How to do knockdown texture without sprayer

How to do knockdown texture without sprayer

Do you want the look of knockdown texture on your plaster but don’t want the expense of hiring a contractor or renting a sprayer? Or maybe you’re just looking to redecorate your home with home means?

I know some do and you most likely want to do it as cheap as possible to save your money for other projects maybe. Look no further, here is a guide for how to do knockdown texture without sprayer.

If you have searched for it already, it might seem a little hard to do, but I assure you it is not. Here is what you can do to get it perfect. Take a small spot or wall, practice on it and if you can’t get it right, just use your trowel to scrape it off the wall.

Plaster is really inexpensive so you can afford a few practice sessions. Scraping it off the wall when it’s wet is much easier than sanding it and less dusty. You can also see immediately if it’s going to look good or not. You can try to do it with the same plaster even for a time or two if you work with a small area.

Shopping list

  • Drywall joint compound
  • Bucket or a large plastic storage tub
  • Mixing paddle for drill
  • Drill strong enough to mix plaster with
  • Textured roller (we used the real sponge type, bought for faux finishing walls)
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller pan
  • Trowel for faux finishing (flat knife-edge).

Before you start prepare the surface

As seen from the list, a few basic simple items are all that is needed to accomplish this look, and of course, as with any other type of plastering clean walls are a must. There are few things to notice here.

First, you can plaster on top of old plaster and paint. It just has to be in good condition meaning the old plaster sticks to the wall and paint is not peeling off the plaster. If they are not in good condition, you’re better of scraping them away and making new base work for your knockdown plaster.

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

Second, if there are wallpapers, the only fiberglass is usually good to plaster over. Other types of wallpapers you should remove with hot water and scraping. You wet the wallpapers and depending on how many layers and if there is paint over them, they should come off easily.

Some plaster a layer over the wall then, some paint it first and then add a layer of plaster. If you paint it, you can think of it as making the surface something easy to adhere to.

Use joint compound to texture walls

How to texture drywall with a roller

Mix the joint compound by the manufacturer instructions; add just enough water while mixing to get the consistency that sticks to the wall and you can spread it with the texture roller. Remember you will need to use this amount in twenty minutes so don’t mix too much ahead of time.

Once you have the right consistency pour it into the roller pan. Get enough on your roller to evenly coat it and then place it on the wall and roll it slowly. The spongy material on the roller should form small peaks as you roll down the wall.

Move down the wall making sure to evenly coat the surface. Do not roll back and forth, just apply in one motion either straight up or down (up is easier for me). If it splashes back quite a bit just add more joint compound and mix thoroughly; you’ve added too much water.

Depending on the thickness of the plaster you will have about fifteen to twenty minutes to go back and knock it down. So if you’re working alone don’t apply any more than you can get back to in that time frame.

With big walls I’d get someone to help so you two can concentrate on your own things, one spreading the joint compound and the other doing the knockdown after. It’s easier when you’re a beginner.

Time to do the knockdown

Start the knockdown process in the first place you started plastering; holding the trowel or knife flat against the wall. Now just start knocking down the edges and flattening them as you go.

Don’t worry if you started this process too early you can run the roller back over and raise it again if you need to. You should start to see this effect immediately; if you don’t you may be working with it too wet, just allow it to dry for a few more minutes and try again. If you practiced like I recommended you won’t have this problem, you know when it’s just right to knockdown.

Work your way following these steps for the whole room. You may have to use a paintbrush to get the plaster into tight areas. Just make sure you are forming the peaks just like you did with the roller and allow them to set up for a few minutes before trying to knock it down. If you did manage to get the plaster on something you don’t want it on clean up is simple. Just get a damp clean rag and wipe the area down.

The plaster will lighten as it dries; be sure to allow a good overnight rest for the plaster to dry completely before applying any paint and finish as you would like. For painting the textured surface you may want to use a thick matte roller to make sure you get the paint into all of the spaces.


You should know how to do knockdown texture without sprayer now, now it’s time to buy some joint compound and experiment. Getting it just right might take some practice in mixing the joint compound to be of correct viscosity and how to spread it to the wall leaving the right texture to knockdown.

But after you do it for a bit, you’re probably as good as anyone doing it for the first time. Remember that professionals have their first times as well. They have a better understanding of the materials they work with, but still, it might take some practice for them as well.

And there is always the point that doing something is not always for everyone. I know painters who wouldn’t do any texture job even if you threatened them. Not everyone has the patience for detailed work and it’s OK to know your strengths.

The best part here is that you will yourself a lot of money doing the job yourself. You might also have some fun doing it and when you succeed well, it’s something that will bring satisfaction to look at for a long time.

If you’re curious for more guides, here is also how to do Venetian plastering. I assure you, this provides some nice end results as well. It’s a little bit more work though.

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