How To Patch, Fill and Fix nail Holes In Drywall: Easy Steps

Push pins are commonly used to fix paintings and other objects to drywall. However, if these push pins are removed, nail holes will be left behind in your drywall. Fortunately, drywall push pins or nails are easy to patch due to the small holes they leave behind.

Before patching push pin holes in drywall, the surface should be smooth with no extrusions. A putty or drywall knife can then be used to apply a premixed joint compound to the wall. Depending on the size of the push pin hole, one or two coats of compound will be needed to patch the hole.  


When it comes down to different repairs homeowners may encounter, patching nail holes in drywall are one of the easiest repairs. There are only a couple of supplies you’ll need to do this – and even fewer steps to follow! 

7 Steps To Patch and fill nail Holes In Drywall

Push pins and nails are a great way to fix objects to drywall! Not only are nails cheaper than screws, but the holes they create are generally smaller in size. However, once you remove a nail from drywall, you’ll want to patch it up! Luckily, due to the relatively small holes left behind, it’s easy to patch nail holes in drywall. 

There are many hacks that are used to fill nail holes in drywall, even those that call for toothpaste or aspirin. However, if you want to properly patch nail holes in drywall, you’ll want to use a premixed all-purpose joint compound. Preparing powered compounds can be a hassle!

Of course, there are a few more supplies you’ll need. If you’re missing some of these supplies, you can pop down to your local hardware store or simply order the items online. Once you’ve gathered these supplies, you’ll be able to patch nail holes – and even screw holes – in the drywall by following a few simple steps! 

Step One: Gather Your Supplies

When patching nail or screw holes left in drywall, you’ll need a few items! These can all be ordered online. If you decide to touch up the paint on your drywall, which is an optional step, you’ll need paint that matches the color of your wall. 

  • Putty Knife or Drywall Knife 
  • Utility Knife
  • Screwdriver 
  • Premixed All-Purpose Joint Compound 
  • Paper Towels 
  • Fine Sanding Sponge 
  • Paint (optional) 

Step Two: Inspect Your Drywall 

Before you start patching your nail holes, you’ll need to inspect the surface of your drywall. For a hole to be properly patched, it needs to be concave. When extracting nails and screws from drywall, the paper on the surface can be broken, causing it to pull outward. If you run your hand over your nail hole, you’ll be able to feel these extrusions. 

If you find any outward extrusions caused by a nail or a screw, you may be able to force the extrusion into the drywall using a screwdriver. Alternatively, you can use a knife to smooth the surface of the drywall. Once the surface surrounding your nail hole is smooth, you can proceed with patching it! 

Step Three: Load Your Putty Knife 

Once you’ve ensured there aren’t any extruding pieces of drywall; you can grab your putty knife or drywall knife! Given that you’re using a premixed joint compound, you can simply dip the end of your knife into the all-purpose compound. However, you don’t want to overload the knife and make a mess of your drywall! 

Your putty/drywall knife should have a tiny amount of compound along the edge of your knife’s blade. Imagine you’re buttering a sandwich! If you scoop too much compound onto the knife, you can remove some using a paper towel before proceeding. 

Step Four: Apply First Coat 

When applying your first coat of compound, you want to angle the knife towards the wall so that the compound is facing the drywall. Then, the front edge of the knife should be pressed against the wall so that the blade slightly bends. Then the blade should be drawn across the hole. 

Using this same motion, a second pass should be done. However, you’ll want to ensure that the second pass should be done at a 90-degree angle to your original pass. This differing angle will ensure the compound is flush with the surface of your drywall. You’ll need to leave the compound to dry for an hour. 

Step Five: Apply Second Coat 

Depending on the size of your nail hole, the second coat of compound might not be necessary. Once your first coat of compound has fully dried, you can assess the patching. However, the compound shrinks when it dries, so some holes may require a second coat.

If you notice any cracks or gaps, you can add a thin second layer of compound. The same technique should be used for passing over the first coat. However, you’ll want to use less compound than you did for the first layer. Once again, this should be left to dry for an hour. 

Step Six: Lightly Sand Drywall 

Once your compound coats are completely dry, you can inspect the surface of your drywall again. If the surface is rough, you might need to sand it to create a smooth surface. To do this, a fine-rated sanding sponge can be used. You can lightly use this type of sponge, such as the one we linked above, to smooth the surface of your drywall and remove excess compound that has dried.  We have discussed how you can remove drywall dust here.

Step Seven: Retouch Drywall (Optional) 

Depending on the color of your drywall, you may wish to retouch the paint where your nail hole was located. To do this, you’ll need paint that is the same color as your drywall. However, for homeowners patching white drywall, the patched nail hole might not be visible at all! 


Patching nail and screw holes in drywall are some of the simplest repairs homeowners will encounter. Not only is patching drywall holes relatively inexpensive, but there are only a few steps to follow to professionally patch any holes left by nails. 


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