How to Match a Swirl Texture on the Ceiling

Many ceilings constructed of drywall simply have a coat of paint, but others have a more decorative appearance. Using a joint compound or special paint, you can create numerous patterns on the ceiling, such as a swirl. If a ceiling with swirl pattern needs to be repaired, you must reapply the texture. Matching the existing swirl texture will take some practice, but it is not expensive, and most home owners can master the task.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic tarps

  • Ladder with paint shelf

  • Safety glasses

  • Old clothes

  • Sand paint

  • 6- or 7-inch wide paint brush

Step 1

Protect the floor in the room by spreading plastic tarps over it before beginning the repair process. If any items remain in the room, such as furniture, cover them with tarps as well. Don safety glasses and old clothes, since working on the ceiling often causes drips.

Step 2

Position a ladder under the area of the ceiling that requires repair, and install a paint shelf on the ladder to hold a paint bucket while you work.

Step 3

Open a can or tub of sand paint in the same color as the existing ceiling. If desired, you can also use a joint compound thinned with water until it is the consistency of thick paint.

Step 4

Climb up the ladder, and place the paint can on the paint shelf. Insert the tip of a 6- or 7-inch-wide paint brush into the paint until it is approximately two to three inches deep. Pull the brush out of the paint, and drag the sides of the brush along the top of the paint can to remove the excess paint.

Step 5

Place the brush onto the ceiling directly beside one of the existing swirls. The brush should be aligned with the bottom of the swirl.

Step 6

Keep one corner of the brush still, and swing the other end of the brush over it in an arcing pattern until the brush is in the exact opposite position as when you started. The direction you arc the brush depends on which way the ceiling requires repair.

Step 7

Dip the brush back into the sand paint or joint compound, just as you did before, and then place it back on the ceiling at the edge of the swirl you just completed. Perform the same motion, overlapping the swirl by approximately two to three inches.

Step 8

Repeat this process until the entire area of the ceiling repair is patched.


Work at a room temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, so that the texture does not dry out or harden too quickly.

References & Resources