How To Skip Trowel Drywall

If you want to improve the look of drywall, consider applying the skip trowel technique. The skip trowel technique, which resembles stucco, adds texture to drywall and hides imperfections. The texture is made by making random strokes with a joint compound and drywall knife or trowel. Follow these steps to apply the skip trowel finish. 

Prepare to Apply the Texture

To paint skip trowel, gather:

  • work gloves
  • eye goggles
  • lint-free cloth 
  • drop cloth or plastic
  • pole sander (optional)
  • drywall knife
  • drywall compound 
  • heavy-duty electric drill with mixing attachment or potato masher
  • long-nap paint roller 

Remove furniture from the room and take down wall hangings and light fixtures. Lay drop cloths or plastic over the floor and non-removable furniture, and cover outlets and wall trim with painter's tape. 

Sand and Prime Drywall

You will need to sand untreated or unpainted drywall but can skip sanding if the wall has been painted. Go over the wall with a damp, lint-free cloth, then let it dry. Joint compound won't stick to dirty walls.

Primer isn't required, but a latex primer helps seal pores in the drywall, which reduces texture shrinking. Brush on the primer with the paint roller in even strokes and let it dry.

Mix the Mud Compound

A standard all-purpose compound in ready-mix or dry mix works best for this project. Light drywall compounds tend to scratch easily, and they don't  commonly take the texture as well. A large potato masher can be used in place of a drill to mix the compound, but it will take longer.

Combine the full package of drywall compound with a cup of water in a large bucket, or follow package instructions. Stir the mixture with a drill or large potato masher, adding more water as needed to result in a thickness similar to peanut butter.  

You may need to add more water,since the compound dries fast, but start out with the minimum required.

Apply the Texture

Add the texture starting from the bottom of the wall to the top. Add texture starting from the floor to the center point on the first half of the wall, then work from the center point to the ceiling.

Scoop some of the compound onto the trowel and roll a layer on the wall in four-feet long strokes, making various patterns. You may prefer to make the first layer thicker, since the mixture thins easily.

 After you have applied the compound, make short, skipping strokes and arches on the texture in random patterns with a drywall finishing knife. Alternately, use the trowel to make the strokes, holding it at fifteen-degree angle.

If you don't feel comfortable attempting to apply your own drywall texture, feel free to contact a renovation contractor who can give you the look that you want.