How To Fill Nail Holes In Drywall Without Painting

To fill in nail holes in drywall without the use of paint, try applying putty or drywall spackle, which is easy to use and can quickly disappear right into these small holes. 

Add a sufficient amount of spackle on a putty knife, fill in the hole, and then use a damp cloth to smoothen it after 15 minutes of application.

To explore this topic further, we’ve listed down items that work well to fill nail holes in drywall and the necessary steps you need to follow.

Best Ways To Fill In Nail Holes

Lightweight Spackling

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This is a type of putty you can use to fill in small holes and small cracks or other minor defects in drywall, wood and plasterboard surfaces. Usually, a spackling paste is composed of gypsum plaster derived from hydrated calcium sulfate and glue.

Step 1: Claw Hammer

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Using the claw of a hammer, line it up with the nail and slide it upward until the nail fits into the claw, gently pull the nail until it pops out of the drywall. Save the nail, just in case you want to use it later.

Step 2: Spackling 

Use a lightweight spackling because it isn’t as thick as a typical putty and it also doesn’t weigh as much. A lightweight putty will ensure that the wall will not have any harsh edges left, which will make your job a whole lot easier. Open the tub of lightweight spackle and dip the end of the putty knife into it to get an amount larger than the hole you want to fill. 

Once you have the right amount of spackle, put the knife just right above the nail hole and apply the spackle by dragging it downward. Focus on the hole as it should only have about 0.25 inches or 0.64 centimeters of spackle around it.

Step 3: Wipe Down

Scrape away the excess putty or simply use a damp cloth and wipe it down after 15 minutes of application, once the spackle has dried.

You can also sand the spackle with fine-grit sandpaper to make the plaster less noticeable. However, you have to make sure that the spackle is completely dry before doing this. Otherwise, you could over-sand and leave a dent in the surface area.

Flour

To fill nail holes in drywall without spending too much money, you can also use household items like flour and salt.

Step 1: Measure

Combine 4 tablespoons of flour and ⅓ tablespoons of salt.

Step 2: Blend

Blend the salt and flour together with a little primer to create a paste.

Step 3: Application

Apply the paste to the hole and allow it to fully dry.

Step 4: Sand

Sand the area with the use of fine-grit sandpaper or orbital sander until it is even with the surface of the drywall.

Toothpaste

This is another household item you could use to fill nail holes in drywall without spending too much money.

Step 1: Mix With Asprin

Find a toothpaste with the same color as the wall and mix it with crushed aspirin tablets to create a paste.

Step 2: Application

Apply an appropriate amount directly into the nail hole and remove excess product with the use of a putty knife or a playing card.

This filler can help prevent cracking and makes the nail holes appear less noticeable.

Caulking

While caulking is another good option for filling cracks and gaps in exterior surfaces, it is often not advisable for use when filling nail holes in drywall or surfaces made of wood. This is because it can shrink over time and leave a divot in the wall.

The only time you should use caulk to fill nail holes in drywall is in areas where the ceiling meets the wall.

Buy a new tube of caulk to achieve the smoothest results. It is also best to choose the type of caulk that can hold paint well and is fire-rated.

Step 2: The Squeeze

 Cut off the end of the tube and squeeze the caulk out. Test it on a disposable surface to make sure you have the right color and consistency.

Step 3: Apply

Apply the caulk to the drywall and use your finger to press it into the hole and smooth it out with a putty knife or any scraping tool.

Step 4: Wipe down

Before the caulk sets, give the wall a quick wipe-down and make sure you remove any excess. 

Baking Soda

Baking soda and liquid glue mixture is another inexpensive homemade filler that you can use for nail holes in drywall.

Step 1: Mix

Mix baking soda and liquid glue to create a thick paste.

Step 2: Apply

Fill in the nail holes with the mixture using a utility knife and scrape to remove any excess paste by using a putty knife or any scraping tool.

This paste mixture will give you a white or off-white color, which can be noticeable on a colored wall, hence apply it lightly. You can also use a marker with a similar shade as your wall to cover the paste.

Glue

The use of good old-fashioned glue to fill in nail holes in drywall is another good and inexpensive DIY trick. However, it can only work on white or light-colored walls. 

Step 1: Apply

All you need to do is squeeze the glue/Elmer’s glue directly into the nail or screw hole.

Step 2: Swab it

Use a cotton swab or a Q-tip to go over the glue, making sure that it is even with the surface of the wall.

Step 3: Dry n Scrape

Once the glue is completely dry, scrape away any excess product.

Soap

This should only be used as a temporary fix and if you do not have any spackle, glue, or toothpaste on hand.

Choose a bar of soap with a similar shade to the wall color.

Step 1: Rub the soap

Take the bar of soap and rub it over the nail hole until it is completely filled.

Step 2: Wipe down

Wipe off any excess with the use of a slightly damp cloth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you paint over nail holes?

While it is possible to paint over nail holes, it will not cover them, if that’s what you are aiming for. Therefore, you should fill these nail holes first with the use of the right tools, before you decide to paint over them.

How soon can you paint over spackle?

Fast-drying spackle can take a few minutes to dry, while normal spackle takes 1 to 2 hours. So before painting over the spackle, you should wait for 1 to 2 hours before sanding and then another  24 hours before you paint over it. However, you should adjust according to the type of spackle, the temperature and humidity, and the size of the area.

Summary

There are a lot of materials you can use to fill in nail holes in drywall without having to paint over it. These materials include spackle, caulk, flour, toothpaste, baking soda, soap, and glue, and while some of these should only be used as a temporary fix, they can still make the nail holes less visible.

Small repairs can make a huge difference, so if you think that filling nail holes in the wall is challenging, you just have to take your time and surely your job will turn out fine.

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