There are probably as many textures as there are people willing to pick up a drywall knife or any other tool for that matter. That said, here’s how I texture the wall to sorta match the texture of our original plaster walls. It’s basically a heavy skip trowel technique.
I use an all purpose tapping/topping joint compound for this. It’s a drying type compound so you have a lot of working time with it. Ours comes in a box, but some come in a bucket. Either way I like to put it in a 5 gallon bucket, add about half a cup of water (for a full box), and then mix it to a creamy consistency. Some people add dishwashing soap or other things to make the mix more creamy, but water alone is fine for me.
Normally I like to use a hawk and trowel because I find it faster than a 6″ drywall knife, but either works. I press the trowel into the mud to create a bit of suction and pull it up. When you do this right it creates a lot of dippling on the trowel, similar to the look you get from thinset when you pull tile off the substrate.
With the trowel or knife loaded, I skip it across the wall lightly. I run it parallel to the wall surface letting a bit of the compound come off the trowel at a time.
If it looks like I want it to look then I come back and knock it down a bit so nothing is too high.
If it doesn’t look right I can always come back and add some more or take it off and start over.
Then it’s just a matter of adding more and more layers to it until it resembles the same plaster pattern as the original walls
Here is the finished textured wall in the back bathroom (before it was painted)
And this is the original texture throughout the house
Not a perfect match, but it’s close enough to the original that no one has been able to tell that we applied this texture ourselves.