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Making Victorian-Style Ceiling Medallions

Updated on September 27, 2017

A Hand-Made Textured Floral Ceiling Medallion

This floral design was crafted using 3 texturing comb tools plus texture material. The outer edge was designed with a 10" Rose comb, then stepped down to a 6.5" Standard comb. Finally a 3.5" Rose comb completes the effect
This floral design was crafted using 3 texturing comb tools plus texture material. The outer edge was designed with a 10" Rose comb, then stepped down to a 6.5" Standard comb. Finally a 3.5" Rose comb completes the effect | Source

Heavy Plaster Medallions Are Best Suited For The Professional To Fix

Plaster-cast medallions for enhancing plain ceilings are attractive to the eye, once installed.

Plaster medallions can be awkward for most DIY enthusiasts to hang. Often heavy, due to the Plaster of Paris compound. Each medallion needs to be adhered correctly so it does not fall. Further requirements are to remove the light fitting prior to fixing so the job may be best suited for the professional to carry out.

There is an alternative method allowing anyone with a bit of DIY interest and knowledge to beautify their ceilings at home by creating hand-made textured features around the center light fitting.

Hand made comb textures add an attractive and bold, 3D feature around any ceiling center light fitting, are fun to create and also helps the user to implement texturing comb tools in the correct way.

Alternative Method to Add Effects to Beautify Plain Ceilings

The use of texture material plus a set of 3 or 6 texturing comb tools allow the DIY enthusiast to attempt an array of creative Floral, Victorian center rose effects and patterns. Plus the practitioner has the added satisfaction of doing it themself.

This article will guide you in the process of texturing effects around the center light fitting.

I have included pictures of floral designs, plus a short video showing the samples and the texturing comb tools used to make each patterned medallion.

Texturing (texture material / compound, is similar to plaster, but is not plaster) and sometimes called ‘mudding’ in the US and Canada, is known as Artexing in the UK.

Please check availability of materials in your location before you attempt any of these creative texture effects.

A Clean Cut Floral Hand-Made Textured Ceiling Medallion

The outer edge lines are smooth. A 10" Standard comb was drawn around the fixture once the texture was added. Then a 6.5" comb made the flower middle. The 3.5" Standard comb tool finishes the effect
The outer edge lines are smooth. A 10" Standard comb was drawn around the fixture once the texture was added. Then a 6.5" comb made the flower middle. The 3.5" Standard comb tool finishes the effect

Materials and Tools to Make Textured Ceiling Medallions

As with any DIY task around the home or work place, gather everything you require prior to starting your project or upgrade. For making textured ceiling medallions you will need:

  • A bag of texture powder (or ready-mixed compound)
  • A set of (3 or 6) texturing comb tools
  • A plain old ceiling
  • Sealer or Primer (to diminish porosity so the texture does not dry too quickly whilst you are creating patterns around the centre light fitting of the ceiling)
  • A means to reach the ceiling
  • A bucket for mixing texture powder
  • A tool for mixing texture powder
  • A means to apply the mixed texture to the ceiling (roller, brush or trowel)
  • A scraper
  • A paint brush or sponge for cleaning and blending in
  • A dust-sheet for collecting any mess.
  • Clean, cold water

Combination of Texture Comb Tools (Rose - Standard) Makes This Medallion

An array of designs can be achieved using mixed texturing comb tools; the Rose, and the Standard. For the middle section, and to finish the flower, 2 Rose combs were used
An array of designs can be achieved using mixed texturing comb tools; the Rose, and the Standard. For the middle section, and to finish the flower, 2 Rose combs were used

The Importance of a Solid Foundation

This article is broken down into steps. If you already know about a certain aspect I write about here, just scroll down the page and click on the appropriate title for more information.

Back to the ceiling you are about to enhance.

A solid foundation is paramount, prior to building on.

We are talking about interior ceilings and walls.

Texturing over an unstable surface does not really make an unstable, flaking ceiling or wall, solid afterwards.

The surface background has to be secure first and foremost, paint / plaster flaking free, and possibly no structural movement present either.

Set a solid foundation (ceiling / wall) ready for the next step to creating a hand-made floral ceiling medallion.

Floral Victorian Medallion Using a Set of Standard Comb Tools

This beautiful effect surrounding the center light fitting was created using a set of 3 Standard comb tools
This beautiful effect surrounding the center light fitting was created using a set of 3 Standard comb tools

Making Textured Ceiling Medallions - The Importance of Primer / Sealer

I often receive concerns regarding texture, once applied to the ceiling or wall, starts drying too quickly, preventing the practitioner from carrying out patterning whilst using comb tools.

