100's of designs, custom-sized and cut to order.
Buy educational materials and precut patterns
Order our printed catalog
Custom Designs
Find an Artist
In the Press
Join Email List
News & Updates
Methods > Inlays > Lusterstone Inlay

Lusterstone Inlay

Lusterstone is a burnishing metallic plaster that is generally troweled on in thin layers. It has many great applications with Modellos. This inlaid effect is quite unique and would work well for panels, tiles, random motifs and even borders.

This application uses three colors: Bordeaux, Merlot and Tequila Sunrise. This combination of colors and the addition of a light brown wax at the end is very effective for creating a look of tooled leather.


Apply 2 to 3 thin layers of Lusterstone as a base. In this case an initial layer of Merlot was applied by thinning it slightly with water and rolling a thin, even coat over the surface with a low nap roller. This was hard-burnished with the trowel before applying a slight skip-trowel layer of Bordeaux (shown).


Allow the Bordeaux layer to dry completely and then hard-burnish with the trowel again. Hard-burnish simply means using a hard pressure to drag the trowel over the surface. The leading edge of the trowel should be raised about the thickness of your fingertip. Burnishing compresses and hardens the material and brings out the inherent luster. Apply the Modello according to the Basic Installation instructions. This Modello is cut from 10mil regular tack.

Now skim over the entire surface with a layer of Merlot. Allow this to dry completely before proceeding.





The next layer is Tequila Sunrise. You can make this smooth and uniform, or textured with open areas (as shown). The level of "distressing" is a matter of taste!

When the preceeding layer has completely dried, remove the Modello to expose the original Bordeaux layer below. You could stop here and have a great finish. To complete this look, however, we'll now "backfill" the recessed areas slightly.


Smooth trowel over the entire surface with Merlot. Depending on the height of the relief you have built up you may want to apply two thin layers to fill. If you want a smooth look in your recessed areas where the Merlot has filled in, take a small stencil brush and stipply out the Lusterstone in those areas.

A really beautiful finishing look is to use wet/dry sandpaper (400 grit) to wet-sand a little bit back through the dried Merlot. This will expose the underlying layer of Tequila Sunrise more and also make the surface incredibly smooth and shiny. A final, optional step that will both seal and tone the surface is to apply a layer of natural wax with a piece of cheesecloth and then buff it when dry. Good color choices are Briwax Light Brown or Liburon Medium Oak.

Related Products

Related Methods
  • Embossing Basics