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.

Video

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Roll a second coat of paint onto a 3-by-3-foot section of the wall, starting at the place where you applied the first coat. Wait five minutes.

Things You’ll Need

  • Plastic drop cloths
  • Stickpins
  • Drywall joint compound
  • Texture paint in sand, popcorn or Venetian plaster consistencies
  • Small whisk broom or stipple brush
  • Hair comb
  • Window squeegee
  • Trowel
  • Drywall knives
  • Paint roller or double paint roller
  • Metal spatula
  • Wood grain tool

7. Thick Wooden Ceiling Beams

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Who doesn’t love exposed wooden beams? Wooden ceiling beams create a cozy and unmistakable feeling of intimacy. They’re a surefire way to create rustic charm in any space while adding plenty of texture and dimension.

The wooden ceiling beams in this ranch house’s entryway are installed over shiplap, creating an extra layer of visual appeal. The horizontal ceiling beams make the entryway feel wider, while the matching vertical wooden columns add height making the room appear taller as well.

The color-blocking and perpendicular lines create a really exciting amount of dimension that pulls your focus up and into the house. It creates the illusion of more space while simultaneously making the entire area feel more inviting.  

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.

5. Create a Geometric Coffered Ceiling

We’ve talked a lot about walls, but nothing adds dimension and texture quite like a coffered ceiling. Like shiplap, coffered ceilings can create an optical illusion in a space. In addition to being visually exciting, coffered ceilings help make a room appear taller than it is

Traditionally, coffered ceilings are square or rectangular in shape, but this gorgeous kitchen shows how breath-taking a geometric coffered ceiling can be. The narrow window casings and large windows make this kitchen feel light, bright, and open, and allow your eyes to naturally flow to the texture and dimension created by the coffered ceiling. 

Texturing a Wall With Texture Machine vs Roller

Professional painters create wall and ceiling textures with an electric texture sprayer. These tools allow the user to pour texturing compound into a hopper, and the machine introduces water and air to the mix. The hopper is a better choice if you are texturing a large area.

At between one to three gallons per minute, the machine sprays texture onto the surfaces. The sprayed texture goes on rapidly and dries quickly.

Do-it-yourselfers rarely have the benefit of using a $2,000+ electric texture sprayer. An ordinary paint roller fitted onto a roller cage is an effective, low-cost alternative.

Application is far slower than with the electric sprayer but it's easier to control, and can be a good option for smaller areas or repairs. Knock-down and orange peel effects can be achieved with the paint roller method, just like with the electric texturizer.

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Tip

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

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.

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Light your work surface

Shining a light at an angle on the wall you’re working on.  The angle is important because it allows you to see more imperfections than you see with down lighting. This is true when painting as well.  When you think you’re done, move the light so it’s shining from a different angle. You’ll be surprised to see how many areas you missed. The below picture demonstrates a wall I thought was finished until I moved the light and illuminated my wall from a different angle.  

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.

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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

Gather your supplies

  • all purpose joint compound
  • Paint tray or 5 gallon bucket
  • mixing attachment for your drill
  • thick nap paint roller
  • spray bottle with water to thin you joint compound
  • wet rag
  • Magic Trowel
  • drop cloth (cover your floors)
  • drywall sander

If you’re doing a small room where you’ll only need one bucket, I’d choose a ready mix joint compound.  It costs about $15 for a 5 gallon bucket. So for $15 you get the mud and a bucket.

Dry joint compound is much cheaper.  You can get about 4 times the coverage with dry mix mud. If you’re doing a LOT of skim coating, dry is probably a cost effective option.  You still need the 5 gallon bucket which runs about $4-5.

Texturing Walls with Paint

Many of the major paint manufacturers offer a line of textured paints. Such products work similarly to drywall mud, but because they are comparatively more difficult to remove, they require greater precision.

For example, when using textured paint, you must work quickly to cover the entire surface before the coat dries. If one area dries before you’ve covered the next, rigid lines may appear at their intersection.

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That said, textured paint goes on simply with a standard paint roller and a brush to cut in at edges and corners. Two coats are typically needed, one for the base and another as the finishing layer.

Because textured paints are available in only a limited range of hues, you may wish to pursue a different option—namely, a paint texture additive, which can be mixed with any color of regular paint you like.  

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