How to Artex a Wall or Ceiling

By Kim
Last updated 22nd December 2020 - Reading time: 8 mins

To update your walls or ceiling, you may want to apply new Artex in order to refresh and rejuvenate your home. This guide offers everything you need to know about how to Artex a wall or ceiling. It includes the tools required and the materials needed, while also offering a step-by-step guide on how to Artex a wall or ceiling yourself.


What Tools Do I Need to Artex a Wall or Ceiling?

There are several tools required to ensure that Artex is applied to walls or a ceiling correctly. Below is a list of the tools that you will need to Artex a ceiling or wall.

  • Trowel or float
  • Texturing brush/Artex comb
  • Paintbrush
  • Clean bucket
  • Mixing tool

What Safety Equipment Do I Need to Artex a Wall or Ceiling?

Artex can be a dangerous substance, especially when it comes in powder form, as there is the risk of it containing asbestos, which may be a possibility if removing old Artex. If this is the case, you need to be extremely careful when removing it and may wish to hire a professional for extra safety.

Asbestos is a hazardous chemical which can actually cause ill-health if it is inhaled, which is a risk when removing Artex.

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It has been banned in the UK since 1999; however it is still found in some older buildings and structures, so if your home is relatively old, you should consider getting a professional to check and remove traces of asbestos before removing and applying touching up the Artex.

Unless you have experience with asbestos removal, you should not try to remove it yourself, as this could result in long-term health conditions.

It is essential that you stay protected even when applying artex to a wall or ceiling without traces of asbestos. To do this, you should use the recommended equipment mentioned in the list below for Artexing a ceiling or wall.

  • Gloves
  • Protective eyewear
  • Dustsheets
  • Coveralls

What Materials Do I Need to Artex a Wall or Ceiling?

Below is a list of the materials that you will need to Artex a wall or ceiling.

  • Artex mix

You can purchase Artex as a ready-made product which comes in powder or paste form which is ideal for small repairs. However, for a whole ceiling, you may want to consider purchasing a large bag of powdered Artex which must be mixed with cold water using a mixing tool to create the right texture.

How to Prepare to Artex a Wall or Ceiling

To prepare for a wall or ceiling Artex job, you simply need to ensure that the surface you are Artexing is clean and dry. Brush away any dust, dirt, or debris that exists on the wall or ceiling, and then you are ready to complete the job.

Artex can be applied to plasterboard, plastering and painting surfaces. If applying to plasterboard and nails heads, you need to make sure it is taped and filled before Artex application. Plasterboard and plaster also require a coat of diluted Artex sealer or some type of PVA bonding.

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Artex can also be smoothed over paint; however, if it is a satin finish you should sand over it first, and any dark colours should be painted over with a lighter shade to provide a better finish.

If you have wallpaper, you need to make this is removed beforehand as Artex cannot be applied to this type of material. This will need to be stripped, and you should also make sure that the paste is removed before applying the Artex.

Before Artexing, make sure you lay down dustsheets to protect your flooring and furnishings. You should also make sure that you wear overalls as well as safety goggles to protect yourself.

How to Artex a Wall or Ceiling Yourself - Step by Step Guide

Below is a list of steps to take when Artexing a wall or ceiling:

Step 1

Lay your Artex on fairly thickly using a float and spread it around similar to how you would with plaster.

how to artex wall & ceiling step 1

It doesn’t need to be too thick. The thickness will depend on the surface that you are laying it on. Look out for the thickness tips on the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 2

When applying the Artex, try to apply it in even thickness. Do this by spreading it evenly with your trowel.

how to artex wall & ceiling step 2

Step 3

Use a stippling brush and dab sections of your artex to create a dabbed look. This will create a classic dabbed artex texture.

how to artex wall & ceiling step 3

Step 4

If you would prefer a swirled Artex look, simply place your stippling brush into the artex and then twist and pull it away simultaneously. This will create a swirling artex effect.

how to artex wall & ceiling step 4

Step 5

To finish the edges, use a paintbrush and simply run it along the edge to create a brushed finish around all of the edges.

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Step 6

You must then leave your Artex to dry completely. The time it takes to dry will depend on the mixture that you have used. Follow the guidance in the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Step 7

If you wish, you can then paint over the Artex as desired. We would recommend using an emulsion paint, and you will usually need around three coats on average for complete coverage.

how to artex wall & ceiling step 7

Types of Artex Patterns

When applying Artex, it is also important to consider the design you want. Here are some of the most popular Artex patterns:

Broken Leather

Broken leather is one of the most common Artex designs as it offers a smooth, brushstroke texture.

It is also the easiest to apply as long as you use an Artex texturing brush which should be covered with a polythene bag before painting on the Artex.

The application requires dabbing motions with half twist movements from the wrist, which should be followed to achieve the broken leather pattern.


Stipple Artex is one of the most simplistic designs which adds depth to your ceiling. To create this style, all you need to do is take your Artex texturing brush and lightly run it over the ceiling or wall, making sure you bring the brush down to avoid a dragging look.


Another popular Artex ceiling design is the swirl pattern which creates a sleek and professional finish. To make the swirls, you should take your brush and start spinning the brush at the bottom of the circle and move in a circular motion.


To create a fan or shell Artex pattern, you will need an Artex comb which should be held at a 25 - 30° angle in order to make sweeping motions to create a half-moon shape. This should be repeated in rows making sure the shell-shapes are all the same size.

Knife Plaster

If you would prefer a unique Artex design, then you may want to consider a knife plaster pattern. To create this design, you will need a filling or jointing knife which should be used to make short strokes across the surface. When doing this, you should take hold of the knife at a low angle and work in various directions.


How do you remove Artex from a wall?

To remove Artex from a wall, you will need to hire a wallpaper removing steamer and use it to loosen the Artex. Then, use a long-handled blade scraper to peel the surface of the Artex away. Be careful not to leave the steamer on for too long though as this can liquefy the Artex and will end up running everywhere.

Can you plaster over Artex?

You can plaster over Artex. This is becoming more and more popular in the UK.

How do I know if my Artex has asbestos?

You can’t identify asbestos by sight or smell. The only way you can be certain if your Artex contains asbestos is to have it laboratory tested. If you are worried about potential asbestos, you should contact a professional company that specialises in asbestos removal. They can survey your walls and ceiling and set your mind at ease.

Can I remove Artex myself?

You can remove Artex yourself, as long as it has been passed as safe from asbestos and as long as you are comfortable with removing it yourself.

What can I use to paint over Artex surfaces?

The best kind of paint for an Artex surface is a matte emulsion paint. You will most likely need around three coats for full coverage.

Are there any differences between Artexing a wall and Artexing a ceiling?

The method for how to Artex a wall and how to Artex a ceiling is the same. They can both be Artexed in the same way.
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