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Simplifying the process of taping and mudding drywall

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Have you ever wondered if there is a simple way to tape and mud drywall seams? Today we will be going over the steps involved, and giving you a couple of different methods you can use. First, we will talk about the traditional method of taping and mudding, and then we will discuss the time-saving method of using a tape shooter.

Skill Level
Approximate Time 45-60 minutes
plus drying time between coats

In a previous article we talked about the convenience of using a drywall lift to hang drywall. The next logical steps are taping and applying joint compound (mud) to the seams between the sheets of drywall and at the corners. This can be a time-consuming process and sometimes gives DIYers a challenge. However, if done correctly you can reduce the amount of sanding needed to obtain that smooth, level finish you are wanting.

Before starting either method, you will want to make sure that no nails/screws are protruding above the surface of the drywall.  Then, use a joint knife to fill nail/screw head dimples with compound. 

The Traditional Way

The traditional way of taping and mudding is doing everything manually. 

First, we should talk about joint compound.  You can either mix the compound yourself using the powdered mix and water, or you can buy pre-mix.   To mix the powdered mix, as a general guide, you'll mix one part water to two parts powdered joint compound, but be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions before mixing.  When using powdered mix you have the challenge of knowing how much to mix up.  If you make too little, then you are having to make more.   If you mix up too much, then inevitably some goes to waste. 

Another factor you will need to consider is how quickly you would like the compound to set up.  The amount of time can usually run between 20 minutes to 90 minutes.  Make sure to pay attention to this when buying any drywall compound.  You will want to base your decision on how much mudding you'll be wanting to do within that timespan.   If you buy the pre-mix compound it is going to cost a little more, but the upside is that it is convenient and it can be stored in its original container. 

Pro Tip

When you open pre-mixed compound, the mud will not be smooth and workable.  Stirring it with an eggbeater mixer and thinning it down with a little water will get it to the consistency you need.

To begin, put some compound into a mud pan to easily access the mud using your taping knife


Next, apply the mud along the seams between drywall sheets using a 6” taping knife.  Smooth the gaps with the mud as you go.  This first coat is called the bedding.  While the mud is still moist press the tape lightly into place over the seam. 


Then apply a second coat of mud right over the tape to cover it.  As you continue to add layers of mud, you will want to use progressively larger taping knives.  An 8” knife is usually good for the second coat.  This is also a good time to go back over the screw dimples.  Let this coat dry overnight.


The next day, go over any uneven or rough parts with a sander.  Now you're ready to apply the third coat.  For the third coat it is a good idea to add some water to the compound so that it is a little thinner (about the consistency of mayonnaise) and dries quicker.  For this you may want a 10” or 12” taping knife, feathering all sections 2” beyond the second coat.

Once the final coat has dried, smooth it over with a drywall sander. When it is smooth and level all over, it is now ready for primer.

The TapeShooter Method

Another method you can use for taping drywall seams is using a drywall taper.  A drywall taper saves steps in the process and makes efficient work of mudding seams and applying tape.  The MARSHALLTOWN TapeShooter Drywall Taper applies the tape and joint compound at the same time, which allows drywall professionals and DIYers to complete the taping process fast.

Using the TapeShooter is easy.  How does it work? 

Step 1:  Load the drywall tape into the tape spool. Set a spool of drywall tape onto the tape spool and close the gate. Insert the tape through the slot in the back, into the mud compartment. Push the tape up towards the top to make room for the joint compound. Then run the tape through the slot in the front.

spool  slot  push  front

Step 2:  Add water to your joint compound to thin it out and mix thoroughly with a drill and an eggbeater mixer.  Add more water if necessary and mix until the compound is smooth and creamy.

water    smooth

Step 3:  Add the thinned joint compound to the mud compartment.  Fill the compartment until it’s mostly full, making sure the tape remains in place along the top. Close the lid and lock it down.

add    full

Step 4:  Set the flow adjuster.  Now the TapeShooter is ready to apply mud and tape at the same time!


Step 5:  Apply the mud and tape.  When applying, be sure to apply the tape in short sections, pressing it down as you go. Continue to apply the tape along the joint until you get to the end. Tear the tape off with the built-in cutter, then lightly press it in place.


Step 6: Use a taping knife and mud pan to set the tape and clean up the excess joint compound.  Let the mud dry, then continue on adding layers of mud as we explained using the traditional method we talked about above.


It’s that easy!

The Marshalltown TapeShooter is made with tough, lightweight aluminum, and has heavy-duty hinges and buckles for the mud door and tape spool gate. The tape spool is designed to load the tape fast and roll out smoothly. The Durasoft™ handle is comfortable, while the handle strap on the side is fully adjustable to fit your hand with an ergonomic thumb rest. The Flow Adjust system has an easy-to-use thumbscrew that adjusts the size of the opening to get the right amount of joint compound on the backside of the tape. And the sharp cutoff blade cuts the tape at the end of each run.

Speed up your next drywall project, with a Marshalltown TapeShooter!


To learn more visit or call 800-888-0127 to talk to a Customer Care Representative.

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