Our Basic Natural Earthen Plaster

Dirt, people refer to it in many ways; as earth, clay or soil, Call it what you want but it’s the clay that provides the stickiness, plasticity and binding, sand is a filler, stabilizer, which provides strength, structure and reduces shrinking to help minimize cracking. Chopped straw provides the fiber for flexibility, tensile strength and further reduced shrinking and cracking.

Additives or amendments, the list is long. Do your homework and add what you like. We are still testing but find our basic mix works really well.

Basic LanderLand Earthen Plaster starter mix developed with the Steens:

1.5 parts water
2.5 parts sifted "Kingston Clay" soil
1.25 parts sand
2 to 3 parts (3/4 inch) chopped straw

How we hand mix:

Due to the weight, we prefer to use smaller 2.5 gallon pails as our standard of measure rather then 5 gallon buckets . We also like to set up a mixing table or platform with plastic tubs rather then mixing in a wheelbarrow or on the ground. After a long day your back will appreciate this.

To your mixing tub first add the water then evenly pour in the clay and sand. Do not start to mix right away. Instead walk away and let the clay and sand soak up the water. Come back in about 5-10 minutes and you will see how easy it is to stir up the mix. Use your fingers to feel and break up any dry lumps. Now add 1 part straw and thoroughly mix, and then add the second part straw. Mixing will become more difficult but mix it well, breaking up all straw to where again there are no dry lumps and all the straw is covered with clay. Now you are good to go. If you are doing a 3 part straw mix then this last bucket really requires a lot of effort.

What about using a mixer or adding water to the straw or doing this or that? Hey go for it. We just like doing small batches by hand.

This mix can be used for both interior and exterior plasters. Earthen floors require more sand.


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