To add an eggshell texture to old walls, tape off outlets and other features, and dilute joint compound with water until the compound reaches the consistency of thick paint. Apply the diluted compound to the walls with a thick-nap roller that is lightly loaded with the compound. Use slight pressure to create light, even texture. Press the roller firmly, and move in alternating directions to create deeper texture.
To create a cross-thatched texture that is similar to the texture of woven fabric, load joint compound onto a notched trowel, and apply a thin layer of the joint compound to the wall in even strokes. Working perpendicularly to the first application of compound, apply a second layer of compound to the wall to complete the cross-hatched pattern.
Another option is to apply a 1/8-inch thick layer of joint compound to a 2-foot section of the wall, and use a whisk broom to texture the wall. To create a stucco texture, apply joint compound evenly to the wall, and dab the joint compound with a sponge to achieve the desired texture.
Alternately, apply the joint compound to the wall with a paintbrush to make a swirl texture, or apply the compound with a drywall knife, and use a comb to make swirls in the compound.