How to Apply Drywall Texture to Walls and Ceilings

How to Apply Drywall Texture to Walls and Ceilings

Prep the area

Before starting the project, take a few minutes to prepare your space. Applying texture to a wall is a messy process; lay drop cloths on the floor and use the plastic sheeting and painter’s tape to cover windows, trim, and doorways.

Some walls may require a few simple repairs before adding texture. Patch any holes with the drywall compound, using the drywall knife to press the mixture into the hole. Swipe the area with the edge of the blade to smooth it a bit. Don’t worry about getting the patch perfectly smooth, as it will soon be covered with texture material anyway. Next, you’ll need to pre-coat the wall. Apply a layer of drywall primer or flat white latex paint, and let it dry. This step is vital. Otherwise, the bare drywall will absorb the texture paint, negating all of your hard work.


Drywall Mud Skip Trowel Pattern

What To Do

What To Do

  1. Roll the drywall mud onto your wall with the sea-sponge roller, which is easier than using a trowel.

Roll on the texture

Adding texture to a wall must be done in two stages: rolling on the compound and, when that layer is partially dry, applying a second coat. Begin by filling the paint tray with the texture paint or handmade texture compound. Dip your roller into the paint, roll it out, and begin applying it to the wall. A standard roller cover will create a texture, but you may want to try a cover specifically designed for texture. If you’re using store-bought paint, follow all the manufacturer’s directions, as they may only recommend one coat. For corners and other areas that are difficult to reach with your roller, apply the texturing material with the flat face of a paintbrush.

Drywall Mud Tips and Tricks

  1. Try using a paint roller to apply the compound to the wall, then remove some of the drywall mud to create a pattern.
  2. Experiment, because drywall mud is exceptionally forgiving, allowing you to reapply or remove as needed.
  3. Be sure to give all texture 24 hours to dry before applying paint. If you wish to dry it faster, place a fan facing the desired space.

Multi-Colored Lace Drywall Texture

Applying lace drywall texture with two different colors creates a dramatic visual effect.

First, a layer of drywall mud or paint is laid down on the ceiling or wall. If drywall mud is used, it should either be painted or mixed with a color (you can’t paint it after the next step!). Once that layer is dry, a second coat is put up, either with a spray or specialty thick-nap roller. This second coat should be a different color than the first coat. A quick pass with a knockdown knife, and the end result is two layers of texture, each with their own color. Here are our best tips for choosing paint colors for your home’s interior.

Tools Materials for Texturing

Texturing drywall can be a very quick and easy process as long as you have the proper tools and materials. You might have most of the following items—if not, they are available at Freedom Materials or at your local building hardware store. Make sure you have the following when texturing drywall:

  • Drop cloths and plastic sheeting;
  • Drywall knife and trowel;
  • Drill and paint mixer attachment;
  • Paint, paint brush, and paint tray;
  • Paint roller and cover;
  • Painter’s tape and sponge;
  • Drill and paint mixer attachment; and
  • Drywall compound and drywall primer.

Having all the right tools and materials for your texturing job is crucial to ensure that your texturing project is a success. Once you have all the necessary tools, you can decide how you want to texture your walls.

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Crows Feet Drywall Texture

A crows foot texture is very similar to stomp brush. The difference—and where the technique gets its name —is in the brush itself. A crows foot is two oval stomp brushes mounted side-by-side. A good choice if you want a slightly more orderly ceiling texture, or if you want to texture a ceiling in half the number of stomps. If you want to remove your ceiling texture, here are the tools to get the job done right.

Things You’ll Need

  • Sanding pole
  • Medium sanding sponge
  • Mud (joint compound)
  • Water
  • Mud masher or electric drill with paddle
  • Perlite
  • Large bucket
  • Hopper gun, air compressor, and hose
  • Wide paintbrush
  • Paint roller
  • Slap brush
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Drop cloths and plastic covering

Applying New Texture

  1. Use the technique you perfected to apply the texture to the new wall. By overlapping the old texture with a very light application of the new texture, you can create a gradual transition that fools the eye. Odds are, you’ll still see the transition somewhat. Adding an overlay coat, covering both old and new texture will create a finished look. After the overlay texture dries, roll the entire wall with one coat of primer and two coats of interior flat wall paint.

5. Sand Swirl

Sand swirl adds a feel of individuality to a room without stealing the show. This style of texturing is easy to do using a compound known as perlite (primer with sand mixed into it) and a 7-inch-wide paint brush. Hold the paintbrush by the base, as this will give you more control than holding the handle. Dip the brush a few inches into the perlite, giving it a wipe on either side of the bucket to remove loose drips. Practice making a swirl pattern on a spare piece of drywall before moving onto your wall. Using the brush, start at the very top of the wall, making a big loop with an open bottom. Each row of this swirl pattern will cover up the bottom of the previous row. Apply swirls to a 5-foot section, dipping the brush into the paint after every swirl, then return to your starting point and drop down one row. Continue working your way around the room until you are complete, then let it dry. After a 24-hour drying period, you can prime and paint the walls.

