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Knock down texture wall repair

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I have done some ceiling sheetrock repair of an area about 48" long 3" or so wide.

The ceiling has a knock down texture like this.

Now that I have applied a few slim coats, the somewhat smooth patched surface is about 52" long and 7-8" wide.

I am ready to do a texture match.

I have looked at a few dozens of youtube videos on how...using a sponge, using a plastic bag, using a special squeegy hawk...

I gave it a try on a piece of scrap sheetrock to experiment with, and the result did not come out as good as what I saw in those videos. So I have some specific questions.

(1) Should I use regular pre-mixed joint compound? That's what I used to patch the small area and that's what I have to experiment with. I saw some videos where they dilute the premix with water, or use a dry mix and get it to a consistency of a pancake batter. How important is the diluting? I kind of want to avoid the mix from falling back over me if it's too thin. But if diluting is important I will do it.

(2) How long to wait? Some videos said 2 minutes, some said 5, some said 15 minutes. I waited 10 minutes. Too long, too short?
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It's really hard to get a perfect match. I've never done it with a sponge so can't give much advice there. But when I've sprayed texture for patches I thin it to a pancake batter consistency. So I would try thinning your mix a little and see if that helps.

As for the drying times that can vary a lot depending on room conditions. If it's hot it will dry really fast. If it's cold it could take a longer time. Areas over heat vents will dry really quick with the warm air blowing over them.
I recently replaced and patched some knock-down textured drywall. This worked pretty well for me. Your "mileage" will vary.

Thin down the joint compound just a bit. I put about 3 oz water into a half-full gallon bucket of premixed compound.

Slap the compound on the wall, spread it around.

Let it set up for about 10 minutes.

Wad up a big ball of heavy duty paper towels and use that as your "sponge" to create the texture. (Change the paper towel sponge often,)

It will be on the "blobby" side. You want that.

Let it dry about another 10 minutes.

Then take a 10" or 12" trowel and gently knock it down.
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Sand down the existing texture back away from the repair. Get a can of Homax knockdown spray with an adjustable nozzle. Spray the area then use a wide taping knife lightly drag it across the mud as per the directions on the can.
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