Plaster molding ceiling repair

broken plasterA large ornament fell from the ceiling in the gallery at the Frick Collection,  requiring a plaster molding ceiling repair.  This is PART 2  – how we affixed the ornament back in place.  See the related posts:  PART 1- Ceiling repair at Frick Collection and upcoming   PART 3 – How to make a plaster mold.

The pieces were delivered to the shop so they could be studied.

broken plasterThey were examined to see which ones could be salvaged.

broken plasterLuckily, the medallion was in decent condition.

We ordered from a specialty sculpture store,  a strong casting plaster (almost too strong and set too fast).  Casting plaster is stronger than plaster of paris.  When mixed with water, it hardens very quickly to be cement-like.  We used wellbond to glue the smaller pieces together.

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

broken plasterThe ceiling is suspended by small wires (similar to piano string) that are attached to an upper frame cage.  So, holes were drilled very gently in preparation for wide-head screws and hooks.

screw in plasterscrews in plasterInside view of the gallery.  In order to have this enormous skylight, the ceiling is suspended from a metal

broken plasterOutside view from above the ceiling.

broken plasterNotice the wires hanging to suspend the ceiling.

roofOlivia is holding the plaster piece from the inside.

broken plasterThe wires are strung from the metal cage and threaded around the wide head screws and hooks, thus suspending the piece in place.

broken plasterThe other pieces were put in place.  Luckily, they were wedged in place successfully with glue and a wire to secure.

broken plaster
Several small batches of plaster were mixed to spread over the outside ceiling.  Strips of specialty plaster gauze (similar as medical casts) was moistened and laid out.

plaster mud


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

finish plaster roof
Done with the outside, we moved back in. (blurry pictures, sorry)

plaster touch upIn order to fill the cracks, Plaster of Paris was spread with a palette knife.  Then, sanding until smooth.

plaster touch upUsing specialized carving tools and plaster files, the area was refined.

plaster touch up

plaster touch upThe application is finished and ready for paint.  See PART 1 for painting the ornament.

plaster touch up

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  1. You guys did a great job! I would have had no idea what to do in this situation. Was it hard to repaint it? Suspending the piece from the metal cage was really smart.

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