You don't have to be Michelangelo to have a go at plastering! If you're a beginner, start with a small area then build up to a larger one. The trick with plastering is to clean as you go as dry plaster is really hard to clean up and will affect your finish if it dries on your tools. Read on to find out how to plaster a wall.

Level of difficulty     Level 2: Intermediate

What you need

  • Plasterer's trowel
  • Wooden batten
  • Spot board
  • Deviling float
  • Hawk
  • Bucket
  • Mixing stick
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Plaster
  • Water

The steps to follow

1. First, mix the undercoat plaster:
i) Mix an equal amount of water and plaster. Stir with a stick.
ii) Tip the plaster onto a board and knead the mixture with your trowel. Sprinkle more plaster into the mixture if it's too thin.
iii) Mix the undercoat plaster to a thick consistency and measure out two buckets to begin with.

2. Before you start plastering, nail battens vertically, 60 cm (2 ft) apart from each other. These battens will act as guides to level the plaster.
3. Practice loading and unloading the plaster onto the hawk with a trowel.
4. Scoop off the plaster. Level the hawk and tip the plaster back onto it.
5. Apply the plaster onto the wall. Push the trowel upwards, steadily reducing the angle of the blade as the plaster is spread onto the wall, until it is parallel with the wall.
6. Press and squeeze the plaster against the wall. Try to get a 5mm coating.
7. Quickly scoop off the practice layer, and begin applying the floating coat in strips, from the bottom right hand corner.
8. Use a batten, level the plaster to create an even surface. Slide the tool from the bottom of the area, to the top.
9. Scrape the whole floating coat with a devilling float (a wooden float with nails). This ensures that the next coat of plaster adheres properly.
10. Spread another layer of plaster from top to bottom.
11. With your trowel, smooth the surface using a wide sweeping motion.
12. Let the finishing coat dry and harden.
13. Dampen the blade of your trowel and sweep the surface again.
14. Remove the battens and fill the gaps with plaster.
15. Again, level the surface with the batten.
16.Smooth the entire area with your trowel.
17. Allow 24 hours for the plaster undercoat to dry. With gypsum plasters, you'll be able to apply a finishing coat as soon as the undercoat is dried.