Buon Fresco Materials & Supplies

Detailed list of Buon Fresco Materials and Supplies with descriptions of use in buon fresco painting. One stop art materials reference center for fresco projects.

Welcome, this should be an easy to read chapter, I hope. First, lets have an overview of the stuff.

Although it is posible to recycle or "borrow" a few things from your exsisting art materials, I would STRONGLY suggest NOT to do so since buon fresco painting is a painting in it's purest and cleanest form. Well, plastering is a bit messy, but not for the environment and you can use plastering tools that you may already have, we will talk about that in Tools & Equipment chapter later.

There is no worry about contaminating the environment with ANY of the true fresco material - high calcium lime the same as we use in agriculture for enriching the soil and in medicine for heartburn medications and dietary supplements, the same stuff our bones are made off... True Fresco pigments are all earth oxides and minerals that come from the soil itself. Distilled water for mixing color and plaster.

Summarising the above I would like to point out that since buon fresco is a chemical process the "ingredients" that you working with have to be pure and clean from everything that should not be there. So that brush of yours that has been sitting in some super solvent is not a good choice even if you will finaly end up cleaning it...

Perhaps you have some dry pigments? Well you can use those, but you must make sure that they are lime proff first. I will tell you how to do that later in the Colors & Paints chapter. But stay with me for now, lets get our feet wet first.



You will need:
(Buon Fresco Materials Big List - I will provide item-by-item descriptions later in this chapter - you wont need all of it at once)

For Cartoon & Cartoon Transfer

  • charcoal and graphite pencils
  • cartoon paper

  • tracing paper
  • cork board
  • pouncing/tracing wheels
  • charcoal powder
  • pounce bags

For Color Studies

  • Watercolor, pastel paper
  • stretched canvas various sizes
  • tempera or acrylic or oil paints
  • turpentine or water
  • regular brushes

For Colors & Paints

  • natural earth and minerals pigments
  • glass jars for ground pigments
  • distilled water
  • glass or stone flat-bottom mullers
  • 24X24 or 36X36 inch 1/2 inch thick flat glass for grinding
  • palette knives
  • japan scrapers (bondo knives)

For Plastering

  • Lime putty
  • portland white cement
  • Sand (optionally marble meal, crashed lime stone, volcanic tuff)
  • ceramic tiles
  • fresco boards
  • walls & ceilings
  • plastering tools

For Painting

  • fresco brushes
  • lime and distilled water
  • heavy white ceramic bowls and white foam bowls 5-8 inch diameter
  • solo cups 2 oz (white plastic)
  • foam plates
  • paper towels
  • painters rags
  • spray bottles

For Studio Setup.

  • table easel
  • heavy duty floor easel
  • lights
  • light box
  • projector
  • foldable tables

Pouncing Tool Kit
Pouncing Tool Kit
Fresco Brushes Big Set
Fresco Brushes

Fresco Pigments
Fresco Pigments
Fresco Plastering Tools
Fresco Plastering Tools
Intonaco Fresco Lime Putty
Intonaco Fresco Lime Putty


Uff... Looks like that is just about everything.
As you can see, a lot of materials from this list (see left column) are very common and could be found in regular art stores, or ordered online from places like Dick Blick and others. In the item descriptions below I will mark those as "common" or place a link to an online store, if available, next to them for your reference.

For other items, also of broad art use, but hard or not possible to find in one place at the same time. As well as for materials specific to fresco that are very very hard to find - for those I put pictures (right column above) and will write about in detail.

To save you lots of time Mitchell from Coppola Bros. Company, who runs the TrueFresco.com's Fresco Shop has put together a nice Buon Fresco Materials Starter Set which is only missing the Glass Muller, but you can get it from him separately. The rest of the stuff are regular stock items that you should be able to get in two trips max - one to the local Home Depot or Masonry Yard and the other is to the Art Store.

Fresco Materials Overview & Descriptions.

For Cartoon & Cartoon Transfer

"Cartoon" - full scale drawing of the future fresco. Cartoons are drawn on regular paper with pencil, graphite, charcoal, sepia chalk, etc., etc. The purpose of a cartoon is a thorough study and final rendition of the composition, light, shadow, details of the future fresco, it is a preparatory drawing taken to the next level.

