How to Add Texture to Your Wall With Compound

Add texture to your wall with compound.
Add texture to your wall with compound. (Image: textured wall paper image by Dmitry Rukhlenko from

Plaster walls with joint compound to create depth, texture and dimension to your home’s walls and ceilings. Plaster an entire room or simply accent a wall. Texture adds individual character to rooms, fitting with old world décor as well as modern, contemporary settings. Always use fresh joint compound for the best wall adhesion.

Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloths
  • Sponge or towel
  • Vacuum
  • 2-inch painter's tape
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Joint compound
  • Distilled water
  • Squirrel mixer
  • Hand drill
  • Hand trowel
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Paint roller
  • Latex paint

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Remove all furniture and decorative accent pieces from the room if possible. Move as far away from the wall to be plastered as possible; leave a minimum of a three-foot walkway around the perimeter of the wall. Place drop cloths on the floor to protect flooring.

Clean the wall’s surface using a damp sponge or towel. Wipe any visible dirt from the walls, floorboards and crown molding. Vacuum away cobwebs in corners. Remove all outlet covers.

Apply 2-inch painter's tape to all areas where you should not apply plaster, such as ceiling lines and window casings. Push the tape firmly in place by burnishing with your finger or a plastic putty knife.

Open the lid of the joint compound. Ensure the mixture is slightly moist; if it is too dry, add a small amount of distilled water. Mix with a squirrel mixer attached to a hand drill.

Apply the plaster compound to the wall using a hand trowel. Place a small amount of plaster onto the trowel with the putty knife. Hold the trowel at a 45-degree angle. Swipe the compound onto the wall’s surface. Move the trowel in different directions to smooth the plaster. The plaster does not have to cover the wall entirely. Aim for about 90 percent coverage. Allow plaster to dry overnight.

Sand the plaster with medium-grit sandpaper. Remove all loose particles of plaster. Wipe the walls with a damp cloth to remove all dust created from sanding. Paint walls using a rough paint roller and latex paint. Understand several layers of paint may be needed due to the absorption rate of the plaster and the degree of texture.

Tips & Warnings

  • Understand each person's style of texturing a wall will be different. The movement created by the trowel is hard to replicate from person to person. It is ideal to have one person plaster an entire wall.
  • Create sample boards using poster board. Practice the technique until you like the texture you have created.
  • Always clean your trowel while applying joint compound. Keep a bucket of water handy and a wet rag. Clean your trowel when compound builds up on the trowel's edge and begins to dry.
  • Wear gloves when plastering to avoid joint compound from building up under fingernails and sticking to skin.


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