How to Fill Holes in Drywall.

Terrified of putting nail holes in your drywall or sheetrock?  Calm down. You too can have a gallery wall if you want it because fixing holes in drywall is easy but there is a right way to do it. And toothpaste ain’t it.

People seem to be terrified of the strangest things. Green smarties, Sasquatch, ageing naturally and gracefully. I’m all for ageing in the most unnatural way possible by the way and am currently experimenting with red light therapy for an upcoming post.

The other thing people are unreasonably terrified of is putting nail holes in their walls. Your face I can understand, I mean a hole in your face is definitely going to be harder to fix than a hole in a wall.

With a hole in your wall you can stick a “Dogs Playing Pool” poster over it or the more refined “Naked Fireman Holding Rescued Kitten”.

I mean, it’ll look ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as if you stuck one of those posters over a hole in your face.

I’ve deduced, that people aren’t terribly afraid of hammering the nail in, it’s what to do when you take it out. Because once you take that nail out you are left with … THE DREADED NAIL HOLE.

So what to do? Well, much like if your face has a big indentation in it, you fill it up with filler. 

You can buy a tub of drywall compound at the hardware store for between $5 and $10. Premixed, ready to go.

You might even have some in your basement that you bought when you first moved into your house thinking you were going to be very handy home improvement whiz but instead – hung up fireman posters.

If that’s the case your compound is probably dried out BUT you can fix dried up drywall compound. Just add water to it and mix it.

You’ll also need a putty knife. That’s what I’m using here. It’s a flexible thin metal blade.


If you’re buying drywall compound and a putty knife make sure the putty knife you buy is small enough to fit inside the tub of drywall compound.

If you don’t have one and you’re only filling small nail holes you can use anything stiff but also flexible. Like your retired Blockbuster video rental card! Or any other plastic credit card type thing.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to do all this stuff you see in the photo above, this is me patching an entire wall with joint compound, tape, etc.

I have for you today a very, very short video on how to PROPERLY fill a small hole. That means there will be no use of drywall tape, toothpaste, cat hair, ski goggles, shaving cream or nail polish in these instructions.

How to Fix a Hole in Drywall.

How to Fix a Hole in Drywall.

Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Fix those tiny nail holes in your drywall with just a bit of compound and a hammer. Because to fix the little nail hole you first need to make it bigger!


  • Joint compound (also called Drywall compound or Sheetrock compound)


  • Putty Knife
  • Hammer (ball peen)


    1. Remove any nails, screws or anchors that are in the wall.
    2. Using the rounded end of a ball pean hammer, hammer in the small nail hole to create an indent.
    3. Fill the indent with joint compound using a flexible putty knife. Just put a blob of compound over the hole and then scrape the area flat by running the putty knife over it several times until smooth.
    4. Let the compound dry (you'll know it's completely dry when it's all lightened up to the same colour) and then gently sand it to smooth it out.
    5. Prime the repair with paint primer.
    6. Paint.


The reason you hammer in the small nail hold is because nail holes have a tiny lip around them that you might not even be able to see. This lip needs to be hammered in to get rid of that small lip that sticks out from the wall.

Oh wait! You have a bigger hole?  That’s O.K. Those are easy to fix too. Have a look at my post on how to patch drywall. 

So there you have it.  Filling nail holes is not very hard, definitely nothing to be afraid of and the very first thing you should do before you paint your walls with a new coat of paint.

You may have noticed a small indent in the wall when I painted it. That was some other indent that didn’t choose to reveal itself until I painted over it. It wasn’t the nail hole. Just some angry, angry, vindictive wall scar impersonating as a nail hole. Mainly just for attention I think.

Now that you’re not afraid of filling nail holes you might want to graduate to learning how to make a gallery wall.

 Kitten and fireman posters are strongly discouraged.

How to Fill Holes in Drywall.


  1. Jacqueline says:

    Thank you for this… I have drywall holes to repair. I’m excited for the upcoming red light therapy post. I bought a red light and not sure what to do. How far away/how long for face (wrinkles) and pain in tendons, etc.

  2. Laura McEachern Bart says:

    “Using the rounded end of a ball pean hammer, hammer in the small nail hole to create an indent.” —-BEST TIP EVER! I have filled exactly 17,659 nail holes in walls and NEVER knew about this step/trick/tip/advice. Muy Gracias! Oh, regarding toothpaste as a hole filler? That only works when you are between the ages of 17 and 24 and it’s a hole in the popcorn ceiling of your rented apartment where you hung your macrame plant hanger for your piggyback plant. Peace.

  3. Kelly Blanton says:

    There is also a newer product by DAP called DAP Eclipse. It’s a self-adhesive patch and requires no filler or sanding. You just apply patch over the hole and can paint over the patch. It’s great.

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