How to trowel over joints

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How to trowel over joints

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Project Overview

Learn how to trowel over plasterboard joints. You’ll learn how to fix imperfections in your plaster and how to use both easy tape and paper tape on your joints. We’ll also show you how to apply the base coat and top coat of plaster to your joints. 
Continue to step-by-step instructions
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A simple tip for troweling a join

When troweling a join make sure the trowel edge is always in contact with the wall and the opposite edge is at least 10mm off the wall. That way you avoid scraping any of the plaster you’ve already done.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Cut out the imperfections in your plasterboard
2 Fill in your holes with base coat
3 How to use easy tape on your joins
4 How to use paper tape on your joins
5 Apply a second layer of base coats
6 Apply the top coat to finish
  • Step 1. Cut out the imperfections in your plasterboard

    First you need to cut out any imperfections in the plasterboard. It’s a good idea to get rid of these as they can show through your paper tape. Use a sharp utility knife to cut out the imperfections. 

  • Step 2. Fill in your holes with base coat

    Mix up some base coat in your bucket. Make sure you follow the instructions on the back of the packet and mix it to a toothpaste consistency. Use your 4 inch scraper to mix it together and then pre-fill the joins with plaster. When these are dry you are ready to apply your tape.
  • Step 3. How to use easy tape on your joins

    Easy tape has an adhesive on the back, which makes it easy to apply over your joins. As you run the tape along the join, use the scraper to push it on. Now apply a layer of base coat to the join over the tape. Avoid leaving any large edges of plaster or clumps on the wall to make the next coat easier to apply. Then just leave the base coat to dry.

  • Step 4. How to use paper tape on your joins

    Paper tape is another option to cover your joins that is stronger than easy tape. When you use paper tape, start by applying a layer of base coat in the join. Then run the paper tape along the join over your base coat. Use a scraper to push it onto the wall. Cover the tape with another layer of base coat and leave it to dry.

  • Step 5. Apply a second layer of base coats

    Start by scraping back the joins with your scraper to prepare the surface. Place a generous amount on your hawk and with a wide trowel apply second layer of base coat. Use your scraper to tidy up your join and scrape away any excess base coat.  

  • Step 6. Apply the top coat to finish

    Once your base coat is dry, lightly sand back the surface for the top coat. Apply a layer of top coat using a hawk, wide trowel and scraper. Once the final coat is dry you can sand it back ready for painting. 

Tools and Materials


  • Base Coat
  • Bucket
  • Plasterers hawk
  • Safety gear
  • Scrapers
  • Trowels
  • Utility knife
  • Water


  • Tape - easy tape or paper tape
  • Top Coat

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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