How To Plaster A Wall Yourself (DIY) – Tips by Honest Painters

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Do you want to tackle a plastering job yourself? While it may look like a daunting task, don’t worry – it isn’t! With the right tools and knowledge of techniques, anyone can learn how to plaster a wall. In this blog post, our team of professional house painters in Auckland at Honest Painters is giving away all of our best DIY tips on how to successfully complete an amateur plastering job without any hassle or hard work. Whether you are going for a smooth surface or just need something patched up quickly and simply, if you follow these steps carefully, then even first-timers will be able to do it!

Items Required For DIY Plastering A Wall

House plastering is a great DIY project that can help you improve the aesthetics and durability of your walls. However, before you dive into the project, it is important to prepare yourself with the necessary tools and materials. In this section, our wall plasterers will give you a list of items required for DIY plastering a wall.

Plaster– The most important item for plastering a wall is, of course, the wall plaster itself. You can find many types of plaster, including premixed and powdered options. It is important to choose the right type of plaster for walls depending on the surface you will be plastering.

Mixing container and mixing drill attachment– To mix the plaster, you need a mixing container and a mixing drill attachment. Using a drill attachment will make the mixing easier and more efficient.

Plaster trowel and finishing trowel– You will need a plaster trowel to apply the plaster and a finishing trowel to smooth it out once it is applied.

Sandpaper and sanding block– After the plaster has dried, you will need sandpaper and a sanding block to smooth out any rough spots and create a level surface.

Protective gear– Plastering can be messy, so it is important to wear protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and a mask to avoid contact with the plaster and dust.

Cleaning supplies– You will need cleaning supplies such as a bucket, sponge, and water to clean up any spills or messes.

By having these items on hand, you will be well-prepared to tackle your DIY plastering project with confidence and ease. Remember to read the instructions and safety precautions on all products before using them.

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How To Plaster A Wall Like a Pro

Preparing the Surface

Before starting to plaster, it is essential first to ensure that the surface is well-prepared. You must remove any debris, dust, or loose paint from the surface. You can use a sanding block to smooth any rough patches in the wall. It is necessary to clean the wall thoroughly, ensuring all the debris is removed, so your plaster will adhere. Do this with a wire brush, wiping down with a damp cloth to finish. Remember to allow enough time for the wall to dry completely.

Mixing The Plaster

The next step is to mix the plaster correctly. It’s important to use the right amount of water for the perfect consistency. There are two types of plaster to choose from: premixed or dry mix. Premixed plaster is convenient, and it saves some time. However, dry-mix gives you more flexibility in terms of getting a perfect consistency and working with a specific or uneven surface. Remember not to mix too much plaster, as it may dry out before you finish.


When applying the plaster to the wall, take a small amount at a time. Do not over-apply the plaster, as it will crack and fall off. For instance, when it comes to smoothing out the plastered wall surface, a plasterer will tackle a small area of the wall, say a meter at a time, and use a damp scraper and a steady hand to create a perfectly smooth surface. Repeating the action in a consistent and smooth motion across the entire wall.

Mastering the art of plastering a wall requires patience, attention to detail, and a steady hand. Proper preparation, mixing plaster correctly, and applying it with precision is essential for creating perfectly plastered walls as a professional plasterer does.

How To Install A Plasterboard- Step by Step

Installing a plasterboard is a crucial step in plastering a wall. It is important to install it properly to ensure a smooth and professional finish. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to install a plasterboard successfully.

Step 1: Measure and Cut the Plasterboard

The first step is to measure the dimensions of the wall and then cut the plasterboard according to those measurements. It’s essential to use a sharp utility knife or saw when cutting the plasterboard to avoid any damage.

Step 2: Position the Plasterboard

Position the plasterboard against the wall and ensure it is level before securing it in place. It’s advisable to use screws with long shafts to secure the plasterboard firmly.

Step 3: Begin Fixing the Plasterboard

Start by fixing the plasterboard on the corners. Then, space out the screws by approximately 150mm along the horizontal edges and 300mm along the vertical edges.

Step 4: Secure the Plasterboard

After positioning the plasterboard, secure it in place by fastening it to the timber framing. Use plasterboard adhesive to seal any gaps between the boards.