  • charcoal and graphite pencils
    (common - Dick Blick )
  • cartoon paper
    (I use rolls 4-5 feet wide "poster paper", common - Dick Blick )

  • tracing paper
    (I use rolls 2-4 feet wide the thinnest, common - Dick Blick )
  • cork board
    (I use rolls 2X8 cork rolls, common - found in large Art Stores or Home Depot)
  • pouncing/tracing wheels
  • charcoal powder
  • pounce bags
    (charcoal powder and tracing wheels are fairly common. Pouncing Bags, you will need to make or get the Pouncing Kit )


related chapter: Fresco Cartoon Tutorial

For Color Studies

"Color Studies for Fresco" - like the Cartoon, Color Studies are essential part of preparation for the Buon Fresco. Color Studies are painted in variety of mediums (your own preference).

  • Watercolor, pastel paper
  • stretched canvas various sizes
  • tempera or acrylic or oil paints
  • turpentine or water
  • regular brushes
    (common - Dick Blick, perhaps you have all of that already.)

related chapter: Fresco Color Studies Guide

For Colors & Paints

One of the most important Boun Fresco Materials - Fresco Colors & Paints are prepared from lime proof pigments made from Natural Earths and Minerals. Paints are ground/mixed with distilled water or Lime Water (milk of lime). The basic fresco palette did not change for centuries since synthetic, organic and other man-made pigments can not resist the alcaline action of lime.

  • natural earth and mineral pigments
    (here is Fresco School's Fresco Pigments Set .)
  • glass jars for ground pigments
    (common - be creative I get big ones in 99cent Store and small ones from baby food.)
  • distilled water
    (...SaveOn?)
  • glass or stone flat-bottom mullers
    (this is a very hard-to-find, Fresco Shop has those sometimes.)
  • 24X24 or 36X36 inch 1/2 inch thick flat glass for grinding
    (common - check local Glass Shop.)
  • palette knives
    (common - > Dick Blick Art Materials .)
  • japan scrapers (bondo knives, etc.)
    (common, but due to many names difficult to find using phone book - sightings reported in Osh and smaller paint stores that carry Faux Finish Supplies.)

For Plastering

Correct plastering is a foundation for a successful fresco. Lime putty along with fresco pigments is The Main item in the list of buon fresco materials. Lets make it simple: bad plaster - No buon fresco.
  • Lime putty
    (MOST DIFFICULT - I only use "Colonial Aged Fresco Lime Putty Intonaco Fresco Lime Putty. For practice and experiments you can make domestic stuff cheaply - we will dicuss it later in Fresco Lime Putty Chapter.)
  • portland white cement
    (common - check Home Depot.)
  • Sand (optionally marble meal, crashed lime stone, volcanic tuff)
    (common - check local Masonry Yard - look for washed Plaster Sand.)
  • ceramic tiles
    (common - check Home Depot, you need basic, cheap ceramic 16X16 or 12X12 tiles.)
  • fresco boards
    (I use FrescoShop.com - making discussed in "Fresco Panels" chapter)
  • walls & ceilings
    (common - but all up to you...)
  • plastering tools
    (basic ones are common - Masonry yard. Also this is a good starter set Fresco Plastering Tools.)

For Painting Buon Fresco

Finaly - the fun stuff... Well buon fresco painting will challange every painting skill you have and will give you the upmost satisfaction doing it. Yep, it is quite addictive. Rewards are mesmorizing experience and an amzing improvement confidence and understanding of everything related to color, paints, drawing, composition, design, etc, etc. All buon fresco materials from this list will make use here.
  • fresco brushes
    (Not Available in US conventional Art Stores - here is a hand-crafted in Europe Premium Fresco Brush Set Fresco Brushes set.)
  • lime and distilled water
    (common - distilled in grocery store and lime water (not citrus lime) you make yourself from lime putty.)
  • heavy white ceramic bowls and white foam bowls 5-8 inch diameter
  • solo cups 2 oz (white plastic)
    (common ? - used to be in every big grocery store but now Solo makes them colored.)
  • foam plates
    (common - grocery store.)
  • paper towels
    (common - check grocery store.)
  • painters rags
    (common - check Home Depot.)
  • spray bottles and fine misters
    (common - check Home Depot and JCPenny for a fine mister - parfume department)

For Sudio Setup

OK, This is the last of the boun fresco materials list, actually this should be the first thing you do (set up a studio) however most of this stuff is common for any art studio and you perhaps have some if not all from this part of the list (for fresco tools and equipment we have a separate chapter).
  • table easel
  • heavy duty floor easel
  • lights
  • light box
  • projector
    (all above stuff is common, you guessed it... - Dick Blick Art Materials
  • foldable tables
    (common - at Target is the best bargain.)



next chapter: Fresco Tools & Equipment


Copyright 2005++ iLia Anossov & Fresco School



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