Handy tips for DIY plastering your walls


A lot of Kiwis consider plastering the walls by themselves. They do so to save costs, especially if the area to be plastered is small enough. If you are one of them, you need to know the right way to do it. When starting out, you need all the information you can get on plastering the walls. This article will serve the purpose of educating all potential DIY plasterers on how to plaster the wall.  

What will you need?

Following are the things you need for your DIY plastering project: 

  • Mixer
  • Paintbrush
  • Finishing trowel
  • Hand or hawk board
  • Bucket
  • Scraper
  • Bucket trowel
  • Spot board
  • Retractable knife
  • Pencil
  • Rasp
  • Pad saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight edge
  • Suitable plasterboard

How can you do DIY plastering?

Traditionally, walls are plastered through something known as wet plastering. However, the safest way for DIY-ers to proceed would be to use plasterboard. You can easily install this board on a wall using screws and then finish it off with an undercoat and second coats. This can give the same effect as traditional plastering without the hassle. 

A point to remember here is that plastering is a craft that requires practice to perfect. Therefore, be ready to see the obvious differences between DIY plastering and professional work. If you are plastering the wall to sell the house later, it is advisable to get professional work done as opposed to DIY-ing it. 

That said, here is some plastering work that an experienced DIY-er can do: 

  • Using screws and nails to attach plasterboard onto the stud wall
  • Skimming and re-skimming plasterboard and room
  • Installing plasterboard on solid walls using adhesive

Steps to install a plasterboard

Follow these steps to successfully install the plasterboard: 

Step 1: Measure the board and ensure it is 12 mm less than ceiling-to-height

Step 2: Mark the cutting line on the ivory side and cut along using a craft knife and straight edge

Step 3: Flip and fold the board over and snap it. Cut through the paper backing using the craft knife.

Step 4: At the foot of the board, wedge a bolster chisel and slide underneath a wood off-cut, With your foot, push the board against the ceiling, keeping the ivory side outwards. 

Step 5: With 32mm screws, fix the plasterboard, placing screws every 150 mm and leaving 15 mm space before the edges. 

Step 6: For a smooth finish, finish off the joints with plasterboard tape. 

Applying the coats

  • Applying the undercoat 

Take two trowels of mixed plaster onto the hawk and spread it on the wall evenly. Make sure to spread it thinly and maintain a side-to-side motion for a smooth finish. Once you have achieved the smooth finish, scrape off the excess with the trowel and wait for 20 minutes for the plaster to dry. 

  • Scraping

Once the plaster is dry, scratch onto the plastered surface. This is done to ensure the second coat adheres to the surface properly. For this, you can use a tool called devilling float or a good old kitchen fork. 

  • Applying second coat 

The second coat plaster mix must be of a thinner consistency than the first one. Therefore, add more water to the mix. Being the final coat, aim to plaster a thin layer of 2 mm. Once done, leave it dry.


Plastering in Auckland is something most Kiwis prefer doing by themselves to save costs. However, it is always safe to call in a professional, especially if your room requires the traditional plastering method. That said, you can do an effective job with just plasterboard, undercoat, and second coat. Whichever you choose, make sure to follow the right steps!


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