It sounds as if you may live across the pond. I don't know the
term stempling (spell checker and answers.com don't either) but I
am guessing you are referring to adding a decorative pattern or
swirl to the ceiling.
US terminology - texture.
Too many questions to answer question well.
Peeling paint would indicate there was grease or other contaminant
that should have been cleaned before the last paint. There is
nothing I know of that will fix this short of peeling off the
unstuck material. Wash all surfaces with a cleaner - real TSP is
one of the best (make sure it really is trisodium phosphate).
Drywall compound will stick to almost any clean sound surface. It
can be dabbed on with a brush; scrunched on with a sponge, rag, or
crumpled up newspaper; rolled on with a roller; splattered on with
a texture gun; trowelled on with a notched trowel or skip applied;
it can be knocked down or not. Practice on a scrap piece of
drywall, cardboard, or sheathing to get the effect you want.
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
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