How to Finish Drywall for Beginners

Hey Ya’ll!! Today, we are talking about drywall. In the diy community you will find those that love it and probably more of those who hate it. Why? Well, to make it look good requires a lot of practice. Finishing drywall involves several steps to make the surface smooth and ready for painting and wallpapering. Don’t let this scare you off, though. Once you get the hang of it, drywalling can be very rewarding. Here are steps to take your drywall beginnings to a professional level.


Click the picture for the links to all the supplies.

drywall for beginners-Step One

The first step is to apply joint compound. I like to use THIS kind. Spread a THIN layer of compound over the entire surface of drywall. Don’t forget to include the joints between the sheets, and the screws used to attach the drywall to the studs. I use a six inch taping knife for this step and work up in inches for each layer. Applying the compound in an X motion over the screw, helps to decrease dimpling on the screw head.

drywall for beginners-Step two

Next, it’s time to tape the joints. I like to take my tape and wet it first. It’s not necessary, but it seems to work better for me and allows for an easier application. Cover the joint compound with paper or fiberglass mesh drywall tape to reinforce the joints and help prevent cracking. Smooth the tape out and allow it to dry.

drywall for beginners-Step three

Now, it’s time to apply a second coat. Once the first coat of joint compound has dried a second, slightly thicker coat. Use a wider taping knife for this coat, and spread the compound to overlap the edges of the first coat.

drywall for beginners-Step four

It’s time for the messy part, sanding. Sand the surface of the drywall with a sanding sponge or sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges or bumps. Vacuum up the dust and wipe the surface clean. Sometimes, I like too wet sand. I use a large wet sponge and smooth rough edges down, being carful not to wipe away too much of the mud. This is less messy, but requires for time because you have to let it dry once again before applying another layer.

drywall for beginners-Step five

Then, apply the final, thin coat of joint compound to the surface, including the joints and screws. For the final coat I use a ten or twelve inch taping knife. Once this layer is dry, sand as necessary.

drywall for beginners-Step six

Finally, prime the surface with a quality primer and then paint or wall cover as desired. Here’s a tip, when you have fresh drywall you always want to prime before painting. This will help to reduce flashing on your walls when you paint. Flashing causes the dry paint to look heavier in one area, but not others. After all your hard work you would not want your finished product to look uneven. So, always prime!

Those are the basics for learning how to drywall. Remember to follow all safety precautions and manufacturer’s instructions for any products you use, and take your time for best results. I hope this helps you in your next project. If you use these steps or have something that works for you, let me know in the comments below. I love hearing from all of you!!

Wishing you the best, Annice

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