DIY Using Joint Compound– Fixing Wall & Creating Designs

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Fun stuff going on over here. HAHA! I started fixing some cracks on the walls in the spare bedroom that I am changing into my son’s bedroom. If you have never worked with joint compound before it can be a process. But the more you work with it, the better you will get. (I can’t actually say that I am getting better but only that I am becoming more tolerable towards joint compound.)

You will need a bucket of “mud” or joint compound, different size putty knifes, a trowel, a hand sander, and a little bit of water. You can buy joint compound in different size containers. I bought a small bucket at Walmart before that would be perfect for beginners tackling small areas. This particular mud changed colors as it dried on the walls so you knew when you could start sanding. Neat but not necessary. There are also lots of other tools you can get to fix areas on walls. This is just a basic guide to what I use. I am not an expert by any means. 🙂

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Supplies for using joint compound

If you are spackling a large area, I recommend getting a 4.5 gallon bucket. You can pick this up for around $13 at your local hardware store.

Take your putty knife and scoop the joint compound into your trowel. Add the smallest amount of water and mix it. You want to create a consistency that is not too watered down but not to stiff either. Spread the compound on the problem areas with the putty knife. Smaller putty knifes can be used for small areas and bigger ones for larger areas. This is the part in the process that you will just have to play around with and find a technique that works for you. You need to apply the compound and then scrape off the excess but be careful that you don’t remove too much.

Once you get the compound on the walls and looking pretty smooth, you’ll need to wait for it to dry. Once the compound is dry, you will use a hand sander to smooth out the compound. Run your hand along the areas. If you feel rough spots or raised areas, you will need to keep sanding. If this is left untreated it will be noticeable when you paint. You may have to repeat the first two step several times before getting to a point where you are satisfied with the results.

Once you have applied the compound and sanded, you have to prime the areas before painting. BUT if you buy paint with primer already in it then you can skip the priming. I highly recommend buying the paint with the primer. 😉

If you are mudding a new wall or large area and you don’t want the headache of smoothing the compound out, you can go for a textured look. Smoothing out walls can get tedious and unless you are bringing some sort of expertise to the table, it can get pretty overwhelming fairly quickly.

There are a lot of different techniques to creating designs with joint compound. Here is one technique that I have used.

Apply the joint compound with a putty knife. You don’t have to be very neat about this. Just make sure the compound is completely spread out over the desired area. Wait about 7 to 10 minutes for the mud to start drying then take a textured paint roller and go over the mud. It will create a texture on the wall. You can stop there or then take your putty knife and run it along the areas in a straight line, from top to bottom. This will remove some of the excess and create a pretty neat look.

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Here is an example of my half bathroom walls. I completed this look by using a textured roller and then removing some of the excess with a putty knife like I mentioned above. I am pretty pleased with the results. 

You Tube is a great source for seeing visuals of people setting these techniques into motion. That is where I got the idea to add texture to my walls so I highly recommend watching some videos.


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