This is one for DIY enthusiasts who need a guide to mixing and applying plaster to a wall. The art is in getting the mix right, and keeping a sharp eye on its wetness/tackiness so you’re applying the right pressure and wetness consistency at the right time. Here’s a guide.


Step 1 – Mix PVA and water 2:1. A top tip is to use an old 4L plastic milk bottle so you can see your measurements, and then you can add to the mix as required.

Step 2 – Add the PVA mixture to a bucket and use a paint roller to apply to the wall, ensuring it’s not applied too thickly. Use a paint brush to get into any deeper holes the roller won’t reach.

Step 3 – Mix the plaster. Following the instructions on the plaster packet, mix the water to the plaster in a bucket until you get a nice velvety consistency. Use a trowel to make sure the mixture on the sides of the bucket is incorporated. Mix until it begins to stick to the trowel, then using a mixing paddle, finish the mix.

Step 4 – With a bucket of water, wet down your tools – your trowel and your hawk, or hawker.  Scoop some plaster and place on your hawker. Partially scoop plaster onto the trowel edge, and that edge should be the starting point to apply, whether applying upwards or downwards. Use a corner trowel for a smooth finish on corners and awkward angles, and a skirting trowel for the floor finish. Continue until whole wall is covered.

Step 5 – Flattening out is the process of removing the lines. You use a clean trowel to run over the entire wall systematically, removing any lines. The trowel should be completely flat and apply moderate pressure.

Step 6 – Mix a second coat of plaster, slightly thinner than the first coat, and apply as per the first coat.

Step 7 – Polishing off or floating. This is where you’ll smooth the surface, the best time to do it is when the wall is slightly tacky – use your best judgement on this as you don’t want to add more water to a wall that is still wet. Once happy with the consistency, lightly wet the trowel, then using the edge / slight angle, apply pressure running the trowel over the wall. You can also use a plastering float for this part. This will continue to smooth the surface and any slight dips or holes will get filled. Any tricky areas, add a little more water.

Step 8 – The surface should be nice and polished, but if you find the next day any areas don’t look as polished, run a clean trowel over it one more time until nice and shiny.