Asked on Feb 06, 2014

How was circle ceilings made in mid 1970's USA? Need to repair

by Tabby
I need to repair a patch in my ceiling. The house was built in the USA during the 1970's. It appears to be perfect circles made in the drywall mud (then painted over). Some sort of tool was used because you can see a tiny hole in the exact center of the circle. I have tried using a brush attached to a drill bit, that didn't work. The circles are the same size as an old record album and they overlap in a random pattern. I have tried googling to look for a special tool but nothing comes up. All of the drywall installers are younger men who have no idea, I guess the 'grandpas' who did this type of ceilings are dead, retired or not on computers. lol Anyone have an idea? This ceiling is 800 square feet so I am not going to re-mud a new pattern on it or cover it over. I like the ceiling.
  9 answers
  • SANDY HOLLY SANDY HOLLY on Feb 06, 2014
    We had this done by my brother in law and he used a small bristle broom and just swirled a circle and the circle in the middle was a result of the finish of the full circle swipe!!!
  • Jennifer G Jennifer G on Feb 06, 2014
    Unfortunately, there is really no specific 'tool' that does this. People in the trade are like artisans and do their own unique thing with brushes, brooms, sponges, wood, plastic scrapers, etc. To replicate the exact look may take some practice on your part. I suggest trying out some techniques until you can come up with something similar, then blend your style onto the existing ceiling well past the patch to blend (you may have to sand down some of the original design). Most people will never notice the minor difference on the ceiling patch unless you point it out. Good Luck!
  • Margaret Oscilia Margaret Oscilia on Feb 07, 2014
    I agree with @Jennifer G. When we had a patch in a textured ceiling that was difficult to match we skim coated the entire ceiling with drywall mud, and then re-textured the entire ceiling. Lots of work but better than having an eye sore to see every time you walk into the room! Don't paint over the patch until you are 100% happy with it! A good drywall contractor should be able to match or skim coat/re-texture the ceiling for an affordable price
  • Well you heard about how many people it took to install a lightbulb., one to hold and two to turn the person around think that is how they did those circles. It was much like Sandy Holly stated. A brush was used of some sort. The trick is to have the correct size brush, the correct type of brush, the correct mixture of mud that allows to brush the pattern into the ceiling and lots and lots of practice on a sample. A broom on a handle may work well so you can simply spin it around from standing on the ground rather than working off a ladder also may aid in this quest. Good luck with this project and keep us posted on what you decide to do. But I think removal of the entire finish is desirable and paint. Textured ceilings are simply not in style. Its a lot of work to find out you cannot match what you have.
  • Sharon Dillon Sharon Dillon on Feb 14, 2015
    We had our kitchen ceiling redone last fall and I asked the drywall contractor to match the original design. The plaster craftsmen asked if we wanted sand in the plaster. Although the original looks like it has sand; I asked them to leave it out. They dipped a regular size corn broom in the plaster and started at one end of the kitchen. For a repair, I would suggest a small or whisk size corn broom, mix up the plaster and if it doesn't look right, wipe it away before it has a chance to set. You might practice on a scrap board to get the hang of it. Good Luck!
  • Tabby Tabby on Feb 14, 2015
    this is the ceiling (half painted) in our living room, all our whole first floor has this ceiling and it is open-concept so I would have to re-do the entire first floor's ceiling if I change the pattern. I am having trouble finding someone who can match this.
  • I doubt you will find anyone to match this. Normally these are done with a brush of sorts. However your circles appear to have been made by some sort of hand tool that had this unique pattern cut into it. If you really have to have this a pattern can be created using a pattern copy tool, than transferring this pattern to a piece of metal that can be used to create the swirling pattern.
  • Connie Connie on Feb 22, 2015
    There is a round bristle brush about 4 inches in diameter that you can use to "stamp" the texture onto the repaired ceiling. It has a place to insert the long paint handle, and you dip the brush into the ceiling texture and dab onto the place to be matched but as you dab you have to twist the brush so it makes the swirl pattern, practice before you try to do this to the ceiling area. Hope this helps.
  • Darla Darla on Aug 12, 2015
    It looks like you could do it with a piece of notched cardboard the length of the radius of the circles, and turn them around the center. Perhaps it would work better if there was a pin at one edge that you could spin the cardboard around.