If you’re willing to do some DIY plastering then it is something that can be done as a DIY job, which is a cheaper alternative to hiring a professional. Plastering has been done for centuries and can easily be done yourself, even if it does cause achy arms. If you’re looking for a guide on how to plaster a wall yourself, as well as some plastering tips, then read on.

Equipment that is needed:

  • Dust sheets
  • Bucket
  • Trowel
  • Hawk
  • Wet paint brush
  • Paint brush
  • Paint
  • Emulsion or plaster sealer
  • Plaster mix

Pre-plastering preparation

Move all furniture, fixtures and fittings away from the wall to be plastered, and cover everything else with dust sheets. As well as this, get all of your tools together so that you do not have to leave to get a tool that you are missing, as this could hinder the process.

Five steps to plastering a wall yourself


Mix your plaster

Always mix the plaster based on what the bag says. You can buy plaster from any local home improvement retailer. Also remember, you need to add plaster to the water and not the other way around. As well as this, use a clean bucket each time you make a mix. You have then got to mix up the plaster itself into that water very thoroughly, it takes hard work and patience to get the mix just right, so no lumps and a nice creamy consistency.

As soon as you begin mixing the plaster, it is going to start drying, so time is of the essence here. So, work quickly and only mix small amounts at a time.

Apply the first plaster coat

Most walls need two coats of plaster to achieve a smooth and level finish. However, the base of the wall, such as plastering on brand new gyproc plasterboard walls or drywall sheets, will minimise the amount of plaster needed.

By using your trowel to pick up some of the plaster mix, move a good-sized amount onto your hawk. Then take half the amount from your hawk onto your trowel by slicing into the middle, scoop it up and then starting at the bottom of the wall, use smooth, slow strokes to press the plaster mix onto the wall, evenly distributing it throughout. Repeat this process and apply it to the whole wall, keeping the trowel facing upwards at a slight angle.

After this first coat, allow it to dry, with maximum ventilation in the room by having windows and doors open.

Apply the second coat and final skim

Follow the same steps as above by mixing your plaster and applying it the same. But this time, ensure this coat is a lot smoother and flat, as any lumps will show under the paint that is applied on top.

After cleaning up any lumps, missing areas or areas that aren’t up to scratch, clean around the areas of the wall with a wet paint brush so that it looks neater.

Then, after cleaning up the edges and the plaster has hardened slightly, it is time to smooth the surface using the skimming method. To do so, use the trowel, at an angle, to smooth it out using long sweeping strokes. To do so, go from the bottom to the top of the wall in one stroke to achieve the best finish.

Dry and polish the plaster


Wait for the plaster to harden, which will take around 45 minutes. Then, use your trowel and wet the face of it, which will provide lubrication for the next step. Smooth out the wall by gently running the trowel over the wall and filling in any holes.

Time for paint

Then it is time to paint your newly plastered wall. Once the wall is completely dry, you need to “mist” over it, which means thinning down some emulsion and painting over the plaster and leaving it to dry. Doing this will allow the paint to adhere properly to the wall and stop anything from the plaster bleeding into your coats of paint. Instead of doing this, you can purchase a “plaster sealer”, but thinned emulsion works just as well.

Leave the wall for a day or two, and then apply around two coats of emulsion paint.

Ready to begin plastering?

Now it is time to get stuck in and begin plastering. Make sure that you read this guide thoroughly and remember that you are against the clock with drying plaster, so time management is key!