DIY: How To Texture A Wall

I finally buckled down this afternoon and textured our hallway wall.  It wasn’t bad at all!  It only took me 2 hours, start to finish, all by myself.  Aaand, since I know so many people who are (relatively) new owners of fixer-uppers, I thought I’d share. 

My parents were the ones to teach us when we first moved in–they came for about a week and helped us (among many other things) texture the kitchen ceiling and the bedroom ceiling.  

Dad and Tim texturing our bedroom ceiling


 Now, ceilings are harder than walls because of the awkward angle.  I don’t know if I would try a ceiling on my own.  Just FYI.  Also, my Dad has some equipment that we don’t– a mortar comb to apply the compound evenly on the ceiling and a sponge glued to a wooden handle to make the swirling easier.  But my way worked just fine for a little wall. 

Not only does texturing drywall add character to a room, it hides things.  Whoever did our drywall originally didn’t do a very smooth job (not that I could do any better, just saying).  So this is the perfect solution for some of our lumps and bumps and seams. 


a spreader (some form of putty knife, the wider the better) 

 a sponge (I just used a cheap yellow kitchen sponge that came with a rough green pad on one side) 

a container (to hold the joint compound–they make nice rectangular plastic ones you can buy or you can substitute whatever you have handy in the kitchen or you can work out of the original bucket, although you want to make sure you don’t get any dirt or grit in the compound!) 

joint compound (you can buy anywhere from 1/4 gallon to 10 gallons at Lowes…we used 10 gallons on two ceilings, but I used less than a gallon on my ~14’x7′ hallway wall) 


1. Use the putty knife to fill your container with joint compound. 

2. Dip the putty knife into the compound so that the edge is covered.  

3. Swipe the putty knife down the wall leaving a thin layer of compound.  Adjust the angle of the putty knife to adjust the thickness of the compound applied.  The more compound, the more texture.  It is okay if the compound does not spread evenly through the swipe–you will be able to spread it out evenly when you use the sponge to make the texture.  Only swipe a small portion of the wall before moving on to step 4.  Then come back and swipe the next section and repeat (you don’t want the compound to have a chance to dry before you can sponge it!). 

4.  Place your sponge flat on the compound-covered wall and give it a half-twist with your wrist.  Pick up the sponge, move over and replace the sponge on the wall so that it just overlaps your last half circle, and twist your wrist to leave another swirl.  Don’t be afraid to go back over what you have done with a few more twists just to even everything out.  The texture turns out the best if you do not try to stick to a rigid pattern.  Rather, swirl away in quick, irregular overlaps until you’ve reached the end of the strip of compound on your wall.  The sponge will leave a ‘smuck’ as you pull it away from the wall.  This adds character to the wall.  Thicker compound leaves a more prominent smuck.  After the compound has dried for a few hours, the sharp tips of the smuck can be knocked off with the putty knife.  Then once it’s dry, the wall can be swept with a soft-bristled broom. 

5.  Use a wet rag to clean any drips on the floor.  Make sure to clean all your equipment while the compound is still wet.  It’s probably not a great idea to dump alot of the compound down the sink drain…I washed most of my stuff outside with the hose. 

6.  Let dry at least 24 hours before painting. 

7.  Make sure to seal your bucket of compound tightly if you have any left.  It dries out really easily.  In fact, the best plan is to cover it with plastic wrap and then put the lid back on tight. 

texturing in progress


texturing adds character and hides rough spots


all it needs now is paint!


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  1. #1 by Miriam on July 20, 2010 - 5:04 pm

    Interesting! I’ve never seen that done on a wall before. You learn something new every day 🙂

  2. #2 by Sally on July 20, 2010 - 10:15 pm

    Hmmm…is this “see one, do one, teach one”?

    Personally, I highly dislike textured walls. We had them at home where I grew up, and they were textured like sandpaper (the purpose was, supposedly, to keep people from touching the walls and leaving dirty fingerprints). Every time you bumped into one, and especially if you accidentally rubbed a little against one, it scraped your skin badly and took a reasonable amount of skin off. It was very painful. So, in my house, you can see all the bumps and imperfections, but you won’t bleed from touching the walls!

    • #3 by Cristy on July 21, 2010 - 7:36 am

      ugh, Sally, that sounds painful! Thankfully, this type of texture doesn’t hurt!!

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