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Drywall Texturing Made Easy

DIY Paint Roller and Knockdown Texture Methods

© 2008 by all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission.

Drywall with Knockdown Texture

A drywall knockdown texture that looks something like a map.

This article was updated on 09/21/20.

Want to create a dramatic effect on your home’s walls and ceiling? These basic drywall texturing techniques get you started in developing your own creative style.

Many people look at a professionally textured wall or ceiling and wonder how it’s done and how difficult it must be. Actually, there are methods that are simple for the DIY’er to tackle that only take a few moments to master.

In other words, it is a perfect weekend DIY project that you can do yourself or get the family involved. Doing it yourself also has the benefit of saving money on labor. And, if you happen to get any texture spatters on your tile floors, just clean them up with a commercial tile floor cleaning machine.

The purpose of this tutorial is to teach the homeowner just two of the many easy ways to texture sheetrock. You can use these to apply texture to a sheetrock wall or ceiling without the hassle of a hopper texture sprayer.

Why texture? One reason is to cover up any imperfections from warped studs or drywall finishing. The higher the sheen of your paint, the more important this is. Another reason is that it gives your living space more character.

Method One: The Roller Sheetrock Texturing Method

This is the easiest of the two wall and ceiling texturing methods outlined in this tutorial. You’ll need:

  • Paint roller handle with cover and extension pole
  • Paint roller pan
  • Electric drill; use a heavy-duty tool rather than a budget model
  • Ribbon mixer (found in drywall taping tool area of the home improvement store)
  • Drop cloths
  • 5 gallon bucket(s) of pre-mixed sheetrock mud (drywall compound)or powder that you will have to add water to and mix

Thinning Out Drywall Compound
Begin by thinning out the mud with water. Transfer half the mud to a sturdy plastic bucket. Add a cup of water to the remaining mud and mix it in well using the ribbon mixer with your electric drill. You might have to add some more water or mud. Ideally, it should have a consistency of a milk shake.

Apply the Texture

First, spread out the drop cloths in the work zone. Pour some thinned mud in the roller pan. There are two factors that determine how pronounced the finished texture will be — the nap of the roller used and the speed with which you roll the wall.

Play around with this with the first area before it dries until you get it where you like it.

As you roll the nap will lift the mud off the wall in peaks. The slower you go, the higher the peaks will be.

Start rolling up and down in one corner and work your way around the room. For a more erratic pattern, roll back over it at random angles. Set your internal artist free!

Method Two: The Knockdown Sheetrock Texture Method

This method is a great way to refresh your walls. For this Method you’ll need:

  • Everything from the previous list except for the painting tools
  • Crow’s foot stomp brush or this homemade knockdown texture tool
  • Wide (about 10”) taping knife
  • Narrow taping knife and perhaps a putty knife for those tight spots
  • Mud pan

Thin out the mud as before but leave it a bit thicker. You’ll get a feel for your personal preference by trial and error.

Apply the Texture

For the knockdown texturing method, you still want to raise peaks in the mud on your drywall. The difference here is that rather than rolling the mud, the crow’s foot brush or the homemade knockdown texture tool is dipped in the mud (not submerged), pushed onto the sheetrock, and pulled off.

Overlap a bit. Do a section that you can conveniently reach and then knock it down and do another section.

Knock Down the Texture

This is the step that gives this texture its character. What you want to do here is lightly drag the knife at about a 45 degree angle across the peaks in the mud to flatten them off (think plateau). As mud accumulates on the knife scrape the excess into the mud pan.

The knockdown takes a little practice (it really is a creative process driven by your personal style) but you can re-stomp anywhere as long as the mud is still wet.

Drywall with Knockdown Texture
A knockdown texture painted turquoise

Take a close look at this photo and the one at the top of this article. This is a bathroom I just textured.

And in Summary...

As you can see, neither of these techniques is set in stone; they are jumping off points for your personal decorating style. For example, with the roller texturing method, a heavy, slow nap can be used and knocked down for a semi-corduroy effect.

With the crow’s foot or the homemade tool, you might try a slight swirling movement while pulling off. The point is, experiment and have fun!

These drywall texturing techniques are good examples of how you can reap major improvements with a surprisingly low remodeling budget. Do you have any innovative texturing techniques? Feel free to share with our readers in the comment area below.

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    About the Author:

    Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

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