10 Plastering Tools for Beginners and Experienced DIYers

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Whether you’re a beginner exploring a new DIY hobby or a keen amateur ready to tackle a plastering project, having the right plastering tools at your disposal is crucial for achieving a professional finish.

This guide is designed with you in mind. We’ll take you through the basic plastering tools commonly used in the UK, explaining what each one is for, and how it fits into the plastering process. You’ll learn about the various types of trowels and their uses, to essential accessories like the hawk and mixing equipment.

Understanding these tools is the first step to mastering plastering. So, let’s get started and set you on your path to becoming a confident and skilled plasterer.

Plastering trowel

A plastering trowel is a flat, typically rectangular tool used for applying and smoothing plaster onto a wall. The trowel picks up plaster from a hawk, spreads it evenly across a surface, and smoothes it as it dries.

Trowels need to be cleaned after each use to ensure a smooth finish for future plastering work.

Mastering the trowel requires practice, particularly in managing the amount of plaster and applying consistent pressure for a smooth finish.

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Plastering hawk

A hawk is a flat, square board with a handle underneath. It’s used in plastering to hold a supply of plaster. The plasterer scoops plaster onto the hawk, then from the hawk to the trowel, and then applies the plaster to the wall or ceiling.

The hawk provides a portable, easy-to-use surface that keeps the plaster readily accessible while working. It’s essential to keep the hawk clean and free of dried plaster to avoid contaminating fresh plaster.

Using a hawk effectively may require some practice to balance properly.

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Mixing paddle and bucket

A mixing paddle and bucket are essential for preparing plaster. The bucket holds the plaster and water, while the paddle, often attached to a drill, mixes them to the right consistency. These tools ensure the plaster is thoroughly mixed, preventing lumps that could affect the smoothness of the final result.

Mixing paddle (drill required)

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Plasterers mixing bucket

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Bucket trowel

A bucket trowel is a tool used to scoop plaster out of the mixing bucket. Its design, with a shorter and wider blade, allows for easy and efficient scooping. It’s also used to scrape the sides of the bucket to utilise all the mixed plaster, reducing waste.

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Corner trowel (internal and external)

An internal corner trowel is angled to fit into corners, allowing plaster to be applied smoothly on interior angles of a wall. An external corner trowel, on the other hand, is designed to spread plaster on exterior angles, ensuring a neat and sharp finish. Both help achieve professional results in areas where a regular trowel wouldn’t fit.

Corner trowel (internal)

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Corner trowel (external)

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Window trowel

A window trowel is a smaller, more manoeuvrable trowel used for plastering in tight spaces such as around window frames. Its compact size allows for precise application and smooth finishes in areas that a larger trowel can’t reach.

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Finishing trowel

A finishing trowel is used to smooth and polish the plaster after it has been applied to the wall. Its polished, flat blade helps achieve a professional, smooth finish, which is especially important in the final stages of plastering. It’s often used once the plaster has started to set, to flatten and smooth out any small imperfections.

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Jointing knife

A jointing knife is a tool used when working with plasterboard. It’s used to apply jointing compound to the seams between plasterboard panels, smoothing the compound to ensure a flat, seamless finish. It typically has a flexible steel blade for ease of application and can come in different widths to suit various tasks.

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