Step 5: Tape the Joints

The next step is to tape the joints. Apply a coat of plasterboard jointing compound using a plasterer’s trowel to the joints and then embed the tape into the wet compound. Smooth out any wrinkles to avoid any bumps.

Step 6: Sand the Surface

Once the compound dries, use sandpaper to smooth out any bumps. Then, apply a second coat of plaster and repeat the sanding process when it dries.

Undercoating The Plaster To The Wall

Before plastering your wall, you need to prepare and undercoat it. This will ensure a smooth and stable surface for the plaster to adhere to, preventing hairline cracks and other imperfections from appearing on your newly plastered wall.

The first step is to ensure the wall is clean and free of debris, dust, and loose plaster. Once the wall is cleaned, apply a coat of PVA adhesive solution to the wall. This will create a tacky surface for the plaster to grip onto, preventing it from slipping and sliding during application.

Next, apply a coat of undercoat plaster to the wall. Use a trowel to spread it evenly, ensuring there are no gaps or bumps. Once the undercoat plaster is dry, sand the surface lightly to create a smooth, level surface.

Ensure that the undercoat plaster has properly dried before proceeding with the next coat of plaster. A well-applied undercoat will provide a strong, stable base for the final plaster coat, resulting in a pristine, finished product.

Scratching the Wall For Second Coat

Scratching the wall is the second step you need to take before applying a second coat of plaster. It involves creating a rough texture on the surface of the first layer of plaster, which provides a perfect and strong base for the second coat to adhere to. Scratching ensures that the second coat forms a strong bond with the first coat and prevents the plaster from cracking or flaking away.

To scratch the wall, use a scratching tool to create deep, vertical lines about 5mm apart across the surface of the first layer of plaster. The lines should be about 2-3mm deep and run diagonally across the wall. Make sure you keep the lines straight and the depth even to create an even surface for the second layer.

A wire brush is an excellent and cost-effective option for scratching the wall. Alternatively, you can use a scratch comb if you want to achieve more depth than a wire brush can provide. Once the surface has been scratched, clean it with a damp sponge or cloth to remove any loose debris or dust that may affect the bond between the layers.

Second Coat of Plastering The Wall

After scratching the wall, it’s time to apply the second coat of plaster. This coat provides the finishing touch that smoothes out any roughness or imperfections left by the first layer. You want to use the right technique and tools for the second coat to achieve perfection on your wall.
For the second coat, mix fresh plaster with water to create a smooth and workable consistency. Once the second layer of plaster is applied, use a steel trowel to spread it evenly and smoothly across the surface. Start at the top of the wall and work downwards, using long, even strokes.
Keep the layer thin and avoid building up the plaster too thickly. It can lead to cracking, flaking or sagging, compromising the overall quality of the wall. Finally, make sure the surface is even and smooth, then leave it to dry for about an hour before smoothing out any blemishes with a damp sponge.

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Adding The Final Touches

Once you have successfully plastered a wall, the next step is to add the final touches to achieve a flawless finish. Begin by using sandpaper (300-grit) to smooth any rough edges or bumps on the surface. Next, apply a mist coat, which is basically a diluted layer of emulsion paint, to prime the plastered surface. The mist coat will not only seal the surface but will also provide better adhesion for the final paint layer. Finally, apply at least two coats of emulsion paint using a roller or brush. Ensure that each coat is completely dry before applying the next one. This will give the wall a smooth and even finish.


Overall, plastering a wall is relatively easy to do. However, it does require time and patience. By following the steps and the cost guide to plastering in New Zealand from our experts, you can save yourself some money and get a quality job done. Moreover, it will be an accomplishment that you can be proud of for years to come. Keep in mind that if cracks form on the plastered surface, you should repair them immediately to ensure that the wall remains structurally sound. Most importantly, though, safety should always be your number one priority when tackling any home improvement project. Wear protective clothing and eye protection when mixing and applying the plaster. Finally, practice makes perfect – if at first, you don’t succeed, don’t be afraid to try again. With enough determination and attention to detail, you can turn any plastering job into a memorable experience that you are confident in showing off!

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