How to do knockdown texture without sprayer

How to do knockdown texture without sprayer


Are you looking to give your home a fresh new look? Have you considered adding a knockdown texture to your plastered walls but are hesitant to spend much money on a contractor or rental equipment? Fear not! I have a step-by-step guide on how to achieve this textured look without the use of a sprayer.

While it may seem like a daunting task, it is pretty simple. Start by selecting a minor area or wall to practice on.

This will allow you to perfect your technique without committing to a large-scale project. If unsatisfied with the result, using a trowel, you can easily scrape off the plaster while it’s still wet. This is much easier and less messy than sanding.

Working with a small area also means using the same plaster for several practice sessions. This is a great way to build confidence and experiment with different techniques before tackling more significant projects.

The best part is that plaster is inexpensive, so you won’t have to break the bank to achieve a professional-looking knockdown texture.

Use joint compound to texture walls

Shopping list

If you plan to work with a drywall joint compound, you will need some essential items to complete the job. Here’s a detailed list of the things you will need:

  1. Drywall joint compound: This is the primary item you will need to begin the project. It is used to finish the seams between pieces of drywall.
  2. Bucket or a large plastic storage tub: You will need a bucket or a large plastic storage tub to mix the compound.
  3. Mixing paddle for drill: You will need a mixing paddle for your drill to mix the drywall joint compound properly.
  4. Drill that is strong enough to mix plaster: It’s essential to use a strong enough drill, so make sure you have one that can handle the job.
  5. Textured roller: A textured roller is needed for applying the compound to the wall. I suggest using the actual sponge type bought for faux finishing walls to get the best result.
  6. Paintbrush: You will need a paintbrush to apply the compound to the corners and edges.
  7. Paint roller pan: You will need a paint roller pan to hold the joint compound while you work.
  8. Trowel for faux finishing: A flat knife edge is needed. It is used to create a smooth surface on the wall.

Before you start preparing the surface

The list of items required to achieve the desired look is surprisingly short and straightforward. However, before beginning the plastering process, it’s essential to ensure the walls are clean and free from any debris or previous coatings that could affect the outcome. 

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to plastering. Firstly, it’s possible to plaster over old plaster and paint, but only if they are in good condition and firmly attached to the wall. If there are any signs of peeling or detachment, it’s better to remove them and start with a fresh base for your knockdown plaster. 

By following these simple guidelines and using the right tools and techniques, you’ll be able to achieve the desired look with ease and confidence. Whether you’re an experienced DIY enthusiast or a novice looking to try something new, this is a project that anyone can tackle with the proper preparation and mindset.

If there are holes in the plaster wall, fix them. Here is also a guide on removing plaster walls if needed.

Protective plastic or cellular board will protect your floors and furniture during the process.

If you have a fiberglass wall with wallpaper, you can easily plaster over it without removing it. However, removing the wallpaper using hot water and scraping is a better option if the wallpaper is different. To dismiss them, wet the wallpapers thoroughly, and then, depending on the number of layers. They should come off without much difficulty whether there is paint over them. 

When it comes to plastering, some people prefer to plaster a layer over the wall, while others choose to paint it first and then add a layer of plaster. If you paint the wall before plastering, it creates a smooth surface that is easy to adhere to. 

Finally, if you want to texture your walls, use a joint compound. This compound is a versatile material that can be used to create different textures on your walls, and it is easy to apply and sand.

Before you start, it’s highly recommended to take some time to cover the wall and other surrounding areas with a protective material, such as a drop cloth or plastic sheeting. This will prevent any plaster from accidentally falling on the floor, furniture, or other surfaces and causing damage.

Working with plaster and paint can be messy, and it can be even more challenging if you’re not experienced in doing so. For example, when mixing the plaster, achieving the right consistency and avoiding lumps can be difficult. Additionally, applying the plaster smoothly and evenly to the wall requires a certain level of skill.

