Every nail pounded into the drywall must be dimpled. Drywall will dent slightly when it is hit. When you pound in the nail, be sure to drive it past the surface area of the wallboard. Later, you will fill the resulting dimple with mud to make a smooth wall. Try not to hit the nail so hard that you break the paper on the surface.
It is not easy to master the fine art of dimpling. Most people only learn the discipline through years of practice. However, there is a rule of thumb known only by true drywalling experts: use the same force on a hammer as you would use on a beer can if you were crushing it against your forehead.
I feel constrained to add a note of caution here - Never hit yourself in the head with a hammer, and never hit a nail with a beer can. The results in either case may be disastrous.
Drywall mud is a thick plaster that is smoothed over the uneven surfaces in the wall. The plaster is spread with oversized putty knives. These knives can be as much as a foot wide. They will spread mud broadly enough to cover your worst mistakes: chipped corners, deep dimples and extra nail holes.
Between the boards use drywall tape . This will help ensure transitions do not crack later. Smear mud over and under the tape, over every dimple and every nook and cranny until the entire room, including you and your wife, are covered.
DRYWALL MUD WRESTLING
This sport has not yet reached the level of popularity of plain mud wrestling. Yet it is just as exciting. A pit full of plaster and two willing wrestlers create a thrilling spectacle. The great thing about drywall mud is that the wrestlers' images, in all their muscular glory, will leave a lasting impression in the plaster: a foot print here, a hand print there. Unfortunately, it is the loser who is immortalized, for his face print is the most common image.
After it dries, the mud can be removed from the pit in a solid block to create a sculpture no worse than most modern art. The jumble of arms and legs from various angles will be better than any Picasso. An enterprising artist should easily be able to find a library or even a museum to display it.
Another form of mud wrestling occurs when drywall mud is applied to the wall. It will be a constant battle between the mudder and the uncooperative if malleable substance. Do not try to be perfect with the initial coat. It will be impossible to make it smooth even with your twelve-inch putty knife. Since plaster shrinks when it dries, you will need to apply two or even three coatings.
AN INDOOR SAHARA
The final step is to smooth the dried plaster with sand paper. This can be done by hand or with an orbital sander. Either way, you will kick up a dusty haze thick enough to impress an Arabian sheik.
There is no getting around the dust. I am a man who disdains the use of safety equipment. Yet, in this case, even I recommend a face mask. The dust is going to spread to every room of the house. It will settle in thick layers on your electronic equipment, your carpet, clothes, even your tooth brush - no need for baking soda after that.
When the sanding is complete, you can work on getting the dust particles out of your underwear and contemplate the next stage of your work, finish carpentry.