So, you've decided to decorate your plaster ceiling, but you aren't exactly sure how to go about getting the pretty swirls and curls found on many of them. Fortunately, it's fairly easy to achieve great looking results with neither an art degree nor even a visit to an art supply store.
The most common tool used to swirl plaster is a notched trowel. These can be found with flat or pointed notches and many different widths and depths. If you want your swirls to have more flair without buying more tools, you can use almost anything with notches or tines to make a beautiful and detailed swirl pattern. Choose your tool based on how you want your design to look, rather than on its original use.
If you want tight spirals, try a hair pick. If you have a lot of patience and a strong desire for detail, try a dinner fork. For loose, wider spirals, go for a serving fork or hand rake. You can mix and match your tools to create spirals of varying depth and size. Keep an open mind and an imaginative eye, and there's no limit to the designs you can create.