Apply Faux Stucco to Interior Walls

creating a stucco look on a wall
  • 4-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 10-200
What You'll Need
Drop cloth
Large paintbrush
Masonry trowel
Putty knife
Paint roller w/ thick attachment for heavy finishes
Wide brush
Paint in color of your choice
Sand-textured paint
Joint compound
Water-based polyurethane

To give your interior walls a textured, aesthetically interesting look, consider applying a faux stucco finish. Stucco finishes are quite easy to do; all it will take are a few minor expenses and some elbow grease. If you have wanted to redecorate the walls or simply give them a new color, you can do both with interior stucco finishing.

Step 1 - Prepare

Set drop clothes over all affected areas and tape off windows, molding, baseboards, etc, and any portion of walls you don’t want to finish. Apply stain-blocking primer to the entire wall you are finishing and allow it to dry thoroughly. Typically, you should allow it dry for at least one day before painting.

Step 2 - Apply Sand-Textured Paint

applying grey paint to a wall

With a large brush, in a criss-cross pattern, apply the sand-textured paint to the wall(s) to give the eventual finish a grainy look.

Step 3 - Joint Compound

Joint compound is similar to plaster used to seal off joints in drywall. For this purpose, with the masonry trowel, apply the joint compound on the wall using the “skip trowel” method. This is a procedure where you randomly texture the wall with the trowel by skipping certain places, creating peaks and valleys on the wall. Allow it to dry completely before you proceed.

In case you don’t like certain points on the texture, use a putty knife to scrape away at unsightly ridges on the wall. Follow this with the sandpaper to smooth out your corrections.

Step 4 - Paint the Base Color

With the paint roller and thick cylindrical attachment, paint the wall in its entirety. Because of the peaks and valleys the paint will appear darker in places. This is okay because it adheres to the faux stucco illusion.

Step 5 - Darken Wall in Places

blue faux paint in bathroom

As an option, you can take a slightly darker shade of paint, mix it with some glaze and apply it in places using the wide brush. The idea is not to cover the whole wall again, but to give the impression of inconsistencies in the finish, like true stucco. For best results, only highlight the wall in certain areas to give it the best look. Let the coat of paint dry thoroughly.

Step 6 - Seal the Wall

With a water-based polyurethane sealer, coat the whole wall to seal it up and protect it from moisture.

Step 7 - Clean up

After everything is dry, remove all tape from the protected molding, baseboards, etc, fold up the drop cloth and properly clean all of your brushes.

In just a few steps, you can turn a traditionally painted interior wall into a faux stucco masterpiece. Faux paint requires a few additional steps, but not much more effort than regular paint. You can also take quick courses at your local home store, they are typically offered in the evenings and are free of charge. They will show you how to do it and give you a chance to practice.