How To Plaster A Ceiling for beginners (AVOID Doing This!)

One of the many ways of making a room or venue look neat and tidy is by plastering the ceiling. Most often, plastering the ceiling hides wires and any other items that would not make a room look neat, like pipes and tubes for your plumbing system. However, plastering a ceiling is not easy, so how do you plaster a ceiling?

You will need an extensive range of tools like a trowel and items like wall plaster to plaster a ceiling. Plastering a ceiling is not easy and can be very quickly done incorrectly. Therefore, you must take many precautions before a ceiling gets plastered.


Plastering a ceiling (or anything for that matter) for the first time can be extremely daunting. Still, luckily you can do it in 8 very elementary steps that will inform you accurately how to plaster a ceiling. So get your protective goggles on and read how to plaster a ceiling here.

What You Will Need To Plaster A Ceiling:

– A ladder.

– A hawk and trowel.

– A putty knife and a utility knife.

– Screwdrivers and a hammer.

– Drop cloths and protective covering for your furniture.

– Wall plaster and a mixing bucket.

– Protective eyewear and gloves.

– Face/dust mask (optional but recommended).

– Stirring stick.

– A ceiling.

1. Get Your Work Space Ready

Logically speaking, pasting liquid substances on a surface that is upside down will be messy. Plastering a ceiling without making any mess below the ceiling is considered almost impossible. This is why someone must prepare the space they will work in before they start plastering away and messing everywhere.

First off, it is recommended that you take any furniture or items you do not wish to get plaster mix on, out of the room before you start. If this is not possible, you should cover your furniture with any sheet that will protect the furniture, and you do not mind getting dirty.

Next up, you should put drop cloths on the floor under your workspace. It is not easy to clean off plaster mix, so putting down drop cloths across the floor is your safest bet. You should also wear clothes that you do not mind getting a little dirty and protective clothing and eyewear.

2. Get The Ceiling Ready To Plaster

Now that you have managed to keep the room as safe as possible from any unwanted plaster sneak-attacks, it is time to get the ceiling ready. Plastering a ceiling is done to look neat and has one solid layer of plaster, so you must get any obstacles out of your way before you go plaster everything before it is too late.

You do not want to plaster over any bumps or ripping plaster put on the ceiling previously. This will make the ceiling look uneven and ruin the ‘smoothness’ you are looking for. Instead, if any bumps or plaster is peeling off, you should take sandpaper or a sanding block and sand those parts down to get the ceiling as smooth as possible before you start plastering.

3. Get The Plaster All Mixed Up

Before you can apply plaster, it needs to be mixed and prepared. This preparation allows the plaster to get to a state that will stick to the ceiling and be as smooth as possible for as long as possible. You will need more than one bucket for this process.

Mixing the plaster can be one of the easiest things to get incorrect during the entire plastering process. Generally, the rule is to insert half your pack of plaster into the bucket. You should then pour water into the bucket so that the composition of plaster and water inside the bucket is roughly 50/50.

After this, it is time to mix the plaster. You can do this with an electric drill with a mixing tool or any wooden stick. Mix and add water or plaster until you have the right consistency. There is no defined consistency, but luckily there is a lot of leeway each way that will still work. Your wooden stick should be able to stand on its own in the bucket.

4. Apply The First Coat

The first coat of plaster is known as the ‘skim coat’ and is a thin and consistent layer of plaster that smoothens the ceiling for the rest of the plastering. Scoop a large amount of plaster on our hawk and then a little bit from your hawk onto your trowel. 

Begin at the edge of the wall and slowly plaster consistent lines on the ceiling with relatively the same thickness. While doing this, try smoothening out the lines made by the trowel as much as possible.

5. Apply The Secondary Coat

The first coat dries up relatively quickly due to how thick the plaster is. This means that you can get started on the second very soon after you have finished the first coat. The first coat should be around 2mm thick around the ceiling, and the second coat should be the same thickness. Therefore, you should be left with a smooth 4/5mm of plaster on the ceiling at this point.

6. Complete A Process Called ‘Troweling Up’

Trowelling up is smoothening the plaster once you have applied it all. Once you have cleaned all your tools, look at the ceiling, and look for any blemishes like bumps or lines from the trowel. Then, work the trowel along the ceiling to smooth out any imperfections before the plaster gets too solid to fix.

7. Finish The Troweling Process Altogether

After smoothening out any blemishes as much as possible, now it is time to make the plaster look even prettier. Professionals have been known to put water on a paintbrush and flick the water onto the ceiling. Then they run the trowel all along the ceiling, making the ceiling even smoother but giving it a luminous finish at the same time. 

8. Admire Your Work

Once you have done the final trowel, you can take a step back and admire the results of the hard work you have put in. You now have a smooth and shining plastered ceiling in no time. It is also time to clean up by washing all your tools and packing them away. You can then lift the drop sheets and remove any protective tape around the room and the furniture covers. You have now completed plastering your ceiling.


Plastering a ceiling is not easy, but there is no reason to make it any harder than it should be. These steps mentioned above are the only steps you need to follow to have a perfect looking ceiling.

Visual assistance is also called for. It can be beneficial to watch videos on how to plaster a ceiling or watch videos that focus solely on each step mentioned above. Once you have done this, you will have a beautiful looking ceiling and a neat room.