How to Refill Holes Left by a Nail in Your Wall

Find out how to use spackle, wood filler, and sandpaper to patch the surfaces in your home.

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It's easy to hang up a prized portrait or piece of décor on the wall, but what happens should you decide that you want to move it or take it down entirely? Odds are, you'll be left with an unsightly hole. That shouldn't stop you from redecorating, though: It's easy to patch a hole left behind by a nail in just a few simple steps. Tiffanni Reidy, the owner of Reidy Creative, explains that whether you're looking to repair drywall or a wooden wall, the main tool you will need is sandpaper. Bob Glass, a merchant at The Home Depot, adds that there are kits that come with everything you need to complete the process seamlessly.

Ahead, find out how to refill a hole made from a nail in your wall, according to both of our experts.

neutral-colored living room with accent gallery wall
Dana Gallagher


After wiping down the wall to make sure it's clean, Glass says to "remember that whenever working with drywall, especially when cutting or sanding drywall, you should wear protective eyewear and a dust mask." Glass and Reidy both recommend having sandpaper on hand to begin fixing a hole left behind in the drywall. Lightly sand the surface in a circular motion with 220-grit sandpaper to start, Reidy explains. After this step, add a small amount of spackling paste (about a nickel size) to the nail hole with a small putty knife. "Most lightweight spackles don't require sanding [at all] and can be painted within 15 to 30 minutes," explains Glass. "If sanding is recommended by the manufacturer though, wait until the product is fully cured (approximately 24 hours) and then use fine-grit sandpaper like 3M Garnet Sandpaper ($4.67, to sand the area smooth."

Once you've done that, it's time to paint over the area if desired. Glass also says you can use a drywall repair kit, such as DAP DryDex Wall Repair Patch Kit ($9.87,, for all the necessary materials.


Just as you would for drywall, wipe down the area and wear protective gear when tending to a wooden wall. To begin the process of filling in a nail hole, Reidy explains that you should sand the area in the direction of the grain with 220-grit sandpaper. After this step, simply apply wood filler in a similar color to the wall, and then you're done. You can paint this wall surface if you want as the final step, too.

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