It`s already seven years since we constructed a new spiral staircase for our house. Hagen built a wooden skeleton and I put gypsum on it, layer by layer, until it looked like an elegant, old staircase. The final surface was plastered with a mix of lime, gypsum, pigments and protected with savon noir.
One can certainly imagine that time left some signs of wear on the surface, scratches and stains from the daily use. It also had, from the beginning of her life, some fine slopes and dales, resulting from my first attempts of working with fine plaster. Every day I saw it and thought: I can do it better now!Last week, when my shoulder was too tired to continue plastering a big wall at our big restoration project, I decided to do some fine work and refurbish our staircase.
I repaired all the little scratches and marks, sanded it. That was very dusty and I needed to clean the two levels of our house spanning the staircase. This was the main reason I skipped the idea of re-plastering it with lime and pigments as this would have resulted in more sanding and cleaning. Instead, I choose to paint the staircase and adjacent walls with a lime-casein paint.
Casein paints have been used since ancient Egyptian times and having a kind of revival today. These paints are made of natural materials, permeable and inexpensive. Just water, cream cheese, lime, a drop of linseed oil (use safflower oil for a white paint) and pigments are necessary. The only disadvantage: you can’t keep them for a long time. Nevertheless, having your personal recipe, you can easily prepare the paint in the amount needed again.
Here is mine:
1 kg lime CL90
125 g low-fat cream cheese
2 L water
3 drops oil
Mix the cheese with the lime at a ration of 3:1 (cheese:lime) and let it settle for about 2 hours.
Following, pure in the rest of the lime and water until the mixture is creamy, add the oil. You can dilute your paint further by adding more water, but you need to be careful not making it too thin, otherwise it will be a big mess when applying it.
In general, you need to apply two layers, but wait until the first layer has dried completely.
It results in a non-smudging, matte finish, and looks natural. I think, such a paint suits very well old houses, but it might also be nice in a very modern construction.
I decided spontaneously to renovate our staircase, although I had not enough materials available to prepare my own paint. But I still had a rest of casein-lime powder from Kreidezeit, a very good, inexpensive alternative if you hesitate to mix a paint by yourself (No, I am not getting anything for mentioning them).
Our staircase looks nice and fresh again and now, I need to continue by painting the ceiling of our dining room, with an industrial produced paint 😉