The orange peel look is not only pleasing to the eye, it can also hide imperfections in walls that need painting. Spraying watered-down joint compound through an airless paint sprayer is the normal method for achieving an orange peel wall texture, but the sprayers are not easy to use and can be messy. An alternative to spraying orange peel texture is to use a roller to apply the finish. Roller painting does not require the skills and equipment needed for spraying.
Fill a 5-gallon pail half full with joint compound and add enough water to make a fairly thin solution that is just thick enough to not be runny.
Mix the solution thoroughly with a paint-mixing paddle attached to an electric drill until it is the consistency of yogurt or heavy cream. If the mixture is too thin, add more joint compound; add more water if it is too thick. Try rolling some of the mixture onto a test scrap of drywall to test its consistency and then adjust if necessary. If the finish runs down the wall, add more joint compound.
Use a ½-inch nap paint roller to apply the texture to the wall. Rolling the mixture onto the wall is just like painting. Get the texture as close to the corners and edges as possible. Use a small, thick-napped corner roller to get the texture into the corners and edges. Allow the mixture to dry until the shine disappears, about 10 minutes. Apply a second coat.
Drag an 18-inch finishing knife across the finish while it is slightly wet to knock down the sharp edges and adjust the texture. Keep an equal pressure on the knife at all times to make sure the orange texture has a uniform look.
Wash all the equipment thoroughly and use the ½-inch nap roller to paint the wall with your desired color after the orange peel finish has dried completely.