I grew up in a family of painters and contractors—paint is in my blood. I had to overcome a lot working as someone with autistic spectrum disorder. In the contractor world, if you want to reach the zenith, you have to walk uphill. My work is influenced by my ancestors—strength from pain, beauty from chaos. This is the de La TouR Technique.

For those contractors excelling or struggling and who want to try something new, creative, scientific, and therapeutic, this is it. Joint compound is a material traditionally used to finish walls or patch holes but it is also a form of art I have been promoting for several years.

You can simply finger paint with drywall mud by smearing it on a wall, using your hands and fingers as the tools for original professional art. I apply or spread the joint compound with my hands just as if using or working with a trowel. I do not use tools. My hands are the tools. Every part of my hands is used for a strong, light, thick or thin texture, like finger prints. You can simply draw with joint compound on a surface using your imagination for the desired pattern. This is also a very energetic and cathartic process.

I use my fingers for very meticulous original detail. Detail in my methods is extremely important to me. They are used to draw a circle pattern for crown molding. I rotate my index and or middle finger counter clock wise six or so times and then move my finger to the right and the joint compound like clay moves; an object in motion stays in motion. This creates a continuous circular pattern.

At corners, I carefully slide my finger to the next wall parallel and continue the process on the next wall. This can be used for a simple square room or this process can be done around a light fixture on a ceiling as well. You don’t have to worry about angles with this technique.

The thickness of joint compound is up to the individual trying to achieve the desired effect. When dry, I also use molten glue from a glue gun, which fixes any cracks in the joint compound that you may get. I have devised this to share in the working class realm. Molten glue works well on drywall. Molten glue just on drywall creates wonderful patterns. Molten glue blends with the joint compound and can’t be seen after painting.

For a stipple texture, I use the side of my right hand with a little joint compound on the side of my hand so while the ceiling is covered with a light layer of joint compound that I apply with my hands, I press the side of my hand on the ceiling or wall and I can begin to create patterns and textures that no store bought tool will produce. I lightly press into the joint compound for a second and lift my hand while it just starts to dry to give a raised mountain look. You can repeat this process until the entire surface is covered with the desired texture.

A Plaster Look

For a modern plaster look, I move my hand as if holding a trowel, but just my hands, and I lightly create a pattern going right to left overlapping. I draw with the palm of my hand and fingers in circular, natural flowing movements to generate beautiful floral patterns on walls, or for example, I may draw a literal flower with my fingers just like carving out an image in clay. I let the joint compound start to dry and create a stipple texture around the image or the image may be a stipple texture itself on the wall which in my mind I call the de La TouR Technique—where imagination is one with memory.

Using my hand, I can take an idea further than a tool or slap brush technique. This is a revolution of thought. I believe true contractors are artists. Building, finishing, or remolding a home or room is an art. Win power over yourself and you will have power over every project that you encounter in the physical world that may strike against you. These are easy and non-expensive methods to refinish a room or basement as well for the experienced contractor who wants a cool, original texture to represent their business or a do it yourself to try something new and have fun.

You can literally finger paint with your hands with joint compound mud on walls and ceilings with friends and family, let dry and then use a paint of your choice—that simple. Use your imagination, nothing’s impossible.