Wood Paneling Makeover: Aged Plaster Treatment

Pam Willis, Mobile Home Living’s newest contributor, has been busy remodeling her 1975 single wide mobile home in rural Wisconsin. You can see her ceiling fan face lift project here, and her creative tile board back splash makeover here, and her experience with Federal Pacific electric panels. This time she is tackling her wood paneling.

There are lots of common wood paneling makeover ideas such as paint, wallpaper, caulk, and grout. Each method has pros and cons and should be carefully considered to fully achieve the desired results.

In this case, Pam wanted to create a cottage look using an aged plaster treatment over the wood paneling in her older mobile home.

We’ll cover her process and get first-hand tips and tricks to get the best results.

Wood Paneling Makeover: DIY Aged Plaster 

I wanted a cottage look for the house and this treatment worked well to get the feel that I wanted.

The aged plaster application is great for covering wood paneling without having to remove it. It can also be used on drywall and vinyl panels.

Project Notes:

  • The aged plaster treatment hides a lot of blemishes, gouges, and holes in walls.
  • It is essential to use a super adhering primer before applying the ’plaster’/drywall compound. It’s pretty easy to do, but takes some time.
  • Because it is done in multiple layers, there is a lot of drying time between each step and will take several days.
  • The plaster look was done on the upper 2/3rds of the wall.
  • Tongue in groove pine panel board (aka ’car siding‘) was used as wainscoting.
  • The panel boards were stained with Minwax Whitewash Pickling Stain and then polyurethane was applied.


  • Dirtex All Purpose Cleaner
  • Wire Brush
  • Trowel and Mud Pan
  • Sanding Block
  • Ultra-Lightweight Drywall Compound – I like the pre-mixed which comes in a tub or bucket

  • Drywall tape for butt joints, corners and large holes. I prefer the webbed self sticking type
  • Super Adhering Primer ( I used Zinzeer brand) DON’T SKIMP ON PRIMER, GET THE SUPER ADHERING!!
  • Paint brushes , rollers, foam brushes.
  • Rags
  • Latex Paint – One color to paint the entire wall, this will be the base color. I used a very light grayish white called Travertine
  • Latex Paint  – (smaller amounts for the glazing) I used three different colors. Brown, Grey and Off White.
  • Glaze – I used a product called “Artistic Impressions” from Ace Hardware
  • Disposable cups (like Solo cups) for mixing the glaze and paint

Mobile home wood paneling before aged plaster treatment makeover

Prep Work:

Prep work is essential. Clean paneling thoroughly with Dirtex.

Step 1: Using the wire brush, rough up the surface. If you use the super adhering primer, you don’t have to get too aggressive with the wire brush.

Step 2: Tape and mud any butt joints (where two panels join). If you don’t tape, the drywall compound will crack along the seam. Tape and mud any large holes or gouges. Tape and mud around corners. Let Dry.

Applying the Aged Plaster Treatment to Wood Paneling 

After the prep work has dried you can start on the process to achieve the aged plaster look on your wood paneling.

Step 1: Paint the paneling with the Super Adhering Primer, just as you would any wall.

Let the Primer dry thoroughly.

Mobile home wood paneling during painting makeover

Step 2: Trowel Drywall Compound into all seams and grooves in the paneling. Let dry. You will find that the compound will shrink down into the grooves. If you don’t fill them first and let the compound shrink down before going to the next step, you will have a striped wall, the grooves will show through and it will look bad.

Step 3: Trowel Drywall compound over the entire wall. You can make this as smooth or rough as you like, moving the trowel in sweeping , curving and smoothing strokes. If you Google “Aged Plaster Look”, you will see many ideas. Let Dry. You can come back the next day and add more compound if you need it. Let the second application (if needed) dry.

Step 4: Using the sanding block, sand the wall. You can sand down as much or as little of the drywall compound as you desire, depending on how rough or smooth you want the wall to be. Remove dust with vacuum cleaner.

Step 5: Paint the entire wall with the Latex base color you have chosen. Let Dry.

Step 6: Mix some of the glaze and the secondary paint color in cup. The more paint you add to the glaze, the more intense the color will be on the wall. This might take some experimenting in an inconspicuous place. You can always repaint the test area with your base color.

Mobile home paneling gets makeover

Step 7: Brush the pigmented glaze over the wall, small sections at a time. Use a sweeping motion. (You will get different effects when using either the bristle paint brush or the foam brush, experiment….have fun). After glazing a section, and before the glaze dries, lightly go over the area with a wet rag. Rinse the rag often. The glaze pigment will collect in the nooks and crannies of the ‘plaster’ and give you that aged look. How much or how little glaze you leave on the wall is up to you. Be sure to do small areas at a time. You don’t want the glaze to dry completely before going over it with the wet rag. The glaze will also give a nice seal on the paint, and will make it easier to wash later. Let Dry.

Wood paneling makeover - aged plaster treatment

Step 8: If desired, you can add more layers of different colors of glaze. I generally use two to three layers. Let Dry.

Aged plaster treatment over mobile home wood paneling

New wood stove installed in mobile home

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