How to Use a Trowel when Painting

What You'll Need
Soapy water
Lint free cloths
Drywall compound

Using a trowel, or skip trowel as it’s commonly known, is a good way to apply a texture to a wall and this can create a unique design. The technique is also known as orange peel texturing. It’s something anyone can do and doesn’t require any special equipment or skills.

Step 1 - Cleaning

Before you start using the trowel for painting, it’s important that the surface you’re going to paint is completely clean. You should clean it with soap and water to take off all the grime and the grease, Use one of your lint free cloths to dry the wall. Put drop cloths at the bottom of the wall, making sure they’re right up against the baseboard.

It should also be explained that the trowel here isn’t the same as one you’d use in the garden. It’s really a drywall knife which can also be called a trowel.

Step 2 - Drywall Compound

You can create the texture by applying drywall compound to the wall. In order to obtain the optimum effect, the compound needs to be mixed to the right consistency. If it’s too thin, it won’t stick properly; if it’s too thick, you won’t be able to roll it on or carry out any work with the trowel. The perfect consistency would be about the same as that used for frosting although something a little thicker will still work effectively.

Step 3 - Roller

The roller needs to have a long nap and the strokes you use with it should also be long. About 4 feet in length is ideal. Make each stroke take a slightly different direction because the last thing you want here is to work in an even fashion. Keep going until you’ve covered the entire wall. You’ll see that when you’re done, it looks remarkably similar to popcorn type ceilings.

Step 4 - Trowel

Now it’s time for the trowel, which should ideally be about 12 inches long. Keep the trowel pretty much parallel to the wall and make short strokes in different directions so there’s a very random effect to it. The idea isn’t to take off most of the drywall. However, if you raise any areas too high, you should smooth them out a bit.

Step 5 - Second Coat

Apply a second coat with the trowel once the first coat has fully dried. It only needs to be a very light coat of drywall compound. All you’re trying to do is create more patterns. You can also add a third coat (once the second has dried) and continue working with the trowel until you’re completely satisfied.

Step 6 - Paint

Once the drywall compound has dried, it’s ready to be painted. First, you’ll need to apply a primer coat which you should put on with the roller or with a sprayer. Once that’s dried, add a second coat. This can be the same color, a complementary color or even a contrasting one. You can either apply it with the same method or use a brush. A brush will add even more texture to the wall.