View Full Version : Drywall compound and gesso

B e x i u s
01-07-2010, 04:26 AM
Hi everyone !

New to this Forum and to WC. Great site.

My first question is about mixing drywall compound with gesso to create texture paste
similar to modeling paste but at the fraction of the cost. Being both water base i dont
see any problem. Would this mixture crack after awhile ? I intend to mixte acrylic color
to it and after drying, oil glazing it.

thank you,

Cyndi L
01-07-2010, 09:06 AM
Welcome to the MM forum at WetCanvas :)

I'm not sure why you want to mix the compound with the gesso...can you just get the texture that you're looking for with the compound alone and then gesso over it when it dries? I don't see any problem with mixing them, but I'm just not sure why. Any mixture like this runs the risk of cracking if it's applied too thickly, but so does the compound alone. Build in layers and you should be alright.

I'd love to hear more about your experiments with these materials!

01-10-2010, 04:37 PM
I think Cyndi is right...using the compound, then priming, probably makes the most sense. You'll lose some of the priming quality of the gesso by mixing it with compound. But, it all depends on what you're doing and what you want the texture and the gesso to do for you.

On what substrate are you doing this? Drywall compound is very heavy and intended for rigid substrates. One of the advantages of using artist textural products is they have acrylic components that are flexible and don't have the cracking issues a drywall compound will have. There are also different weights of artist textural products.

There are drywall products that have more flexibility than traditional ones...it's added glue that gives them their increased flexibility. I've considered that type of product for texturing walls on which I do old world style plaster textures in cases where clients would not want to pay for higher priced plaster products. Have not actually tried them though.

B e x i u s
01-11-2010, 12:44 AM
Thank you both...

I was mostly seeking for a economic solution for texturising large substrates.
I presently use Liquitex modeling paste that i like a lot. But expensive for a large surface. I do all of my paintings on laminated Luan hollow core door panels wich i prime twice before i texture. In 8 years so far, never had a single crack or even the slightest sign of warping.

You mention added "Glue"...what kind of glue.
thanks again

01-11-2010, 01:53 AM
Thank you both...

I was mostly seeking for a economic solution for texturising large substrates.
I presently use Liquitex modeling paste that i like a lot. But expensive for a large surface. I do all of my paintings on laminated Luan hollow core door panels wich i prime twice before i texture. In 8 years so far, never had a single crack or even the slightest sign of warping.

You mention added "Glue"...what kind of glue.
thanks again

The product I was going to use was a wet product that required no water mixing and a glue in it rendered it more flexible. If you check with contractors, drywall experts, or any store selling drywall and plaster products, they should be able to tell you of a flexible brand. Drywall product is brittle and glue helps that. I've read that you can simply mix white school glue in your joint compound, but if you can purchase a ready to go product (which you likely can), the work is done for you.

One thing I've learned in mixed media and assemblage, is to ask the person who has expertise in the technique or the type of product I'm after. Drywall contractors know more about their products than artists, unless you get an artist that has already done the research for you....so call a drywall company for specific product, and also tell them how you want to work with compound in regard to primers, paints, glazes, etc.

I love Liquitex modeling paste too! But yes, it would get pricey on large substrates. :eek:

Hope that helps....drywallers have been great tech support for me at times!

Bright Eyes
01-11-2010, 11:45 AM
My husband and I own a drywall company. I wouldn't suggest using drywall mud for fine art. Even the not so brittle drywall mud is pretty brittle compared to artist grade pastes. Its also a lot more delicate to temperature and moisture changes in the air. Drywall mud is also only meant to last around 60 years. It is very possible that you could you is for your art and never have a single problem. Its just really not meant to keep consistent for a long time, or be moved around at all. If you do use it use hotmud. It comes in a bag of powder. Its a lot more sturdy.

Cyndi L
01-11-2010, 12:06 PM
Another less expensive alternative that might work for you is silicon caulk. It comes in big tubes and is somewhat flexible when dry. You can get it clear as well as white.

01-12-2010, 05:06 AM
Rather than use drywall compound, consider using acrylic medium mixed with marble dust or rotten stone. Both are neutral, viable options and give a great surface to work with. Available at an old fashioned hardware store and in large quantities if desired.

Marble dust is available through Dick Blick at 9.99 for four pounds.

Check here (http://www.dickblick.com/products/fredrix-powdered-marble-dust/).

