Plaster of Paris isn't spackling paste. Not even close.

I’m doing a remodeling project on my house and I want to texture my interior walls. I bought a big bag of Plaster of Paris mix and tried using that. No dice. When it’s the right texture to slap on walls, it hardens in under 2 minutes, which isn’t enough time to work it. I tried reconstituting it with more water which didn’t work either. It gets hard lumps in it which doesn’t work at all. before i go back to the hardware store and throw more money away, I have several questions.

  1. Is there anything I can add to the Plaster of Paris that will make it harden slower and thus stay workable longer? Dish detergent? Bat guano? The tears of a virgin?

  2. Does anyone know the relative drying times of different plasters: spackling paste, joint compound, stucco? I want something that will stay workable for a few minutes in a trough pan but dry on the wall within a reasonable amount of time.

A little trick my father taught me was to add lemon juice.

A little googling shows that any acid will work, such as vinegar. However, it is also recommended to add only a few drops, or it will take forever to set. Also it will yield weaker plaster, but that may not be an issue if all you are using it for is texturing.

Are you committed to using Plaster of Paris? I’ve seen several thick “paints” that are thick enough to be textured using the appropriate roller, with nice effects.

The walls on our house in Texas were done this way. It was not any sort of plaster, but gave a very deep texture to the walls.

I’m trying to avoid the typical tract home look shared by several million homes I’ve been in while covering up a bad sheetrock patch. I own this house, I don’t plan on selling it. I want to remodel it to suit myself, not any one of 300 million people. That’s why I’m using plaster.

The vinegar works, I got it thick enough to hold on the wall and work with while it takes a long time to dry. Thanks for the tip, I’ll play with this and keep myself busy for a while.

Depending on the effect you desire, a texture gun and joint compound might be what you want.

The texture gun is a hopper fed, air powered sprayer that sprays joint compound. You can adjust the amount and pattern to some extent. After the compound is sprayed on the wall, or ceiling, you can leave it as is, or knock down the surface with a joint taping knife.

Here’s a gun from Northern Tool for $45 You supply the air compressor.

Or joint compound just slapped on. You can do pretty much any style of texturing with joint compound. The only advantage to plaster is that it will be a little harder if you plan on scratching your walls a lot.

Yes BoringDad, that will work too, but as an amateur I think you’d get a more uniform job with the gun. Unless of course that’s not the look you’re trying to achieve. :smiley:

So, this is quite the thread for me. See, I live in an older house (c. 1931) with plaster and lath walls. My plaster is quite textured - it’s very knobbly and pebbly, with “big” hills and valleys (“big” being pinky fingertip size, definitely something your fingers can sink into). No sharp peaks, just rounded hills (you know, knobbly and pebbly). However, we’ve not been able to find any sort of way to recreate this texture. I figure it’s got to be something that you can do relatively quickly, because even though the house is older, this texture is everywhere throughout the house (well, everywhere but the kitchen and bathroom, which were rocked by other owners during their renovations).

We’ve tried lots of ways to recreate it, from throwing plaster at a wall to sponging to buying a brush to whatever else. Is the blowing and knockdown the answer? The vinegar/lemon juice acid? Anyone know how to get this texture? I’d be much obliged.

Snickers, you try to find a Panda Paw brush and play around with it. Or perhaps a leather roller. Hard to tell from even a detailed description; pics are best.

Also, one of the easiest formulas is to buy a box (cube) of light weight drywall compound (no buckets, buy the boxed kind). Emmpty the box into a clean 5 gallon bucket, add water and mix with a paddle and a high speed drill. How much water? Depends. For a basic orange peel texture, about a gallon. For heavier textures, start with a half gallon (maybe a little less) and play with more until you get the right consistancy.

Spray on (including knockdown aftter spraying) is a very messy way to go for most DIYers. Seriously. If you’re not used to the action of the gun/compressor/texture mix combo, you will wear yourself out while getting mud splattered everywhere.

many different tools can be used for texturing, all of them producing different results. A square edge trowel is good for a basic palmed (skip trowell) texture. A variation of this is a rounded edge trowel. A 10 or 12" broad knife gives yet another different look. Thick nap rollers can be used, as well as many different kinds of texture brushes. Yeah, even brooms can be used.

