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Plaster and Paint
Earth, lime and gypsum plasters for natural homes
By Cedar Rose Guelberth and Dan Chiras

Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction

      Bring new life to your house! A little paint and decoration can make the old new again and conserve resources that might otherwise end up in the landfill.

      Also be sure to read Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction for the chapter A Primer on Paint: Reusing and Recycling for great tips ababout conserving resources and saving money with secondhand paints and stains.

Plaster & Paint Books and Tools

Tirolessa USA Plaster Sprayer
Do Plaster Work the Easy Way!

Tirolessa USA Plaster Sprayer

      The Tirolessa USA Plaster Sprayer is a favorite tool of concrete artisans and plastering professionals. The stainless steel hopper is extremely durable and easy to clean. The extension handle and hopper handle are designed to give you good control, balance and comfort while you are applying material.

      The plaster sprayer is almost as fast as our 4 hole wall sprayer, and you have the choice to use 1, 2 or 3 jets. This allows the sprayer to work efficiently with smaller compressors and makes detail work easier.

      It comes with two sizes of jets and the accessories to adjust it to various application needs. The handle can be use short for confined spaces and long for best comfort.

      Tirolessa recommends a 7 cfm @ 90 psi compressor but many users have been happy with their smaller 110 volt compressors by adjusting the jet configuration to match their compressor. Larger air storage tanks (20+ gallons) are also a helpful thing.

Natural Plaster Book - book cover.

The Natural Plaster Book
Earth, lime and gypsum plasters for natural homes
By Cedar Rose Guelberth and Dan Chiras

      For builders of natural homes (straw bale, cob, adobe, rammed earth, and other natural materials), this unique step-by-step guide takes the confusion out of choosing, mixing, and applying natural plasters.

      From principles to practicalities, and with every stage of the process illustrated, The Natural Plaster Book details the entire process of plastering with earth, lime, and gypsum for a long-lasting and durable finish. Starting with an overview and history of the natural building movement, the book handles a wide variety of topics including earthen plaster versus cement stucco, tools and techniques of the trade, plaster recipes, and pigmenting plaster or painting walls with natural paints. First-time builders will appreciate tips on common mistakes (and how to avoid them) discussed at each stage of the plastering process. Special focus is paid to the importance of planning and designing for earthen plasters--before building begins.

      The only comprehensive guide available on natural plasters, this book is written for the growing number of people who have decided to build their own natural homes as well as for professionals. Heavily illustrated with practical drawings and photographs, it also includes an extensive resource guide listing books, magazines, videos, builders, and suppliers. 250 pages. 2003. New Society Publishers. ISBN: 978-0-86571-449-6.

About the Authors:
      Cedar Rose Guelberth has been working with natural home construction and plaster techniques for 25 years and is a nationally recognized natural building educator and consultant.
      Dan Chiras is the father of two boys, and the author of over 20 books on environmental issues and sustainability. He teaches courses on renewable energy, green building and sustainability at Colorado College. His free time is spent mountain biking, camping, canoeing, kayaking, playing music, and gardening with his boys.

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Using Natural Finishes
Lime- and earth-based plasters, renders, and paints: a step-by-step guide
by Adam Weismann & Katy Bryce

Using Natural Finishes - book cover.

      With the increasing awareness of eco-building techniques alongside the desire to make our homes healthier, the historical benefits of using natural renders and paints are being rediscovered. Using Natural Finishes is an in-depth guide to the selection, mixing and application of lime and clay based plasters, renders, paints and washes.

      Providing step-by-step instructions with detailed illustrations to show the practical elements of working with lime and clay-based finishes, the authors demonstrate how these natural 'breathable' plasters and paints can be used on a wide variety of wall surfaces, including traditional and eco-build materials like cob, strawbale and stone, as well as modern plasterboard and concrete surfaces, with stunning results.

      Easy to follow DIY projects guide the reader through all aspects of using these natural finishes, with beautiful photographs of techniques and examples from the UK and abroad.The Authors: Adam Weismann & Katy Bryce work with lime and clay on a daily basis through their company, Cob in Cornwall. They learned these skills through restoring ancient vernacular buildings in Cornwall, and then began to apply the traditional techniques and materials to contemporary 'eco' builds. They have a passionate belief in the power of using these natural materials to benefit the health and well being of people, buildings and the environment. 264 pages, full color. 2008. Green Books. ISBN: 9781900322164.

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Clay Culture - book cover.

Clay Culture
Plasters, Paints and Preservation
by Carole Crews

      Modern times have given us much yet have tended to rob us of self-reliance. Clay Culture offers a close look at the old traditions of earthen architecture and maintenance in a place where people are still actively engaged in the practice. The photographs, many from museum archives, offer a glimpse into this historic lifestyle.

      Clay Culture offers readers clear instructions about how to restore earthen structures in a way that will preserve their integrity inside and out. Too often, modern workers use wire, cement, or gypsum to repair damage and end up causing more problems than they solve. Carole Crews shares in detail not only her own extensive experience of making damaged walls look new again, but many photos taken in the 1950's by her mother, Mildred Tolbert, of women applying mud plaster in traditional ways.

      Crews offers readers a glimpse into her life and personal experiences of building houses and creating art objects with the sweet simple earth. As an art major who did not want a day job, Crews has done the unthinkable (in fine art circles) of melding art with practicality, as less industrialized cultures have always done. She believes art is part of life and need not be kept separate.

      Walls, floors and fireplaces made of earth, sand and straw are discussed in enough detail for the reader to mimic what's been done before or make her own variations with a greater understanding of basic concepts and a realization of what it takes to complete a particular project.

      The book also provides the reader with a scientific understanding of the ingredients that go into earthen architecture, particularly those used to create clay based plasters and paints. When this information is well understood, it's much easier to create recipes from locally harvested ingredients and get them to perform well in a given situation.

      The book ends with a short piece about social justice issues, a subject of particular importance in our changing times. The more we can do for ourselves, the less we need to depend on the powers that try to control us: corporations whose interests have nothing to do with justice, but only the bottom line. The time has come to stand together and make the lives we want to have for ourselves. This book will help to show the way.

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Earth Render - book cover.

Earth Render
The Art of Clay Plaster, Render and Paints
by James Henderson

      Rendering or plastering is a craft as old as house building, the basic methods and concepts having changed little over time. This book offers a detailed look at the use of raw earth for painting and rendering walls in new as well as in existing buildings, focusing on sand-clay render, straw-clay render and clay paints.

      The skills needed to create and apply these natural finishes are easy to learn and the tools required are minimal, most people quickly picking up the skills as though something inside them has been rekindled from former lives! 90 pages. 2013. ISBN-13: 978-0975778203.

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Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
See also: Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction.

      Looking for life-changing resources? Check out these books by Thomas J. Elpel:

Green Prosperity: Quit Your Job, Live Your Dreams.
Roadmap to Reality: Consciousness, Worldviews, and the Blossoming of Human Spirit
to Reality
Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
in Nature
Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
Foraging the
Mountain West
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
in a Day
Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids

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