Drywall construction has become a popular trend due to its inexpensive and easy-to-install nature. However, on the downside, such walls are highly brittle and fragile, thus prone to damage by nails, screws, or hinges that leave ugly holes behind. However, before parting with a few dollars to cater to drywall professional repair costs, you can try fixing the nail holes using a few simple hacks.
To fill nail holes in drywall, you can use spackling paste. But readily available household products, like toothpaste, baking soda, bar soap, crayons, and paper joint tape are also good alternatives. Whatever you choose, smoothen the surface, apply the material, and let it dry before sanding.
In this guide, I’ve detailed out some simple steps on how you can fill nail holes in drywall using each of these quick-fix methods. So, keep it here!
Using Spackling Paste
Spackling paste is one of the most popular and highly effective methods of filling nail holes in drywall.
Applying spackle over nail holes is pretty simple; you’ll need a putty knife, sandpaper, towel, and a small painting brush.
Here’s how you’ll go about it:
- Get a tube of spackling paste from a hardware store, home improvement store, or an online dealer.
- Smoothen your working area with a putty knife by removing any loose paint or stray pieces of surface paper or gypsum around the nail hole.
- Now take the sharp edge of the putty knife and use it to apply a tiny amount of spackle to the nail hole. Ensure the spackling paste gets inside the hole, not on the sides.
- Using the straight edge of your putty knife, scrape off any excess spackle paste from the wall. Here you can drag the putty knife horizontally and vertically, removing the excess paste until the surface looks even. After removing the excess paste, wipe the putty knife with a clean paper towel before dragging it over the holes. If you don’t have a putty knife, you can use a ruler or a kitchen knife.
- Leave your spackle paste to dry for at least an hour.
- Once the paste has dried, sand the surface lightly using fine-grit sandpaper or a sand block until the surface looks even. Sanding the nail holes helps in removing any stubborn spackle paste. Wipe off any dust using a damp towel.
- Now, use a small soft paintbrush or a paper towel to apply a light layer of paint over the spackled holes. Ensure the shade of paint you use for the spackled holes is similar to the existing color on your wall for uniformity.
Using Toothpaste and Aspirin
If you don’t have spackling paste, worry not; here’s a simple DIY substitute for industrially manufactured spackling paste.
We all have toothpaste and aspirin in our kitchen cabinets, right? But did you know that besides personal care, these products can form a quick fix for those nuisance-causing nail holes in your apartment? Now you know.
Here’s how you can use these personal care items to fill nail holes as substitutes for spackling paste:
- Crush an aspirin tablet in a bowl. You can use a pestle and mortar or a sturdy spoon to get finely ground aspirin powder.
- Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste, about 25 inches (0.64cm), into the ground aspirin and mix them into a paste. If the two don’t mix well, you can add a few drops of water. Since toothpaste alone can easily crack when used to fill holes, aspirin is added to reduce its tendency to crack.
- Now take the resultant thick paste and apply it to your nail holes using a putty knife, craft stick, or any other handy tool available at your disposal.
- Allow the toothpaste + aspirin paste to dry before sanding the area and applying a light coat of paint for uniformity with the rest of the wall.
The resultant paste works the same way as the store-bought spackling paste. It comes as an economical version of spackling paste.
Alternatively, you can be a little more creative and make your paste using flour, salt, and water. Take 1 tablespoon of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a few drops of water. Mix all the ingredients into a paste and use it to fill nail holes in your drywall, following the same procedure as spackling paste or toothpaste + aspirin paste.
Using Bar Soap
Bar soap is another versatile product found in almost every household. It can come in handy when fixing those irritating nail holes on your beautiful interiors. And although bar soaps don’t provide a permanent solution to your drywalls, it comes as a quick-fix option in case of an emergency.
- Take a dry bar soap that matches the color of your wall and rub it over the nail hole until the hole is fully covered.
- Use a dry paper towel or your finger to wipe off any excess soap surrounding the hole.
Avoid using a wet towel or rag to wipe off the soap because it may melt the soap or dissolve it.
Wax crayons aren’t only meant for people in the art industry. You can also use them to seal nail holes in your drywall.
- Take a wax crayon whose color is relatively close to the shade on your wall.
- Now insert the crayon’s tip into the nail hole and twist it until it deposits enough wax in the hole.
- Once the nail hole is filled with the crayon wax, wipe off excess pieces from its surrounding using a clean cloth or paper towel.
Using Baking Soda and Craft Glue
You can also use baking soda to fix nail holes. Here’s how you go about it:
- Take a small amount of baking soda, pour it into a bowl.
- Now add liquid glue concoction and mix the two to form a well-blended paste.
- Apply the thick paste over the nail holes and give it ample time to dry, at least an hour.
- Take a puffy knife, kitchen knife, or ruler and scrape off excess paint around the hole.
If the paste results in a different shade from the one in your wall, consider repainting over the nail hole for uniformity.
Using Paper Joint Tape
Paper joint tape is another alternative you can use to fill small nail holes on your drywall.
The paper joint tape isn’t self-adhesive, so you’ll need a small amount of drywall compound, commonly known in the construction and home improvement industry as mud.
Here’s a simple step-by-step procedure:
- Use a utility knife or putty knife to clean the area around the nail hole by carving away any stray pieces of paint, gypsum, or surface paper.
- After smoothening your working area to your satisfaction, apply a thin layer of the joint compound.
- Now cut two equal pieces of the tape such that they will each extend at least 2 inches (5.08 cm) beyond each side of the nail hole. Apply the joint tape over the hole in a cross-shaped position (one crossing over the over) and press them down so that they adhere to the wall with the help of the drywall or joint compound. Take care not to overstretch the joint tape as it tears easily.
- Cover the area with a thin layer of joint compound and leave it to dry for about two hours to give the nail patch ample time to heal. To speed up the dry process, you can ventilate the working area or keep it warm.
- Upon drying, sand the area slightly. If the joint tape is still visible, apply another light layer of the joint compound. Allow it to dry and sand it again. Keep repeating this procedure until you no longer see the paper joint tape.
- Lightly sand your last layer of joint compound and remove any excess spills over the nail hole. Wipe off the dust using a soft cloth or dry paper towel.
- Now paint over the patched area with a light coat of paint that matches the shade of your wall.
This method is ideal for filling large nail holes.
Most of the quick-fix methods discussed above are meant for small nail holes, preferably below ½ inch (1.27 cm) in diameter. The use of spackling paste, baking soda and glue, toothpaste and aspirin, crayons, and soap are all ideal for small nail holes. This is because most of these materials are light. For example, the spackling paste is lighter, and airier compared to other fillers and thus tends to shrink faster, making it less ideal for large holes.
However, for holes more than 1 inch (2.54 cm) in diameter, you’ll need a backing material before covering the hole. For example, you can use joint paper tape as a backing material before applying the drywall or joint compound.
Wrapping It Up
Don’t feel overwhelmed by the ugly nail holes on your beautiful drywall because you can now fix them like a pro with the simple life-saving hacks discussed above.
Luckily, learning how to fix nail holes on drywall is pretty easy and calls for little elbow grease. All you need is a few household items such as toothpaste, baking soda, soap, aspirin, and wax crayons.
Besides these readily available materials, you’ll also need a few easy-to-use tools such as a putty knife or utility knife, sandpaper, a little paint, and a small paintbrush.
Good luck fixing nail holes on your precious drywall!