How to Patch Drywall

How to Patch Drywall

Level: Beginner

It's inevitable. No matter how careful you are, holes in your drywall are going to happen. Fortunately, no matter how extensive the damage, it is fixable.

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  • Fix Small Drywall Holes (Less than 6")

    • Step 1: Cut a Square Around The Damage

      Cut the hole into a square or rectangular shape using a keyhole saw. Now cut a replacement piece of drywall 2" longer and 2" wider than the hole you just made. Use a tape measure to make it the right dimensions.

    • Step 2: Make a Patch
      putty knife

      Create a patch to fill in the hole. Lay the replacement piece of drywall on a flat surface with the backside facing up. Measure in 1" from all four edges and draw a line using a pencil. This should form a shape the size of the hole. Using a straight edge and utility knife, cut through the backside paper and the drywall gypsum. Do not cut the front-facing layer of paper.

      Using a putty knife, peel away the backside paper and gypsum layer. Be careful not to tear the front-facing paper. The smaller part of the patch should fit into the hole. The paper edge should extend 1" beyond the hole.

      Helpful Tip

      If the patch isn't a perfect fit, place it against the hole and trim to size with a utility knife.

    • Step 3: Apply Joint Compound

      Apply a thin layer of joint compound around the hole. Place your patch into the hole. Using a putty knife, work the paper edge down into the compound. Feather the edges of the compound and allow it to dry. Sand lightly with a fine-grit sandpaper and apply a second layer of joint compound to finish the repair.

    Patch Large Drywall Holes (6" to 12")

    • Step 1: Square Off the Hole

      Use a keyhole saw to form the hole into a square or a rectangle. Holes up to 12'' require a slightly different repair that provides more support than smaller holes.

    • Step 2: Create a Patch Larger Than the Hole

      Cut a piece of drywall that's 2'' larger than the hole to be repaired. Using a drill, create two small holes through this piece of board, feed some string through and tie both ends of the string to a stick (tie in the middle). Allow for about 8" of string between the board and the stick. The "stick side" of the board will be the front. The stick will be used to hold the patch in place. By twisting the stick, it applies pressure to the rear of the board to steady it in the hole.

    • Step 3: Place the Patch

      Place the patch by first applying a smooth coat of cement adhesive around the edges of the piece of wallboard material. Insert the patch into the hole and position it so the cement adhesive firmly grips the solid area around the rear of the hole. Turn the stick clockwise, twisting the string and increasing pressure against the patch board at the rear of the hole. This will hold the board firmly in place until the cement adhesive dries.

      Helpful Tip

      To make it easier to insert the wallboard material through the hole, be sure to hold it at an angle.

    • Step 4: Fill the Hole

      Allow the cement adhesive to thoroughly dry then fill in the area with joint compound. Smooth out the area then let the patch dry thoroughly.

      Helpful Tip

      You may need to apply two or three layers of joint compound to build up the patched area. Always allow each layer to dry before applying another.

      Let the stick and string remain where they are during the patching process. You can remove both just before the material dries.

    • Step 5: Sand and Paint

      Make sure the area is completely dry, then sand off any high spots using fine-grit sandpaper and sanding block. Apply a coat of EasyCare® Ultra Premium Interior Paint in any finish you choose.

    Repair Large Drywall Holes (More Than 12")

    • Step 1: Make a Brace

      Create a support brace to hold a patch securely while you put it in place, if you have really large drywall damage. Use a circular saw or other type of saw, cut two pieces of 2x4 to a length about 8'' longer than the diameter of the hole. These will be used to form your support brace.


    • Step 2: Affix the Brace

      Apply cement adhesive to one piece of 2x4 at each end and then insert it into the hole so that the adhesive will adhere to the inside of the wall. Hold it in place and use a piece of heavy cord to tie it to the other piece of 2x4. Allow both 2x4 pieces to remain tied in this position for about an hour or until the cement adhesive on the "inside" part of the brace is fully dry.

      Next, untie the cord and remove the supporting piece of 2x4 that you placed on the front side of the wallboard. The cement adhesive will hold the inside piece of 2x4 firmly in position, providing a support brace for the wall patch.

    • Step 3: Install Patch

      Cut a drywall patch to the exact dimensions of the sawed-out area using a power saw or keyhole saw. The patch will be slightly smaller than the hole itself, but be sure to cut it to fit as tightly as possible.

      Apply cement adhesive to the back of the patch and on the support brace inside the wall, then place the patch into position in the hole.

    • Step 4: Apply Drywall Tape and Joint Compound
      joint compound

      Apply self-adhesive drywall tape along the patch seams. Then use a firm putty knife or patching spatula to apply joint compound along the seams. Work the joint compound thoroughly into the drywall tape crevices and the patch seams. Scrape away any excess material and allow the patched area to dry completely.

    • Step 5: Sand the Surface

      Make sure the area has completely dried, and then use a regular sanding block and a piece of fine sandpaper to sand away any high areas on the patched surface.

    • Step 6: Prime the Drywall

      Apply a primer coat to prepare the wall for painting.

    • Step 7: Paint the Wall

      Use the same color paint to touch up or choose a new color for your wall.

      You're done! Your walls look brand new again.

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

    Then, print or save your updated list and bring it to your local True Value hardware store, where an expert Hardwarian will give you the remaining tools and expert advice you need to complete this project.

    You can also shop online for these project items at and receive FREE shipping to a participating store.

    Repairing Small Holes

    Repairing Large Holes (6" to 12")

    Repairing Large Holes (More than 12")

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