How to Apply Wall Texture with a Sponge

Create the look of wall texture with a simple tool -- a sea sponge.

Wall texture can be painted a variety of colors.Wall texture can be painted a variety of colors.
Though you may need more than one sponge for large projects, the faux finish technique takes just a few steps. Furniture, ceilings, interior columns and other surfaces are places where texture can be applied. The look complements both old- world and contemporary interior design. Focus on an entire room, or simply add texture to just one accent wall. Once the wall texture dries, paint any color using latex paint. Remember, the wall texture is permanent and cannot be removed.

Wipe down the wall, baseboards and adjoining surfaces with a damp terry towel to remove dirt. Move all furniture and accessories out of the room or into the center of the room. Ensure there is a 4-foot walkway between the wall surface and any furniture. Drape plastic tarps over all furniture and accessories remaining in the room. Put drop cloths over floor. Remove all outlet covers using a screwdriver and place removed covers in a plastic bag for safekeeping.

Add 2-inch painter's tape to all adjoining surfaces. Smooth down well with a putty knife. Flattening the tape ensures paint or plaster will not leak underneath the tape. Choose a tape that is smooth and does not have crinkles, similar to crepe paper. This type of painter's tape is less likely to leak.

Roll on a bonding primer to the surface to be textured. Use a medium nap roller to apply the primer quickly. Paint the perimeter of the wall, near the ceiling and floor lines, with an angled paintbrush. Allow primer to dry about 4 hours, or according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Attach a squirrel mixer to a handheld drill. Open a 5-gallon bucket of lightweight joint compound. Whip the plaster until it is even. Add a small amount of distilled water to the plaster if it is dry or crumbly.

Dip the sea sponge into the joint compound and then pounce the plaster onto the wall. Apply and add texture by continuing to dab the plaster onto the wall. Each person's texture is unique and there is not one correct way to add the texture to the wall. Create a texture you find pleasing to the eye and continue the same technique over the entire wall's surface. Allow to dry.

Paint the wall texture with latex paint. Dark colors may require more than one layer of paint. Allow paint to dry for about 24 hours. Remove tape by gently pulling. If paint is stuck to the surface use a razor blade to remove any plaster from the tape and heat with a hair dryer. The tape should then lift. Clear all drop cloths and plastic tarps from the floor and replace all outlet covers, furniture and accessories.

Things You Will Need

  • Terry towel
  • Drop cloths
  • Plastic tarp
  • Screwdriver
  • Plastic bag or bucket
  • 2-inch painter's tape
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Bonding primer
  • Medium nap roller
  • Angled paintbrush
  • Squirrel mixer
  • Hand drill
  • Lightweight joint compound
  • Sea sponges
  • Latex paint
  • Razor blade
  • Hair dryer


  • Rinse the sponge as needed. Use an empty 5-gallon bucket and fill with water to clean the sponge and all tools the plaster has touched. Once the plaster has dried, it is difficult to remove.
  • The sponge technique will leave a light texture on the wall. For a heavier faux stone texture, use a trowel.


  • Always wear gloves and protective eyewear if necessary. Keep windows open and work in a well-ventilated area.

About the Author

Julie Hampton has worked as a professional freelance writer since 1999 for various newspapers and websites including "The Florida Sun" and "Pensacola News Journal." She served in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and nurse for over six years and recently worked as the Community Relations Director for a health center. Hampton studied journalism and communications at the University of West Florida.