Around the center light fitting, if your ceiling is not already shiny, or has a sheen, you must use primer or sealer (use in accordance with ‘porous surfaces’ stated on the packaging) and paint on the solution about a twelve inch perimeter around the entire light fitting you intend to texture around. Then leave it to dry completely prior to texturing.

For example, available in the UK is a popular sealer / primer often called PVA. There are many other quality sealers or primers specifically designed to diminish porosity prior to working on or decorating an interior surface.

Some primers or sealers (PVA for example) often has important benefits such as enabling one material to bond to another material, or surface, also. Do take time to study the benefits of the solution you choose so you know if it is right for your job.

To take away or to diminish as much porosity as possible.

As an example, if you apply texture to a dull, non-sheen surface which is porous, the texture will dry too quick therefore forfeiting its capability to bond.

TOP TIP

If you should apply texture (or even plaster) onto a porous ceiling or wall the material will dry off too quickly as the moisture absorbs away into the surface, making working with the compound almost impossible especially when it come to making textured effects.

Also texture material will quickly lose its working capability if the environment you are working in is too warm, or if there are warm pipes underneath the ceiling you are texturing onto.

This would ultimately dry the texture too quickly, once laid onto the ceiling or wall.

Another disadvantage would be the texture pattern, especially when using comb tools, dries too quickly which absorbs a lot of the texture effect away into the surface, so the final pattern is not so 3d or bold, as you would like.

Mixing Texture Compound to the Correct Consistency

The correct consistency for mixing texture for comb tool usage is paramount. You must get this right.

Mix up the texture material as per the instructions on the packaging. The mixed consistency, once finally complete should be thick almost like custard, only thicker so it does not dribble off your scraper.

Before you begin turn off the electricity supply to the light fitting.

Now, pick a particular textured medallion pattern you would like to try, and then apply a thick band of the texture around the entire perimeter of the center light fitting.

The video below shows methods for application of texture to the ceiling.

The size of the largest comb tool is 10” (ten inches) so you want to apply at least 12” (twelve inches) of texture around the area so you are now looking at a messy, thickly applied band of texture surrounding the light fitting.

Take the largest comb first. Set the comb into the texture and rest the edge against the center light fitting. The light fitting acts as a ‘template’ for you to bounce the comb off as you are creating your first floral pattern and continuing moving and bouncing the comb around the entire perimeter of the fitting.

Pattern the surrounding area using the ‘template’ and the ten inch texturing comb tool.

Next, use the smaller comb tool, the next size down the 6.5” (six and a half inch) to carry out the next pattern, which you will be creating over the first 10” comb pattern using the same method as the 10" comb tool.

So far you will be left with what looks like the beginning of a floral Victorian rose around the center light fitting of the ceiling, using just 2 comb tools.

Finally, take the smallest, 3.5” (three and a half inch) comb tool and continue to bounce this around the ‘template.’

Once completed, and with a steady motion use your finger to run around the perimeter of the ‘template’ thus cleaning off any residual texture off the light fitting whilst adding a neat finish.

But be careful your hands or fingers do not touch the textured design.

Using a Set of Standard Comb Tools Creates This Pattern

The Standard comb effect creates depth, and each comb overlaps the pattern just created as one works inwards, towards the center fitting, finally running a finger around the interior perimeter to clean off residue
The Standard comb effect creates depth, and each comb overlaps the pattern just created as one works inwards, towards the center fitting, finally running a finger around the interior perimeter to clean off residue

Finish Off the Outer Perimeter of the Medallion

When you look at your job so far, you will see a nice 10" size pattern around the entire light fitting, and over that 10" marker, there should be a band of messy texture which has not been combed through. It is this band of waste we are going remove, to to marry into the flat part of the ceiling, so the entire rose effects blends in.

Although you may have been working on your textured medallion for quite a bit, the messy texture already applied, that you need to remove, should be still soft(ish) enough for you to carry out this next step.

A soft small sponge and a soft 1 or 2 inch size paintbrush and some clean water is required:

Take the sponge or a small soft paintbrush, dampen it and carefully and blend in the very outer perimeter of the 10” pattern so the textured medallion melds into the existing plain old ceiling, and looks like it just grew there.

Using the soft paintbrush and dips of water, carefully draw around the outer floral design of the 10" medallion, thus creating a neat outline that shows off the design.

I hope this helps you in your quest for creating outstanding, bold 3D ceiling textures and effects around the center light fitting of your ceilings without having to fix up cumbersome medallions made from Plaster of Paris.

Please comment in the box below and post your experiences.

Combination of Hand-Made Textured Ceiling Medallions

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