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Mar 4

Natural Building and Plasters Intensive #2

March 4, 2022 - March 11, 2022


This 8 day intensive workshop will introduce students to the theory and practice of building with clay; using adobes, cob and wattle and daub. We will also spend ample time and energy learning and applying natural plasters including the water resistant and luscious traditional Moroccan lime plaster, Tadelakt.

At the end of this course students will understand the roles of each of the ingredients involved in natural earthen mixtures both for plasters and for building. This key understanding will allow students to apply this knowledge when building for themselves or in other situations, empowering students to go on and build successfully with natural materials.

This class will be perfect for people looking for an introduction to natural building or for people who already have some plastering or building experience and would like to learn some new techniques, tricks or finishes.

Course Outline

Day 1

  • Foundations introduction & theory

  • Designing your house

  • How to assess your soils & mix

Day 2

  • Wall systems theory and introduction

  • Building with Adobe and Cob

  • Clay base coats, how to level

Day 3

  • Wall systems theory continued

  • Building with Wattle and Daub

  • Introduction to Lime & Lime base coat application

Day 4

  • Plastering – clay leveling coat

  • Begin Dorodangos

  • Earthen floor prep

Day 5

  • Rest, waterfall, river, hike, chocolate tour

Day 6

  • Natural Building Tour of the Ranch

  • Straw Clay Finish coat

  • Earthen floor base coat

Day 7

  • Earthen floor theory

  • Polished lime theory

  • Tadelakt and Fresco application

  • Earthen floor finishes

Day 8

  • Clay finish plasters

  • Clay carving

  • Planning your plaster job theory

  • Debrief & Further questions

instructor(s)/teaching organization bio(s)

Nic Donati
Nic Donati, Rancho Mastatal’s Director of Natural Building and Appropriate Technology, first came to the Ranch in 2007 and fell in love with the community and lifestyle he experienced there.  Always good with his hands and wanting to get stuck in meant he was able to develop a wide range of skills both at the Ranch and other farms around the world.  The lure of the Ranch both as a community and working environment have continually drawn him back and he now considers the Ranch community and Mastatal his home.

He enjoys many aspects about living at the Ranch including communal living, proximity to wild and natural habitats, running around on the football field, solving diverse problems, and wielding tools from chisels to chainsaws to trowels.  He really loves and appreciates the freedom afforded to him to express and practice his ideas, develop new skills and hone existing ones, but above all else he believes in the ideology of the Ranch.

He believes that to engage, educate and nurture a desire in people to change the way we live and take more responsibility for every aspect of our lives from food production, to healthcare, to energy production and everything else in between is the only way things are going to change.

Ali Ostergard
Ali has had a love for working with her hands her whole life. Starting at a young age building chicken coops, to finding the art of natural building 7 years ago at the Ranch. Since becoming a part of the team here, she has worked on multiple structures and homes, including her own.

She enjoys each stage for different reasons, from the framing to the earthen floors and plasters. Finding beauty in the repetition, the joy of times shared with others, and the excitement of finishing a project.

She believes it’s empowering to know and teach these basic skills of building your own home. And to be able to do it in a mindful and sustainable way.

Robin Nunes

Robin’s love affair with natural building started in 2000 while taking a cob building workshop in the temperate rainforest in Oregon.  Since then she has been getting her hands dirty building many homes, cob ovens and rocket stoves here in the tropical rainforest in Costa Rica.  Whether constructing wattle and daub, cob, or adobe, she loves being able to build beautiful and truly sustainable homes out of the very earth that she walks and lives upon.  Finishing the structures with natural plasters (lime or clay) is one of the practices that brings her joy and satisfaction every time she does it.  She is excited to show you the wonderful world of earth building!

course start and Arrival dates

The class begins at 7.30 a.m. on March 4.  The night before the class begins, March 3, is included in the cost of the class.

course end and departure dates

The last day of the class is March 11.  The night of March 11 is included in the cost of the class.



Includes all lodging, food and instruction.

Your registration, a confirmation from us that there is space in the class and a $250 non-refundable deposit will secure your spot in the course.  You can make your deposit with PayPal below or go to our Payment page for more information and options.

If you are Central American, we have partial scholarships available for this class.  Please inquire at info@ranchomastatal.com and/or fill out an application here


This class will be taught in English, though both instructors are fluent in Spanish .


All food and lodging is included in the cost of  the course.   Students will stay in the Ranch bunkhouse with options for upgrades.  We provide high quality mattresses, linens and blankets.  Please see our Accommodations page for more information.


Please see our  Payments page for more information about how to pay.


Please see our cancellation policy here.


Please see our Directions page for detailed information on how to get to Rancho Mastatal.


To enroll in the class, please fill out our Online Registration Form.


For more information about this class and Rancho Mastatal please contact us at info@ranchomastatal.com , call us at +506 2200-0920 or text/WhatsApp us at +506 8539-1404.  You can also follow us at:

 http://ranchomastatal.com/ (sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page)


March 4, 2022
March 11, 2022
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Rancho Mastatal
Rancho Mastatal is 100 metros NO del Centro de Acopio
Mastatal, Puriscal Costa Rica
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506 2200-0920
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Tim O’hara
506 2200-0920
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