Therefore, it’s essential to take your time and follow the instructions carefully. Consider using protective gloves, goggles, and a mask to avoid contact with the plaster or inhaling dust or fumes.

By taking these precautions and being mindful of the potential messiness of the job, you can ensure that your plastering project goes smoothly and without any unwanted damage or accidents.

My favourite way to spread plaster is from up to down and then working my way to other side of the wall. That way I can start doing the finished surface in order.

How to texture drywall with a roller

When applying joint compound on the wall, it is essential to achieve the right consistency. Mix it according to the manufacturer’s instructions and add water slowly while scrambling to get the desired consistency. You want the mixture to be sticky enough to adhere to the wall but still spreadable with the texture roller.

It is important to note that you should only mix a little joint compound beforehand. The maximum time you have to use the mixture is twenty minutes. Mixing too much might dry out before you get the chance to use it all.

Pour the mixture into the roller pan once you have achieved the desired consistency. Coat the roller evenly with the joint compound, getting enough on it to cover the surface thoroughly. Then, place the roller on the wall and roll it slowly down the surface, using the spongy material on the roller to form small peaks.

As you move down the wall, coat the surface evenly. Avoid rolling back and forth; apply in one motion, either straight up or down. If the joint compound splashes around, add more joint compound and mix it thoroughly. This might indicate that you have added too much water to the mixture.

Depending on the thickness of the plaster, you have about fifteen to twenty minutes before you can knock it down. Therefore, it is advisable to only apply up to what you can return to within that time frame if you work alone.

For big walls, it is best to get help. One person can spread the joint compound while the other does the knockdown. This approach is more straightforward, especially for beginners. With two people working together, you can concentrate on your tasks, making the process much smoother.

Time to do the knockdown

To begin the knockdown process, you should go back to the first place where you started plastering. Holding the trowel or knife flat against the wall is essential while you gradually knock down the edges and flatten them. By doing this, you’ll create a smooth and even surface.

If you started the process too early, you can run the roller back over and raise it again if needed. This is a crucial step because we must go down the plaster too soon to get the desired texture. Instead, it will flatten out and leave you with a flat surface that looks bad.

You should see the knockdown effect immediately. However, if you don’t, it may be because the plaster is too wet. In this case, please wait for a few more minutes for it to dry, and then try again. If you’ve practiced beforehand, you wouldn’t face this issue and know when it’s the right time to knock it down.

Follow these steps for the entire room while using a paintbrush to get the plaster into tight areas. It’s crucial to form the peaks as you did with the roller and allow them to set up for a few minutes before knocking them down. This will give you the desired texture and make the wall look beautiful.

If you accidentally get plaster on something you don’t want it on, you can clean it up quickly by wiping the area with a damp, clean rag. This will help you avoid unwanted messes and clean your workspace.

The plaster will lighten as it dries, and you should allow it to dry overnight entirely before applying any paint. It’s a crucial step because if you don’t let the plaster dry completely, it can cause problems when you apply paint.

You can finish the surface as you like, and for painting the textured surface, use a thick matte roller to ensure that the paint gets into all the spaces.


Learning how to create knockdown texture without using a sprayer is good. Once you have learned the technique, it’s time to get some joint compounds and start experimenting.

Achieving the perfect texture may require some practice in mixing the joint compound to the correct viscosity and spreading it on the wall to achieve the desired effect.

However, with some practice, you will likely become just as skilled as anyone else doing it for the first time. Even professionals have to start somewhere. Although they may better understand the materials they work with, they still need to practice to master the technique.

It’s important to note that only some are cut out for this type of work. Some people may not have the patience for detailed work, and that’s perfectly okay. It’s essential to recognize your strengths and limitations.

The best part of doing this job yourself is that you can save a lot of money. You may also find it enjoyable, and when you succeed, you’ll have a sense of satisfaction that will last for a long time.

If you’re curious for more guides, here is also how to do Venetian plastering. This provides some excellent results as well. It’s more work, though.