How to Repair Small Drywall Holes


Drywall is a strong, durable wall covering that creates a smooth finish to the wall. Although the strength and longevity of drywall is apparent, the material is subject to damage from concentrated force applied to a small area of the wall. When this damage occurs, a permanent repair is made with joint compound. Joint compound is paste-like and dries to form a material similar to drywall. When sanded the joint compound repaired small drywall hole will be filled and blend with the surrounding wall.

Things You'll Need

  • 6-inch spackling blade
  • Joint compound
  • Sanding pad
  • Keyhole saw
  • Small piece of drywall
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Scissors
  • 4-inch paint brush
  • 10-inch spackling blade

Repairing Nail-sized Drywall Holes

  • Lightly tap the drywall surrounding the small hole with the butt end of a 6-inch spackling blade to create an indentation.

  • Apply a thin layer of joint compound to the recess created in Step 1 with a 6-inch spackling blade. Feather the wet joint compound into the surrounding drywall to reduce both the amount of finish sanding required and the chances of cracks forming in the applied compound.

  • Allow the joint compound to dry until solid white (roughly 24 hours).

  • Sand the dried joint compound with a sanding pad until smooth and well blended with the drywall surrounding the repair area.

Repairing Small Drywall Holes

  • Cut a square hole around the small hole with a keyhole saw. Make sure any loose paper surrounding the small hole is removed.

  • Draw a square hole, slightly larger than the repair hole, on a small piece of drywall with a pencil.

  • Cut along the pencil lines with the blade of a utility knife to score the paper covering the drywall.

  • Pull the scored square from the small piece of drywall. Pry one corner of the paper away from the gypsum with the blade of a utility knife if the paper is difficult to remove.

  • Trim the rough cut paper to a size slightly smaller than the square hole cut in the wall with a pair of scissors.

  • Apply a thick layer of joint compound to the hole cut in the drywall and the backside of the paper square with a 6-inch spackling blade.

  • Press the joint compound coated side of the paper into the drywall hole. Do not use excess pressure or the paper will fall into the hole.

  • Drag the 6-inch spackling blade over the paper to remove excess joint compound from the repair. Allow the repair to dry for 24 hours.

  • Lightly sand the dried repair with a sanding pad.

  • Apply joint compound to the repair area with a 10-inch spackling blade. The thinner the coating the less work required to complete the repair.

  • Allow the joint compound to dry to a white material before continuing to the next step.

  • Sand the repair area with a sanding pad to blend the repair to the finished wall and complete the repairing of the small drywall hole.

Tips & Warnings

  • Water removes all traces of joint compound from spackling tools.

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  • Photo Credit drywall tools image by Sherri Camp from
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