1 – REVIEW THE MEDALLION: The pieces of the medallion were delivered to the GIDP shop so they could be studied.

They were examined to see which ones could be salvaged.  Luckily, the medallion was in decent condition.

2

REPAIR THE MEDALLION

STEP 2 – REPAIR THE MEDALLION: GIDP ordered from a specialty sculpture store, a strong casting plaster. Casting plaster is stronger than plaster of paris.  When mixed with water, it hardens very quickly to be cement-like. Wellbond to glue was used to glue the smaller pieces together.

Using a Dremel tool, the backside was etched for better adhesion of the glue.

Because the ceiling of the Frick is suspended by small wires (similar to piano string) attached to an upper frame cage, small holes were drilled into the cast medallion. The holes were drilled very gently in preparation for wide-head screws and hooks.

Inside view of the gallery.

In order to have this enormous skylight, the ceiling is suspended from a metal cage.

Outside view from above the ceiling.

Notice the wires hanging to suspend the ceiling.

3

ATTACH THE MEDALLION

STEP 3 – ATTACH THE MEDALLION: The wires were strung from the metal cage and threaded around the wide head screws and hooks, to suspend the piece in place. The GIDP crew member is holding the plaster piece from the inside of the room.

The other pieces of the medallion were then added. Everything was then wedged in place with glue and a wire to secure.

4

SECURING THE MEDALLION FROM THE OUTSIDE

STEP 4 – SECURING THE MEDALLION FROM THE OUTSIDE:  Several small batches of plaster were mixed to spread over the outside ceiling. Strips of specialty plaster gauze (similar as medical casts) were moistened and laid out. 

After the strips were generously laid out and casting plaster was spread, the ceiling was secured from the back.

5

FINISHING AND RESTORING THE INSIDE CEILING

STEP 5 – FINISHING AND RESTORING THE INSIDE CEILING: Once the outside was completed, the team moved back inside.

In order to fill the cracks, Plaster of Paris was spread with a palette knife. Then, using Sandpaper, it was sanded until smooth.

Special carving tools and plaster files were used to refind the area.

The application was finished and ready for painting. See Part 2 for painting the ornament.

See also: Part 2: Museum Plaster Ceiling Repair, Part 3: Making a Plaster Mold, Boucher Room at the Frick Museum

 

COMPLETED FINISH

FEATURED

PRODUCTS

RELATED POSTS