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How To Fill Nail Holes in Wall

An inevitable part about decorating your walls is that you’ll eventually, sooner or later, have to deal with filling nail holes left behind. Learn how to fill nail holes in wall like a pro with this step-by-step!

Thank you to DAP for sponsoring this how to fill nail holes in wall tutorial! All opinions are entirely my own. This post also contains affiliate links, but nothing that I wouldn’t recommend wholeheartedly. Read my full disclosure here.

An inevitable part about decorating your walls is that you’ll eventually, sooner or later, have to deal with nail holes left behind. Whether you’re swapping a gallery wall out for large scale art (or you couldn’t quite get the picture straight and you now have a bunch of extra nail holes…if that’s you, be sure to check out our hack for how to hang a picture) or you’re getting ready to move out of your home, filling nail holes in the wall is necessary.

Even though it’s a simple step that goes with the larger task of painting a room, many people get stumped on this little job.

I’ve seen it time and time again. A super obvious patched nail hole that wasn’t filled properly. Whether it’s not smooth or textured wrong or the paint sheen is different… there are a lot of things that can go wrong when filling nail holes.

Applying a pea-sized spackling to the nail hole on the wall with text overlay that says a beginner's guide - how to fill nail holes in wall

In today’s post I’m going to show you our tried and true method of how to spackle nail holes professionally so you can’t even tell that they were there!

It may be a few extra steps than you are used to but, I promise, it’s worth it.

White wall with nail hole showing before image

Supplies needed for filling nail holes:

Man holding a small spackling container near the white wall with nail hole
Finger with a pea sized spackling covering the nail hole in the white wall
Flattening the spackle using a putty knife
Side view of the white wall with spackle covering the nail hole

Step 1. Fill nail holes with spackle

To patch nail holes in the wall, you want to start by filling the hole with spackle. The best way to do this is to use your finger to press the spackle into the hole.

Next use a putty knife to quickly flatten the spackle, trying your best to match the texture on the wall. To learn more about how to get the skip trowel texture that we have check out this tutorial.

Let it dry thoroughly before moving on.

Sanding the spackle on the white wall with sanding block

Step 2. Sand smooth

Once dry, sand the patched area smooth using a sanding block. You shouldn’t need to sand very long, just a couple of quick passes over the area with the sanding block and you’re good to go.

Wipe the area with a slightly damp rag after sanding to grab any dust before moving on.

Adding white wall primer over the patched nail hole

Step 3. Prime over patched nail hole

Grab a paintbrush and add some wall primer over the patched nail. This is an important step to prevent “flashing”.

Flashing is when the paint sheen is a little different where the patched nail hole. If you’ve ever filled nail holes and skipped the primer, you know what I mean. You can definitely tell where the patched hole is. This extra step is well worth it if you want your paint finish to be consistent and look professional!

Let the primer dry thoroughly before moving on.

Step 4. Paint over filled nail hole

Last, but certainly not least, you can paint over your filled nail hole as you normally would. If you need some help painting, here’s a super detailed look at how to paint a room for beginners.

What else do you need to patch when you are prepping a room for painting?

It’s not just nail holes that need patching when you’re getting a room ready to be painted. Start by removing everything from the walls – including curtains rods (if they aren’t getting rehung in the exact same place).

Before you begin, take a slow walk around the room to check for other imperfections. Fill any dents, scratches, bumps or holes on the walls with spackle. Sand any peeling paint on walls with a sanding block.

Don’t forget to inspect baseboards (unless you’re planning on removing baseboards) and window trim too! Patch any nail holes or imperfections on trim or baseboards in the same way with spackle. Be sure to do this before you move on to painting baseboards.

Once these other imperfections have been patched, you also want to sand smooth and add primer before painting.

What if you have a large hole to patch?

If your hole is larger than a simple nail hole in the wall, you may need some extra reinforcement. For this, you can use either fiber tape or an aluminum wall patch.

Another alternative is using DAP’s Eclipse Drywall Repair Kit over the large hole. You simply adhere the patch to the wall over the hole and paint immediately over the patch. Then remove the clear protective layer from the top of the patch and apply two additional coats of paint.

There you have it! How to fill nail holes in wall – the professional way. Using the steps in this simple tutorial you can start the fun task of filling your nail holes and watching them literally disappear as you paint the room.

Have any other super simple how to’s, like this tutorial of how to fill nail holes in wall, you want to see?

Let us know in the comments below!

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