How to Create Popcorn Ceiling Texture

popcorn texture ceiling
  • 48-72 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 60-170
What You'll Need
Warm soapy water solution
Sponge and/or lint-free cloth
Step Ladder
Texturing spray gun
Paint Stirring Stick
Scrap drywall
Latex Ceiling Paint (optional)
Textured Ceiling Mix
Respirator mask
Safety glasses

Popcorn ceilings are also known as acoustic ceilings. It was a very popular material for ceilings of homes between the 1960s all the way through the 1980s. Its popularity rose because it is cheaper and easier than paint to apply and maintain. It hides ceiling imperfections with ease and covers stained, dirty ceilings.

Popcorn ceilings are sprayed with a Styrofoam-like material that looks like cottage cheese, and they are durable. While the process is time-consuming, it is relatively easy to apply by hand. Just follow these simple steps to install a popcorn ceiling in your home.

Step 1 - Prep Your Ceiling

Take a bucket and fill it with a warm soapy water. Submerge your sponge or cloth in the soapy water. Standing on a step ladder, thoroughly clean your ceiling to remove excess grime and dirt.

Step 2 - Prep Your Room

Remove all furniture from the room. If there is anything valuable or important, but too heavy to move, be sure to cover it with drop cloths to protect it from damage. You want to protect your floors as well, so make sure to apply drop cloths to the bare portions of the floors as well.

Step 3 - Prime Surface

Using a stain-blocking primer from any home improvement store, prime the surface of your ceiling. It usually will only require one coat of primer for an adequate covering. Be sure to allow the primer to dry for 24 hours before moving on to the next step.

Step 4 - Apply Popcorn Ceiling

Before you begin, open your windows to provide adequate ventilation in the room while you work. Put on a face mask and safety glasses while you're at it to keep particles out of your mouth or eyes. Then, in a large bucket, mix a standard 13-pound bag of popcorn ceiling spray with approximately 2-gallons of water. The mixture should look like a soupy or cottage cheese-like consistency.

If the mix consistency is too thin, it will not adhere correctly and will crack instead. If there are particles of popcorn ceiling floating to the top in a separated manner, try stirring the mixture again. If this still does not provide the cottage cheese-like consistency, add additional powder until the desired consistency is reached.

Fill the texturing gun with the ceiling spray mixture. Test your spray techniques on a scrap piece of drywall. Start to spray your ceiling in a smooth back and forward motion to achieve an evenly laid pattern. Using a trowel, spread the popcorn mixture to the edges of your ceiling. Clean up any additional overspray.

Step 5 - Clean Your Equipment

Clean the equipment and tools. Clean your texturing gun with warm water first. Add a little paint solvent through the water solution to remove any excess paint off from the texturing gun. Put everything back in a dry location.

Step 6 - Paint the Ceiling

If desired, you can apply a finish coat of interior latex paint to your ceiling after 24 hours of drying time.