HomeDecoratingA DIY Guide To Plastering

A DIY Guide To Plastering

Plastering is an art, a skill, an arm-ache but most of all, costly. So perhaps you’d like to give it a hand and do-it-yourself? Here’s everything you need to re-create the walls of your dreams.

There are a few things you’d need to know before you begin as it may take a bit of time and practice. Do note though, that every plastering project will not be the same, so be sure to start with a small space and grow your skill and expertise so you can master any room in your home. 

Mixing Plaster

You can’t ice a cake if the mix of the ice hasn’t been formed correctly. In the same way, your plaster must be mixed properly. You’ll need two plastering buckets and plaster (there is an array of plaster that you can buy, however, we’ve found that the multi-finish tends to be the most used). 

Begin by pouring in plaster to the buckets and slowly adding water, start mixing the plaster with your paddle and drill. The consistency of the plaster must be creamy, leaving peaks when you lift up the drill. Ensure that there are no dry spots as the plaster can begin to crumble and fall off when it should be smooth and seamless.

It’s imperative that you only mix a small quantity of plaster at a time. This is because plaster can dry up and go off quite quickly, which means you’ll end up with a lot of wastage. Make sure to rinse off the paddle when you’re done using water at high speed. Keeping your tools clean will help to remove any dirt or dried plaster that may end up in your next batch of plaster later.

Tools, Tools, Tools

You can shop for inexpensive trowels at any DIY store, but if you’re plastering an entire wall, it’s better to purchase a trowel that will last you a while and you’ll notice a significant difference as opposed to using a cheaper one. 

The other tools you’ll need are a mixing bucket and a paddle. A hawk is what you’ll need to hold your plaster, the bucket trowel is for moving your plaster from the bucket to the hawk, a paintbrush (to fill in edge if needed) and a spray bottle if you begin to see plaster drying up.

PVA’ing Walls Before Plastering

If you’re plastering over a wall that already has existing plaster or has a low-suction surface (such as gloss), you’ll want to use PVA. You don’t need to use PVA when plastering onto a wall that has raw plasterboard.

With PVA, all you need to do is mix it with water and paint directly onto the wall. The solution will help to seal the wall and improve the suction to allow your plaster to adhere better. Once the PVA begins to feel somewhat tacky, you should begin plastering. Side note – ensure that your walls are dust-free before beginning otherwise it may be quite difficult to get the plaster to stick to the walls.

Plastering Walls

The aim of your first coat of plaster is to ensure a smooth foundation for the second base of plaster. If you find any high points on the wall, this is where the first coat would step in to even them out. It’s vital that your first coat is smooth and seamless, but doesn’t have to be perfect.

To begin, ensure the trowel and plastering hawk are slightly wet. Using the bucket trowel, pick up some plaster from the bucket and onto the hawk. Whilst holding the hawk, hold it upright and scoop it into your trowel and onto your hawk. Then, start at the bottom of the wall, aim the trowel against the wall at an angle. Pull the trowel upwards, pushing the plaster onto the wall. 

Then begin to create the shape of an umbrella handle (upside-down) as you move along the wall. The angle of the trowel should be more shallow as there is less plaster to push onto the wall. You can do this technique the opposite way round too, starting at the ceiling and pulling it downwards. Be sure to repeat this process until the whole wall is covered in plaster.

Smoothing Out The Plaster

Once the wall is covered, you can begin to smooth it out as it begins to firm. Start moving the trowel over the plaster, getting rid of any excess plaster as you make your way around the wall. Do work in different directions when you do this so that all the areas of the wall are covered and apply a little pressure to your trowel at this stage to achieve a better finish (don’t press too hard or you may gauge the plaster). Once this is done, ensure that you wait for it to dry and go in with the next coat of plaster. If there are areas of the wall that don’t seem to want to fill in, just use a paintbrush to smooth them out and fill them in. 


So, this is a quick and easy way to plaster when you’re looking to do the job yourself, however, it is by no means the way in which we’d carry it out (we promise). After reading this guide, you’re still feeling a little nervous about your new project, we’d recommend taking a plastering course if this is something you’re feeling quite confident and passionate about.

Here at Premier Decorating, we take pride and professionalism as the forefront of our job. If you’re not much of a DIY’er, be sure to contact us for your no-obligation quotation now.