Mixing and Filling the Hopper

Orange peel is a “splatter” type texture that involves spraying plaster in a pattern over your readied walls. This means that you’re going to need a gun and air compressor to get a good spray going. Technically, you can do it by hand, too, but this method is best left to the pros.

If you don’t just have a hopper gun and air compressor lying around next to the cereal bowls, don’t worry. You can rent one from a home repair store, or if you feel like it, you can purchase one for a couple hundred bucks. Just make sure that the hopper gun you get has an air adjustable valve. Also, you don’t have to go crazy with your air compressor size—a smallish one will do the job, as long as it can manage about 100 pounds of pressure.

Your next step is to get mixing! About one bucket of mud per room is the ratio here—mix it up using a drill with a paddle attachment or a mud masher until it’s about the consistency of pancake batter.

Fill your hopper up about half to three-quarters of the way full, and set the nozzle on your air compressor to 100 pounds. Take a deep breath. You’re ready to get shooting.

Before You Begin

By its very nature, texturing is a messy operation that results in wet texture material flying in all directions. When stippling a ceiling, even the most careful painter will need to cover the floors and adjoining wall surfaces, including door and window trim. Use drop cloths for the floor and plastic sheeting for vertical surfaces, hanging it with painter's tape.



Wall texture effects can vary depending on how the material is applied and rolled. Practice the technique on scraps of drywall or even sheets of cardboard before moving to your walls and ceilings. Practice with both thin coats and heavy coats. Try different drying times between coats.

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Featured Video

6 Styles and Methods for Texturing Walls

Textured walls can enhance any interior aesthetic in your home. Learn about the different types of wall texture to help you choose the right look for your next DIY project.

  1. Comb texture: One of the simpler techniques of texturing is comb texture. You apply the drywall compound with a roller to the wall surface and then finish it with the “teeth'' end of a notched trowel. The trowel can have either evenly spaced or unevenly spaced teeth, depending on what pattern you prefer. The end product creates a visual effect of sweeping circular rainbow patterns.
  2. Knockdown texture: The knockdown texture technique is almost identical to the orange peel method, but with one final step. Before the drywall mud has dried and hardened, you use a drywall knife or putty knife to smooth out the orange peel peaks until you achieve a stucco-like finish.
  3. Orange peel texture: Similar to a popcorn texture, the orange peel texture uses a texture sprayer to create a consistent, bumpy finish to your orange peel wall. Mix the joint compound until you have a thin, pancake batter consistency, with the resulting bumps being somewhat smooth.
  4. Popcorn texture: Popular in 1970s-constructed living rooms and dining rooms, popcorn texturing is one of the most useful methods for covering imperfections and dampening sound between rooms or floors. The technique requires a hopper gun, air compressor, and the popcorn mixture itself, which you mix with water. If you plan to create a popcorn ceiling, be sure to cover your floors and walls because this method can get messy. The resulting look should slightly resemble an even, thin layer of cottage cheese.
  5. Sand swirl texture: The pattern of the sand swirl technique creates concentric overlapping swirls, similar to those resulting from a combing technique. However, the tools and materials for a sand swirl texture create a much more subtle and understated texture. Sand swirl uses a primer and a sand mixture called perlite that you apply using a paint tray and a paintbrush.
  6. Slap brush texture: You typically apply a slap brush texture in small sections, using a paint roller, a thinly mixed drywall compound, and a double crow’s feet texture brush. The slap brush method uses the crow’s foot brush to splatter the wet mud in random and haphazard patterns. After twenty-four hours, the texture wall should be ready for priming and painting.

7. Slap Brush Knockdown

A slap brush knockdown texture combines the slap brush technique with the flattening step of the knockdown texture to create a random pattern of flatter, wider lines, instead of peaked, thin lines. To apply this texture, you will need a roller, slap brush, knockdown knife, and drywall compound. Using the slap brush technique, work your way around the room until each wall is evenly covered in a slap brush texture. For smaller rooms, wait 10 to 15 minutes before beginning to knock down the peaks using the knockdown knife. As with the knockdown technique, if you begin too early a line caused by the edge of the knife will appear in the wall texture. Stop if this happens, and wait another five to 10 minutes before proceeding. For larger rooms, you can begin knocking down the peaks in the slap brush texture immediately. Once the peaks on every wall have been flattened, the walls can be left to dry for 24 hours before painting.

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