Plastering is one of only a handful of ways to achieve a great finish on your walls. Properly done plastering can be both good-looking and provide a great base for any paint. However, this story is a touch more complicated. Whilst most would want a professional for the job, having someone come over to your house- for many days in a row depending on the scale- is not the go-to amidst a pandemic. Even without the pandemic, you might just want to do some work on your house by yourself. In this case, DIY plastering is actually a pretty common handyman task with more and more people achieving great results just by following a few simple steps and rules.  

Why plaster is important

Before starting the process, it is important to know why we use plaster on our walls in the first place as this will have direct effect on our targets and methods. Plaster’s primary job is to give the rough unfinished surface of a brick-and-mortar wall a smoother feel and finish. Plaster also functions as the base for paint because paint does ‘fill’ it only ‘colours’. The ‘filling out imperfections’ is the plaster’s job. Certain types of plasters can also have protective functionalities like preventing water damage to the inner wall. 

The Plastering process

Step 1 of plastering is actually choosing the correct tools. When you are putting on plaster, you want the highest level of smoothness. To avoid lumps or other unwanted lines, use need to use the correct tools for the job. Just using some random spatula will not work properly and will be left with a bad result. Buy yourself a set of plasterer’s hawk, a good trowel, a bucket trowel, a mixer for larger operations, and a water brush. Each individual tool has its own use which lends to a perfect finish. 

  • The trowel is what you use to put on the plaster
  • The hawk holds the plaster for you to use
  • The bucket trowel is to scoop up plaster from mixing buckets
  • The mixer is used for mixing up the plaster
  • The water brush is used for perfect the fines edges and seams of walls

Step 2 is cleaning up the wall. As in any job related to painting and finishing, preparation is key. Before try to put plaster, you must strip the wall down to its bares. If you have wallpaper, you must take it down and remove every last inch of it. For painted walls, the paint must be sanded off completely. After taking off any paint or wallpaper, wash the wall free of dirt and dust. These dirt particles will show through and might even cause plaster separation, if, left on. Also, depending on your wall with might want to apply PVA to tackle with low-suction issues. 

Step 3 of plastering is mixing. Choose a plaster product that suits your house and your area. Different plasters withstand different levels of humidity and other external factors. So, it is important for you to choose the correct type of plastering. After selection, you will want to follow the instructions of the particular plaster to determine the plaster to water ratio. 

Step 4 is finally applying the plaster. Pick some plaster up on your hawk and begin the process. For your first layer, you will want a smooth layer that will a good base for an upcoming second layer. On the first layer, you goal is to make it as level as possible. Do not think about smoothness too much because the next layers are where you smooth it out. Having applied the first layer, let it dry completely. You do not want to apply a second layer on wet plater as it will ruin everything. Also, as the wall dries, you will want to keep it under constant monitoring. Sometimes plaster can dry out too quickly and develop cracks. You need to wet it using water to avoid cracks. When the time comes, apply the second layer, and let it dry. From here, it is your wish whether or not to apply more layers. Once on the final layer, you should start the sanding and smoothing out process in order to achieve a fine finish. 


Plastering your walls yourself is actually a good handyman beginning point. It is one of the easier jobs to do and you can achieve the best results just by following some simple steps and being careful with your tools.