How to Patch a Hole in Drywall

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This tutorial will show you how to patch a hole in drywall so you don’t have to stare at ugly, exposed gaps in your home.

It’s finally here….the moment you realize you should have bought that door knob wall protector a long time ago.

And now you need to fix this gaping hole in the wall before your spouse notices! 

Don’t worry, this is something that could easily happen in any home that has drywall. Sometimes it happens by accident (a little too much roughhousing, moving large furniture, or when the door handle hits the wall too many times)

And sometimes it’s on purpose, like when you need to shift things behind the wall for a project or access your pipes to fix a leak. 

The patch job I am sharing today was done on purpose because we needed to move a lightbox to a different position in the wall. 

Follow the steps below to patch a hole in your drywall.

How to move a wall light

For this project, we had an old lightbox but we needed it mounted higher. We installed the new box successfully but now we had to fix the wall.

Believe it or not, I never patched a drywall hole before – my dad always did it. I took it step by step and found it to be an easy process. 

There are pre-made patches you can buy in the painting section of a hardware store but I thought they cost too much and I had almost everything on hand already.

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MATERIALS:

SKETCH THE HOLE

First, I measured and sketched out the shape of the hole I needed to patch on a piece of paper. 

TIP: It will be easier to patch a square or rectangle, so cut your hole if you need to. 

Then, I transferred that sketch onto the extra drywall piece in the actual dimensions.

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How to patch a hole in a wall.

CUT THE DRYWALL PATCH

I then used the razor blade and drywall saw to cut the patch out.

TIP: You can trace a straight line with a razor blade (a couple of times over the same spot); then, you can snap the drywall along that line. 

I cut my patch in a rough pattern the first time, then adjusted until I had a good fit.

How to patch a hole in a wall.

REINFORCE THE OPEN AREA

Next, I found a scrap 1×2 board that was about 3-4″ longer than my patch. I then screwed the board into the existing drywall, like this:

How to patch a hole in a wall.

PLEASE NOTE: Be careful when screwing the board down so you don’t break the drywall like I did. Luckily, mine still worked.

ATTACH THE DRYWALL PATCH

Then, I attached the patch drywall to the board. Ideally, I should have placed a screw where the old lightbox is but because I was keeping the old box, I couldn’t.

How to patch a hole in a wall.

TIP: If you are patching drywall over a stud, you will not need to add the board; instead, you can attach the drywall patch to the stud. Next, I took a #120 grit sandpaper and lightly sanded the old drywall. This will roughen up the paint and help the drywall tape to stick. Finally, I wiped everything clean to remove any dust (I also used a Shop-Vac).

APPLY TAPE AND COMPOUND

I then took the drywall joint tape (the kind I used sticks by itself) and taped all the joints, including some smaller holes from our old lighting fixture.

How to patch a hole in a wall.

After, I used my tape knife to lightly spread the joint compound across the whole area. 

I did not put it on too thick because I planned on adding at least two more layers of compound.

How to patch a hole in a wall.

The compound I used for this patch takes a while to dry – 24 hours (look for one that takes less time – I just forgot to look before purchasing). 

After the first base coat finally dried, we had this:

How to patch a hole in a wall.

I then applied a second coat (I did NOT sand the first coat). Hours later, we had this:

How to patch a hole in a wall.

I then took a #220 grit sandpaper (you could use a wet sponge for drywall; it is less dusty) and sanded the area with it, not using too much pressure. You do not want to sand down to the joint tape. TIP: I had my Shop-Vac hose in one hand and the sandpaper in the other. I held the hose right below the sandpaper to vacuum up the dust as I sanded and this made it less messy.

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How to patch a hole in a wall.

I decided I would need one more coat of compound. A day later, I sanded everything again and we were left with a nicely patched wall.

How to patch a hole in a wall.

Next, I primed and painted the wall. 

After the paint dried, I installed our industrial vanity light.

How to patch a hole in a wall.

What do you think? Can you believe there was even a large hole there? No matter how the hole happened, you can fix it now.

Any tips or other ways to patch a drywall hole? Like I said, this was not as difficult as I thought it would be. The longest part was waiting for the compound to dry.

DIY Industrial Swivel Light

Be sure to stay tuned for how we installed a recessed vanity mirror and added some shelving..

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