01-13-2010, 01:49 AM
I use PolyInstafil by Lepage for my work. it's a lightweight spackling compound that has less shrinkage than drywall mud and has a very similar texture and consistency to lightweight modeling paste. It's available at big diy stores here in Canada. I gesso over it once it's dry. It sands well, bonds well to both panel and canvas and provides a texture that is for my purpose identical to the artist grade product at about one fifth the cost when bought in the 3.8 litre size.


B e x i u s
01-13-2010, 02:40 AM
That was actualy my next question ?

Making my own paste with marble dust and acrylic medium comparable to the one i presently use. I just taught their might be some sort of special additive not mentioned behind my jar that was making this product unique

I've been browsing your work.... great stuff, you master acrylics very well.
I'm slowly switching to acrylics but not entirely. I Like oil glazing.
I'm learning a lot from the experiments you do. You seem to be very
devoted to teaching and you do it well (pictures,explanations,links...etc)
Amazing work, Amazing art.

thanks a lot

loft artist
01-13-2010, 06:29 AM
UPVC Glue comes in Industrial size tubs from a pint to 5 gallon drums , this is a water based glue that can be added to plaster cement , and is flexible and waterproof when dried so ideal for outside , with many ART and craft uses .


01-13-2010, 03:56 PM
I have had success using lightweight spackling compound mixed with Liquidtex Light Weight Molding Paste and Gloss liquid medium. This make the spackling my flexable as it dries and reduces cracking. You will need to let it dry thoroughly before painting over it. You can add Acrylic paint to the the mixture but it tends to loose a lot of colour.

I hope this helps!


04-13-2010, 04:37 PM
Compound could be quick dry or standard:http://www.drywalltips.org/mudding.htm

It's designed for work at certin depths. I wouldn't try this!

04-13-2010, 06:25 PM
If you want a cheap gesso to create texture this is my recipe (apologies to those who have heard it before). For every three or so measures of cheap flat white acrylic interior house paint add one measure of PVA glue and one measure of low grade linseed oil. Then add as much wall crack filling stuff to get the desired thickness. Work it until the lumps are smoothed out and hey presto its ready to use. All the ingrediants can be bought cheaply in large amounts. I mix it straight on the canvas. It does not crack unless very thick. You can create cracking by accelerating the drying if that's the effect you want. If you want colour you could get the paint tinted I suppose - never tried it.

04-14-2010, 12:30 AM
Hi All!
I'm also new to the format, I'm mostly a landscape painter but have recently decided to try a bit of mixed media with some textures surfaces, what is the ideal material to use on canvas? I'm making another oil run to Dick Blicks soon so might as well tack on some texture as well.

Thanks for any info tossed this way,

AZ Traveler
04-25-2010, 07:09 PM
We used to use Durabond 90. It's a small bag that you mix with water. The "90" is the approximate time (in seconds) that it will set and you can lay it on fairly heavy. Not sure about Canada, but in the US, check for it at a builder's supply; doubtful HD or Lowe's would carry it.

RE drywall mud; what you want to use is "All Purpose" which has glue and other emulsions -- not Topping. As with a lot of other materials, it is always best to do thin coats instead of just one heavy coat. Experiment.

We did a entry way and adjacent areas leading into the lounge at a Hilton Resort in a large layered palm frond design using a margin trowel and Durabound 90. The texture was fairly heavy but had no noticeable cracks or sagging. The finished work - after being painted - was in one of the trade magazines.

Best wishes, and good luck with your project, ...

11-02-2010, 02:23 PM
The textural surface plays one of key role in my painting.
I mix drywall compound, gesso and little bit of modeling paste. I apply it on canvas as a first layer. If it's necessary I add another thin layer of modeling paste to create fine textural details, then I do color layers.

08-02-2011, 06:01 PM
This is extremely helpful, thanks! I'm looking to do something similar.

08-02-2011, 06:02 PM
I'm actually trying to so a cave-like texture on canvas. Any ideas for how I'd go about this?

01-22-2013, 06:07 PM
There is a product at HD called Flexal. It works great be sure to ventilate the room.

01-31-2013, 06:53 PM
I use industrial plaster. I buy it from a local ceramist store. It is basically easy to carve but is also excellent at reproducing other surfaces, textures. It does take an investment to learn how to manipulate it. it has a good absorptive rate for watercolor use

02-16-2013, 08:44 AM
I use a mixture of gesso and Redi-Filler an all purpose drywall filler for many of my paintings on wood. 3-1 part redi-filler to gesso. I learned this from an art teacher. After, it's completely dry, I sand it down, apply a layer of matte medium, then ready to paint.
It's never cracked on me;-)