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How To: Texture a Wall with Joint Compound

By Picardy Project on Jan 21, 2013

There are probably as many textures as there are people willing to pick up a drywall knife or any other tool for that matter. That said, here's how I texture the wall to sorta match the texture of our original plaster walls. It's basically a heavy skip trowel technique.

I use an all purpose tapping/topping joint compound for this. It's a drying type compound so you have a lot of working time with it. Ours comes in a box, but some come in a bucket. Either way I like to put it in a 5 gallon bucket, add about half a cup of water (for a full box), and then mix it to a creamy consistency. Some people add dishwashing soap or other things to make the mix more creamy, but water alone is fine for me.

Normally I like to use a hawk and trowel because I find it faster than a 6" drywall knife, but either works. I press the trowel into the mud to create a bit of suction and pull it up. When you do this right it creates a lot of dippling on the trowel, similar to the look you get from thinset when you pull tile off the substrate.

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With the trowel or knife loaded, I skip it across the wall lightly. I run it parallel to the wall surface letting a bit of the compound come off the trowel at a time.

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If it looks like I want it to look then I come back and knock it down a bit so nothing is too high.

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If it doesn't look right I can always come back and add some more or take it off and start over.

Then it's just a matter of adding more and more layers to it until it resembles the same plaster pattern as the original walls

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Here is the finished textured wall in the back bathroom (before it was painted)

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And this is the original texture throughout the house

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Not a perfect match, but it's close enough to the original that no one has been able to tell that we applied this texture ourselves.

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