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Drywall Repair DIY Tips

Do you have a hole in your wall that is driving you crazy? It’s the kind of thing we put off forever, but fixing it doesn’t actually take that long. I know because I’m a complete beginner and not super handy and even I was able to patch a large drywall hole. Follow these step by step instructions and you can too.

These tips will help you patch holes in your drywall from the size of a nail-head to large 2 foot gaping holes.

Size Matters – How big is the hole?

The larger the hole, the longer it will take to fix. This makes sense, but since my first time patching a hole was a large one, it didn’t make me feel better.

Holes Smaller than your Finger tip

If the hole is smaller than your finger you are in luck. The time and materials required is minimal. The materials you need for this task are:

  • Spackling knife or putty knife
  • Spackling – you can find at Home Depot by the drywall or by the paint, or on Amazon
  • Sanding block – try for 150 but almost anything will do the job
  • Paint to match your wall

To patch a small hole you simply need to dab the spackling/patching mix into the hole and scrape over it with a putty knife. Allow it to dry 2-4 hours. Lightly sand it and then paint.

Holes smaller than your Fist

The process for filling slightly larger holes is very similar, but requires an additional item from Home Depot (or your home local hardware store).

You can find drywall patch repair kits on Amazon that include all of the supplies for less than $12. The materials you need for this task are:

  • Spackling knife or putty knife.
  • Spackling – you can find at Home Depot by the drywall or by the paint, or on Amazon
  • Sanding block – try for 150 but almost anything will do the job
  • Drywall patch
  • Paint to match your wall – depending on your walls, you may need to use some spray texture before painting.

To patch a hole up to four inches, you will first want to sand over the the hole to remove any drywall bits that are around the hole and drywall backing (the paper on the drywall face). You basically want to get the surface smooth before you start the job. Wipe away the dust with a cloth.

Next apply the drywall patch, which is a sticky mesh like surface. Most patches have adhesive on one side, so they just need enough of the drywall around the hole to stick to.

Use the putty knife to apply spackling around the patch and over the edges. Keep spreading the spackling until it looks smooth. It’s like frosting a cake, you want to work from the center out to get it nice and smooth. If you have a second putty knife it works well to scrape off excess putty with the second knife. Let the spackling dry for 2 hours.

Sand the surface once it’s dry until it’s nice and smooth. Wipe the surface with a cloth. If it doesn’t feel smooth repeat the previous step. If your walls have texture, you may need to apply texture before you paint. If not, just paint the wall and you’re done.

Holes Larger than your fist

Once a hole gets to be more than four inches, the patch is not sufficient to cover it. Unfortunately, the larger the hole, the longer it takes to cover it up. For larger holes you need cut a piece of drywall to fill the hole.

  • Spackling knife or putty knife
  • Spackling – you can find at Home Depot by the drywall or by the paint, or on Amazon
  • Sanding block – try for 150 but almost anything will do the job
  • Piece of drywall – At home depot, the drywall comes in giant sheets, but you can also buy a square that is 24″ x 24″.
  • Utility knife to cut the dry wall to size.
  • Screws that are thick enough to go through the drywall and into a piece of wood.
  • Drywall tape – You will use this to bridge the gap between the old and new drywall.
  • Paint to match your wall – depending on your walls, you may need to use some spray texture before painting.

The important step you have to take here that’s different is that you need something to screw a piece of dry wall into. Since your hole is large enough to reach into, if there is nothing behind it, you’ll need to secure something behind it. Some people even use a wood paint stick or blocks of wood secured to a stud.

You will need to trim the hole to be square using a utility knife. You want to trim off any edges to get a perfect square hole. You can score the excess drywall you want to trim with a utility knife and just snap it off. Use your sand paper to sand around all the edges to get a smooth starting point.

Next cut your drywall. I had to cut mine more than once, but you will want to measure your hole and draw shape onto the drywall sheet you purchased. It’s surprisingly easy and it’s better to cut too big than too small. Mine was too tight to fit the first time so I had to trim off 1/2 inch.

Attach your supports behind your existing wall with drywall screws. It really depends on your situation and whether there are studs available to attach wood to or you just need to screw a piece of wood to the existing drywall.

Screw the drywall to your supports. I marked on my wall with a pencil outside the hole where the pieces of wood were so I would know where to put my screws.

Next you should apply the drywall tape around all of the seams.

Use the putty knife to apply spackling around the patch and over the edges. Keep spreading the spackling until it looks smooth. It’s like frosting a cake, you want to work from the center out to get it nice and smooth. If you have a second putty knife it works well to scrape off excess putty with the second knife. Let the spackling dry for 2 hours.

Sand the surface once it’s dry until it’s nice and smooth. Wipe the surface with a cloth. If it doesn’t feel smooth repeat the previous step. If your walls have texture, you may need to apply texture before you paint. If not, just paint the wall and you’re done.

This sounds like a long process and BELIEVE ME I procrastinated about doing this but it only took me about 1.5 hours plus the trip to Home Depot. Are there holes in your walls that you are procrastinating about patching? I’m here to say, just try it.

dry wall repairs steps broken down by the size of the spot you need to repair.

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One Comment

  1. James Kelly says:

    You are a lifesaver. I have an apple size in the wall that is separating me and my roommate. We used to tape paper and other substances to cover it up. but that didn’t work. Thank you for all these tips. I have finally able to patch it up successfully. I really appreciate your work. keep it up.

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