How to Make Designs in Drywall


Drywall is a practical surfacing material for walls inside a home. It is a durable material that offers many final surfacing possibilities including paint, wallpaper and texture finishes. Creating a textured finish can disguise mistakes and small areas of damage. Designs in drywall mimic the effects of plaster artisans. Making your own pattern allows you to fashion a personalized finish and transform a flat surface into a 3-D focal point.

Things You'll Need

  • Power drill
  • Mixing-paddle bit
  • Bucket
  • Drywall compound
  • Paint roller tray
  • Half-inch nap paint roller
  • 12-inch drywall knife
  • Paint-graining comb
  • Notched trowel
  • Sea sponge
  • Texturing paintbrush

Rough Texture

  • Equip a power drill with a mixing-paddle bit.

  • Fill a bucket halfway with drywall joint compound. Place the mixing paddle into the joint compound and turn the drill on. Add water slowly while mixing the joint compound and water until the joint compound takes on the consistency of paint.

  • Pour the thinned joint compound into a paint roller tray. Cover the remaining, unused portion of the joint compound to prevent it from drying out.

  • Roll a half-inch nap paint roller through the thinned joint compound. Roll the thinned compound onto the walls in a random pattern until you cover the entire wall. Dab at corners with the roller to fill in difficult-to-reach areas. Allow the drywall joint compound to dry for 10 to 15 minutes or until the surface is no longer shiny. Roll on a second coat if desired for more texture. Repeat for each wall.

Circular Pattern Finish

  • Apply a quarter-inch layer of joint compound over a section of the wall, from floor to ceiling and 3 to 4 feet wide, with a 12-inch drywall knife.

  • Place a paint-graining comb up against the wet joint compound at a 45-degree angle and press it in one-eighth inch. Turn the comb 360 degrees to create a circle. Place the comb on the outer edge of the arc of the circle; twist your wrist to turn the comb to touch another outer edge of the circle. Continue to create circles in the joint compound until circles cover the section.

  • Apply a quarter-inch layer of joint compound over another section of the wall, from floor to ceiling, 3 to 4 feet wide and abutted to the first section. Drag circles through the compound using the same method as you did for the first section. Overlap circles along the seam of the first and second sections to create a one-piece finished effect.

  • Continue to apply joint compound and create circles until the pattern covers all walls.

Curved Pattern Finish

  • Spread a quarter-inch layer of joint compound from floor to ceiling on one wall with a 12-inch drywall knife.

  • Position the notches of a trowel at a 45-degree angle, and press the notches into the compound one-eighth inch.

  • Pull the notches through the compound in wide, sweeping random arcs over the entire wall. Do not overlap the arcs because the joint compound will collect in the overlapping lines and look messy.

  • Apply a quarter-inch layer of joint compound to the second wall, and create arcs over the face of the wall. Continue to apply joint compound, and create arcs one wall at a time.

Stippling Designs

  • Equip a power drill with a mixer paddle bit.

  • Fill a bucket halfway with joint compound. Add water while mixing the joint compound with the mixing paddle until the joint compound has the consistency of a milkshake.

  • Spread the mixture over one wall with a trowel to form a quarter-inch layer.

  • Wet a sea sponge or texturing paintbrush with plain water.

  • Dab the sponge or brush at the wall in a pattern or randomly. You can also press the brush or sponge into the compound and twist or drag the sponge or brush through the compound to leave a design.

Tips & Warnings

  • Apply drywall compound to a scrap piece of drywall, and experiment with various tools and implements to create designs. You can use thinned or undiluted drywall compound when creating designs.
  • To knock down a rough texture and make less sharp, lightly drag a length of wood across the wet surface to flatten the spikes.
  • Avoid these techniques on ceilings as the compound will likely prove too heavy and cause the ceiling to bow or fall.

Related Searches


  • "Floors, Walls and Ceilings"; Creative Homeowner Editors; 2007
  • "Drywall"; Creative Homeowner Editors; 2010
  • "Walls and Ceilings"; Time Life Editors; 1982
  • "Home Decorating With Paint, Tile, Wallcovering: Special Effects and Creative Techniques"; Creative Homeowner Press; 1992
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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