drywall mud

How To Mix Drywall Mud

If you’re new to finishing drywall, it’s a bummer to find out that even premixed mud usually needs thinning – especially before tape.

And if you’re using powdered or “hot” mud, there’s no getting around mixing.

Luckily, as long as you know the consistency to look for and have a mixing paddle for your drill, getting your joint compound to the right texture is easy.

Here’s how to mix drywall mud.

Supplies You’ll Need for Premixed Joint Compound

How To Mix Drywall Mud
  • Box of all-purpose drywall compound
  • 5 Gallon Bucket
  • Drill and compatible mixing paddle
  • Water

How to Mix Drywall Mud: Step by Step

Even though ready drywall mud doesn’t require as much mixing as hot mud, it usually needs to be thinned out before application. 

Your joint compound should be the texture of sour cream, so if it’s much thicker than that, you’ll need to add a little bit of water.

Here’s what to do.

Step 1: Dump Your Premixed All-Purpose Joint Compound Into a Bucket

Start by picking up your box of drywall mud and resting it at the edge of your bucket. Slowly lower it into the bucket, open side down until it all spills in.

(If your premixed compound came in a bucket, just open the bucket.)

Inspect the compound. If the consistency is thicker than sour cream, you’ll need to add a touch of water to thin it.

Step 2: Add a Little Water and Mix

If you determined your mud was too thick, start by adding ½ cup of cold water to it. Now attach your mixer paddle to the drill and mix, moving up and down to get it all.

(Side note: If you think your mud is only slightly thick, only add a ¼ of clean cold water to it.)

Step 3: Add More Water if Needed and Mix

After thoroughly mixing, reinspect the consistency. If it’s still too thick, add ¼ cup of cold water and mix again.

If it’s about the consistency of sour cream, you’re good to go.

Step 4: Thin It Out In Your Tray if Taping

For general-purpose, sour cream consistency is what you want. However, when taping, your mud needs to be slightly thinner.

To thin mud for taping, add a little to your drywall tray, splash in a few drops of water, and mix with your putty knife.

Supplies You’ll Need to Mix Powdered Mud

  • Powdered drywall mud
  • 5 Gallon bucket
  • Drill with mixing paddle
  • Clean, cold water

How to Mix Powdered Drywall Mud

If you’re using powdered drywall mud, also called quick setting or hot mud, you’ll need to add water and mix to the perfect consistency.

It’s essential to follow the directions on your package and not mix up more than you’ll need. Powdered muds are usually quick setting, so if you mix up too much, your mud could go bad before you even use it.

Again, since powdered drywall muds can have different directions, you must follow the ones on your package.

Step 1: Add Water to Your Bucket and Compound

Read the directions on your package. Then, add the appropriate amounts of cold water and compound to your bucket.

Make sure the water is cold and clean – don’t use well water.

Step 2: Mix Together

Mix the compound and water with your drill and mixing paddle until it reaches the perfect consistency.

If it’s too thick, add a little more water. If it’s too thin, add a bit more powder.

How to Mix Small Batches of Hot Drywall Mud

How to Mix Small Batches of Hot Drywall Mud

Unless you’re working with a crew or have a lot of experience, mixing large batches of hot mud isn’t practical. Because most of the time, it will start to set it up before you can use it all.

Instead, mix smaller batches. You’ll need a drywall pan instead of a bucket.

Here’s what to do.

Step 1: Add Clean Cold Water to Your Drywall Pan

Start by adding cold, clean water to your drywall pan. Refer to your package to see the ratio of water and powder you’ll need.

Step 2: Mix with Your Drywall Knife

Now take a six-inch drywall knife and mix using a chopping motion. Turn the mud over as you go to incorporate the bottom portion.

If the mud isn’t mixing well, add a touch more water. Always use clean cold water and err on the side of using too little rather than too much.

Step 3: Mix Until There are No Lumps

Once you have the right consistency, keep mixing until there are no dry lumps in the compound. You’ll need to work fast, so the mud doesn’t set up on you.

Final Thoughts

Drywall mud needs to be at the proper consistency. It should look similar to sour cream but slightly thinner for taping.

You can thin out premixed mud by adding a little water and mixing with a paddle attachment. Remember to start slow – it’s better to add too little water than too much.

If you’re using hot mud, you need to follow the directions on the package.