how to tint or color plaster


Click on the digital fandeck / color chart below to see our colors:




When placing an order, pick from our 80 standard colors as shown above. If choosing a custom color, contact us. Notice that each digital color chip is compared to 4 major paint companies so that you have a better sense of the 'real' color, as opposed to the digital representation of our online fandeck. The colors are an average representation of the final color on your walls, depending on burnishing or sealing.


Pigments, colorants and tints all refer to the same thing: that with which you color your plaster, lime wash, paint, etc. There are lots of different tints on the market. Some are natural, some are synthetic. There are liquid colorants and powdered pigments (we'll discuss later). The powdered ones are usually natural and most are from some kind of mineral oxide. Oxides are great for plasters, especially lime plasters like ours. Oxides don't fade in color as easily as some synthetic ones. It's not the plaster that will fade them the most, it's mostly the sun (if at all).

Most paint companies use liquid colorants to tint their products. These are sometime referred to as 'Universal Tints'. There are about a dozen different colorants that are used in combination to produce the color that you want. Usually it's about 2 to 4 colors that are needed to produce the desired color. Most of the colors in this set are actually naturally produced from oxides, while a few are synthetic.

Here's a list of most of the colorants used to tint plasters and paints. These tints are named by their common name or a letter designating them (even though it makes no sense):

C- Yellow Oxide

L-  Raw Umber (Oxide)

I-    Brown Oxide

B-  Lamp Black (Oxide)

F -  Red Oxide

D-   Phalo Green

E-    Pthalo Blue

R-    Organic Red

V -   Magenta

T -    Medium Yellow

AXX - Organic Yellow

Any paint company would know what these are. Some companies have different names of different colors. Some companies have additional colors that aren't listed above. Not all colorants are equal. Some colorants are a little different than others...a little lighter, darker, etc.

Vasari uses zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) low odor colorants to create an infinite palette. These colorants the the same used for specialty 'green' paints. They are the best and cleanest in the industry.

So when you order a color from us, we use a combination of the above tints to create the color, and of course you can create your own colors.


Our plaster will dry much lighter than paint or other products. The reason is the whiteness of the lime. So when mixing colors, add more colorant than you would for paint. If you have a formula for a paint color, just add more than colorant than the formula calls for. About 50% for lighter colors, 100% more for medium tones and up to 300% more colorant for deeper colors. The most colorant our plaster can take is about 3 quarts.

Here's an example of a formula for a popular golden 5 gallon :

C - 5y

L - 2y24

I - 40p

So...5y means 5 ounces. For some reason Y  means 1 ounce. There are 48 points in an ounce. So 40p means 40 points. Sometimes there's no 'p' written, like in 2y24. This means 2 ounces and 24 points, or 2 and a half ounces.

The above formula is therefore 5 ounces of Yellow Oxide, 2 and half ounces of raw umber and 40 points of Iron Oxide.

We'll post all of our formulas very soon. Please contact us if you have any questions. Otherwise your local paint store can help you out.




Powdered pigments are used when you are looking for a very particular historical color that is hard to reproduce with the standard combinations of tints. Vasari doesn't use powdered pigments. Powdered pigments are mostly effective in Lime Washes and artistic applications Here are the most important things you should know about these pigments:

  1. Not all powder pigments will work in plaster. Some pigments, are insoluble in water.
  2. When adding pigments to plaster, always, always, dissolve pigments into water first and fully; making a paste or thick slurry. Otherwise, you will get dry particles that will leave harsh streaks of color in the wall.
  3. As with Universal tints, powdered pigmented plaster will dry much lighter than when wet.
  4. A few pigments are coarser than others; making them difficult to use in Veneziano, were they can leave scratches. Some of these pigments must be very well strained before use.