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Patching a large hole in the drywall

Maybe the door knob popped a hole in the wall. Maybe one of your friends had too much scotch at the weekly poker game and when he stood up to go to the bathroom he stumbled and put his hand through the wall. Whatever the reason, there’s no better way to look handy and impress your special someone.

You’ll need.

  • Drywall scrap
  • Drywall mud and tape (self adhesive or old school paper tape)
  • Mud knife
  • Drywall saw
  • Husky folding utility knife (to score drywall when doing cutting)

In this case, the wall had to be opened up to do a little exploration and get some wiring done. It was a pretty big hole and was only along a stud on one side. No biggie, we can fix that.

Get a piece to patch with.

Measure the thickness of the drywall. Usually for a wall the thickness is 1/2″ or 5/8″ but just double check. Also most big box home improvement stores will sell 2’x2′ sheets of drywall. It’s not the most cost effective to buy these small sheets because they can run almost as much as a full 4’x8′ sheet, but if you’re driving a normal car you can forget transporting a 4’x8′ sheet of drywall. If you’re a cute girl you can probably get a piece of a broken sheet for free.

Some kind of backing.

If it’s a big enough hole you need something to screw your patch into. There are drywall repair clips you can buy that clip onto the four sides, screw into, and break off the clips, but there’s other more hacky stuff you can do, especially if you’re cheap like me.

I took some scrap 1″x3″ boards, held them tight to the wall and screwed into them through the existing drywall to suck them up tight to the back of the existed drywall.

Adding wood backing to screw into.

Measure and cut patch sheet.

Self-explanatory. Well, kinda. The easiest and quickest way to cut small shapes (like a light switch) out of sheetrock is with a drywall saw. You can measure it out, cut one side of the shape with the saw, then use your utility knife to score along the other line, then snap the drywall along the line and cut the backing paper. It you have long straight line you can just use your utility knife and us the score/snap technique.

Patch sheet ready to go.

Screw into backer pieces.

Uhhh, ok, this is self-explanatory too (not a great tutorial so far if it’s all self-explanatory, eh?).

Drywall patch screwed into backing wood.

Mud and tape it.

Mudding and taping is slightly an art. I’ll tell you it’s not always as easy as Bryan Baeumler makes it look. It takes a little skill at handling the knife and making sure you don’t use too much mud. And NOTE: You’d be surprised how little mud it actually takes for a nice smooth transition to make the butt seams invisible.

The drywall patch mudded and taped.

I don’t sand between coats, I usually just use my 10″ knife to shave down the higher areas of the dried mud. I hold it at a low angle and push toward the mud to shave in a snow plow type of action.

Using the mud knife to shave down high points.

BLAM. Wall fixed.

Now let it dry, a little light sanding, primer and paint and this wall’s like new.

The wall is ready for primer and paint.

Final painted wall. Perfect. Unfortunate horizontal shadow but trust me, you can't tell there was a huge hole there 3 days ago.

It really is as simple as those few steps. The hardest part of the whole procedure is writing a post about it with a dog coming over and trying to get your attention every 5 minutes.

Cody, my helper


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