How to Get an Orange Peel Effect With a Paint Roller


As its name suggests, the orange peel texture for interior walls resembles the slightly bumpy skin of the citrus fruit. Wall and ceiling textures such as orange peel hide imperfections in the surface of the drywall. While you can use a spray-on texturing tool, the orange peel look can also be achieved by hand, with a 1/2-inch-nap roller and watered-down joint compound. Once the texture dries, you can prime and paint your walls as usual.

Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloth
  • Painter's tape
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Joint compound
  • Electric drill and mixing paddle or hand mixing stick
  • Paint tray
  • Roller handle
  • Roller cover, 1/2-inch nap
  • 24-inch metal straight edge
  • Cover the floor with a drop cloth and mask the ceiling line and trim with painter's tape.

  • Fill a 5-gallon bucket no more than half full with joint compound.

  • Pour water into the joint compound while mixing until it reaches the consistency of paint. When applied, the mixture should be thin enough to roll but not thin enough to run. Use an electric drill with a mixing paddle or mix it by hand.

  • Pour some diluted joint compound into a paint tray and load your roller.

  • Roll on a coat of the joint compound the same way you would paint, working in multiple directions to cover the entire wall. Get as close to the corners and edges as possible to avoid an obvious texture change in those areas.

  • Allow the first coat to dry for at least 10 minutes or until it no longer shines.

  • Apply a second coat of the diluted joint compound the same way you applied the first coat, only this time, pay attention to the direction of your final strokes because this determines the finished look. Do a final roll in all one direction to get the most consistent texture.

  • Draw a 24-inch straight edge lightly over the partially dry texture to create a flattened, knocked-down texture. Otherwise, leave the texture as-is after rolling it on.

  • Let the texture dry completely before priming and painting.

Tips & Warnings

  • Practice on a piece of scrap drywall first to make sure you have the correct consistency and a feel for the technique.

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