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How to Artex a ceiling

Updated April 17, 2017

Artexed ceilings, with their elaborate swirls and patterns, were a common sight in UK houses in the 1970s and early 1980s. Their popularity has since receded and most homeowners prefer smooth ceilings without the decorative effects. However, the techniques still apply and using textured coatings, such as Artex, remain an effective method of concealing damaged ceilings.

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  1. Put on gloves and a face mask. Mix water with Artex powder to form a stiff paste. The mixture should have the consistency of porridge. Use a whisk or paddle attachment on an electric drill to speed up the process if you have a large room to cover.

  2. Apply the mixture to an Artex roller or large brush and apply to your ceiling. Spread over a small area of about 1 square metre. Make sure you know what sort of decorative pattern you want to achieve as this will determine how thick you need to apply the plaster.

  3. Create your pattern in your square by using a stippling brush and swirling it around. Other objects to try include a trowel and even your fingers. Practice your pattern beforehand and experiment with different designs.

  4. Repeat this plaster/pattern process in square metres across the entire ceiling. Try to achieve a consistent effect throughout and work fast before the mixture hardens.

  5. Tip

    Mark up the ceiling with chalk or pen to create a grid so that it is easier to fill in your pattern. Apply a sealer before applying the Artex if you have a problem ceiling that is porous. Smooth the Artex properly over the ceiling like paint if your aim is to conceal a damaged ceiling, rather than create a textured effect.


    Wear overalls and safety glasses to protect yourself. Applying Artex with high-quality decorative effects takes skill and experience so consider hiring a professional plasterer. Some decorative designs, such as comb patterns, are difficult for amateur plasterers, so do not be too ambitious. Artex ceilings and walls have largely fallen out of favour and could damage the resale value of your house.

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Things You'll Need

  • Artex
  • Roller
  • Stippling brush

About the Author

Based on the south coast of the U.K., Sally Nash has been writing since 1988. Her articles have appeared in everything from "Hairdressers Journal" to "Optician." She has also been published in national newspapers such as the "Financial Times." Nash holds a Master of Arts in creative writing from Manchester Metropolitan University.

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