Experiment. Mud is cheap. You can always scrape it off (or sand later - harder!)

Some pre exisitng surfaces will need to be primed before texturing. Esp glossy surfaces. If unsure, ask around.

I should add, if the wall you’re repairing was a wet plaster job, it’s best to go back with wet plaster. A web search will bring up all sorts of DIY sites with good instructions and hints. Wet plaster is still used in a lot of places, even some new construction, tho it’s now considered a custom finish and priced accordingly.

In a lot of opur remodels, we brack out the old plaster and lathe, rerock with new drywall, and then texture with the proper technique needed to match the exisitng plater finish thru out the rest of the house we’re not working on. It’s just easier. And if textures are matched, it all looks the same finished. Some neighbourhoods tho, require accurately mimicing the original job, which means working with wet plaster. Local codes and historic preservation regulations are easy to find with a few phone calls.

WHy no buckets? The premixed has a longer working time. Most people just getting into DIY do not have a strong 1/2" drill for the mixing, and you can burn out a regular drill pretty easily by using it to mix.

Personal taste more than anything else.

Around here, I can’t get the lightweight in premixed, only in boxes. The lightweight has a better ‘feel’ to it when texturing. I’ve not noticed a huge difference in working time myself, but I probably do work a little faster than the DIYer. Whenever I have to leave off texturing for a while, I splash some water into the bucket and cover it with plastic and tape. I’ve had it freeze on me, but never had a bucket dry out (tho I’ve seen some guys who have - funny!)

Also, even buying premixed, chances are you’ll need to add some water to it to get certain texture techniques to work.

Obviously ymmv on some things.

I was kind of wondering this myself. I by mud pre-mixed in both 5 gal and 1 gallon buckets. Sure the 1 gallon buckets are more cost per pound, but If you don’t need 5 gallons, it is a bit of over kill. Though I agree, If you really clean the seal on the lid, and pour a little water over it before you seal it up, it will last a long time.

With pre-mix, and a purchased (empty) 5 gallon bucket (and lid, they’re cheap) and a regular paint mixer for a drill, you should be able to scoop a bit into the big bucket, add water, mix it with a 3/8 drill, and experiment.

Agreed that a larger job would require a 1/2" drill, to mix it properly, but for this, you could mix it by hand, or use a 3/8 drill (I’m talking no more than about a gallon of mud at a time).

I’m not a pro, but have done enough remodeling and additions on my own stuff that I bought a texture gun, I really like this one. It only does orange peal/tract house. So that is probably not what the OP is after.

Also agree that the wall should be prepared first. Washed at the very least, you could also give it a quick rough sand (and wipe it down again), or prime it.

I have also done a simple knock down method. I used the Crows foot brush Then you will need to let it dry, just a little, and knock it down with a trowel or wide taping knife. Sort of gives an adobe look.

For sure. When it comes to this kind of stuff, you end up finding out what works best for you.

Bmax, if you have any scrap pieces of drywall, experiment on them first. 'Course, you’re probably done already, if you are - pictures!

I am a remodeler like NoClueBoy, and would add this tip: When you are done using your mud, take a drywall knife and a wet sponge and completely clean the inside of the bucket down to the level of mud left. This keeps the mud from drying around the edges, and falling into the bucket for the next job.

As I am sure NCB will attest to, you do not want chunks of dry mud clogging up the hopper gun or in your mud pan. Pro drywallers go apeshit when they try to float or texture a wall and find “rocks” in the mud.

What I usually do is not bother cleaning the mud scraps, open it next time and say “Ah crud.” But the beauty is that I then have yet another classy heavy duty weighted stool! You can use the half full 5 gallon mud buckets as stools, bottoms of homemade scaffolding, supports for workbenches, 1000 and 1 uses! Just try doing that with the empty bags of dry!

You can also try Plaster Patch instead of pure Plaster of Paris, the patch product has a longer set time, I’ve been using it around my house for patches too deep for joint compound.

You can’t reconstitute plaster because it isn’t drying, it’s curing. Joint compound dries.