June 19th, 2009

Bella Vella

Earlier this week, I had a great day with “the girls”. You know the drill; lunch and shopping plastering! I had organized a little day trip for myself and Karen, Kari and Julie up the I-5 to the Vella Venetian Plaster Systems studio in Orange, CA.


The guys from Vella (that’s Ken (VP) and Brett), had been down to my studio in San Diego a couple months ago to demo the product to our local IDAL chapter. I was impressed by a lot of the aspects of the Vella product (inexpensive, ease of use, gorgeous color range, etc) and wanted to see more!


They generously (and wisely) offer free hands on training at their facility, where you can see the products applied on numerous walls and ceilings, get the run down on application, and try your hand at a few quick samples. Apparently, they do this a LOT because if you notice how the plaster is built out on the wall where Ken is demoing-that’s the build up of layers plaster where they keep going over with new coats to demonstrate the various steps in the process.


And a simple process it is! The Vella plaster requires no special primer and can go over anything from unprimed level 3 drywall to enamel paint. It starts with a quick allover basecoat  followed by an “interest” layer to create subtle highs and lows and color variations. There are just two main products, the Vella Premium Plaster (some lime) and the Liscio Plaster (all resin) and they can be used separately, layered, or even combined to make the plaster crack.


Of course, I wanted to see how it worked with our Modello Decorative Masking stencils and Royal Design Studio mylar stencils. The answer is: fabulous! The viscosity of the product makes it ideal for raised, embossed stencil effects and the strength and elasticity of it makes it great for Modellos.


The Vella plaster does need to be sealed with carnauba wax and that is where the real fun begins. They have clear and pretinted wax colors and easy mixing formulas for also adding mica powders in. You can layer the waxes, buff, not buff, blend while still wet with buffing to create a color wash effect…green-sample

Another easy way to alter the look is to throw some crushed marble or clean sandbox sand (30 mesh) into the Vella for the first layer. Adding the aggregate allow for a look that resembles travertino and give you a nice textured look.


Here are Kari’s samples, showing a coordinating smooth and textured finish.


Apparently, they don’t generally add the sand to the Liscio (all resin) product, just the Vella. Julie unknowingly added the sand to the Liscio and it’s awesome! This is just two plaster layers, plus wax. Love the texture, love the crackle! We were literally in and out of there in two hours and nailed down a bunch of great finish ideas and some beautiful samples. Kari even sold a job the next day…

Want more bennies? The first layer of Vella will bridge orange peel and knockdown textures so you can do a two layer finish over those hideous walls and be done, OR just use the Vella as a filler for something else. The carnauba wax can be rolled over with Kilz primer down the road when it’s time for a change, and this product runs 30-50 cents a square foot from start to finish. It is available in or through Sherwin Williams stores around the country as well as other local suppliers. Vella Venetian Plaster System.

11 Responses to “Bella Vella”

  1. petra voegtle Says:

    Melanie, you amaze me again and again. This work is so lovely that I am speechless. Very inspirational and very beautiful work.
    I fully understand why you still love your “job” – it is wonderful to see someone whose ideas always contain new surprises!
    Warm greetings from Munich,

  2. JulieArt Says:

    Thanks Melanie for organizing the fun filled day trip to Vella plasters. The Vella products are great! Ken, from Vella Plasters was very helpful and full of enthusiasm. He told us that he is visiting IDAL chapters all over the country and will also be at the IDAL convention in Memphis this July so be sure to go by their booth and say “HI!” and check out their products.

  3. kari Says:

    Wow i look like i’m wasted on plaster!!!Ha Ha…must have been that i had a great day with friends, lunch, and well plaster! Thanks Vella!
    and friends! Great product will be using it soon!

  4. Karla Says:

    Cool! I’m going to have to get down there and try it out. I love the small crackle in the close-up.

  5. Karen Jorgenson Says:

    Totally fun day and my daughter is completely on board for the flaming blue Vella plaster room I’m envisioning. I love the idea that I will be able to get rid of her orange peel walls with the first layer and that I can take her to the paint store, have her pick the chip, and know that I’m going home with the right color in the bucket instead of just hoping I can mix it right. I think it’s going to be my new favorite product.

  6. Bill Mitzel Says:

    This is very cool, would like to give it a try.

    Bill Mitzel
    WTM Construction

  7. Anne Shanahan Says:

    Melanie, I have been using Vella Venetian Plaster for as long as I can remember. I love how it looks and my client’s love the price!Anne (<:

  8. MaysAnastasia35 Says:

    Cars and houses are not very cheap and not every person is able to buy it. However, business loans was created to aid people in such hard situations.

  9. DebB Says:

    Love this stuff! I’m in Southern OR with no one around who can teach this technique, but I discovered the product is available at one Sherwin Williams (the guys there know absolutely nothing about the product.

    Would love to come down to California to learn how to use this product. I have walls that weren’t primed by the former owner and the drywall became damaged into the gray layer underneath when the wallpaper was removed.

    Re-plastering would be a small fortune, but Vella looks like something I could do myself if I knew how.

  10. Designamour » Blog Archive » Master of Plaster Says:

    [...] Artisans League Convention in beautiful Portland, OR on July 24 that features the versatile Vella Venetian Plaster system. This widely available plaster trowels “like butta”, can be applied directly over [...]

  11. Eli Says:

    Very informative post. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us.