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Reattaching a Paper Towel Holder

Did someone at your work or home get a little aggressive ripping paper towels off the mounted holder above the sink? Same here. But fear not those large holes in the wall where it used to be attached, there’s always some kind of fix for your problem.

In my opinion, one of the best options for any kind of mounting in drywall is a good, old-fashioned toggle bolt, like this. You can get them in various depths (how deep they have to go to be functional) and toggle sizes (how big is the hole to which you’re attaching). Of course, if you’re starting from scratch you’re drilling your own hole so you only need to be concerned with buying the appropriate toggle bolts for the weight of the item you’re hanging, the thickness of your drywall, and the thickness of the item the toggle bolts need to feed through and still be able to expand.

Someone must have REALLY wanted a paper towel.

Look at this thing. It’s ripped OUT OF THE WALL. I’m going to guess that maybe the building’s handyman maybe didn’t install the previous anchors correctly because I don’t know how a normal human can rip one of these nylon shark tooth anchor things out of the wall while getting a paper towel. These things are supposed to hold like 75lbs, and I’m thinking if you multiply that by 2 you’ve got 150 lbs of holding power. And how much force is needed to tear off a paper towel? Like none. It doesn’t add up, but they ripped them out somehow.

I don't know how these screw-in anchors got ripped out, but someone must have REALLY needed paper towels. They're not my favorite for just this reason.


The trickiest thing with toggle bolts is putting them together in the right order and facing the right way. And when I say it’s tricky, I mean it’s simple. See how it’s shaped? That arrow-looking part (the toggle bolt)  pinches together to fit through the hole then snaps back out to what you see in the picture once it’s in the wall. It spans the gap of the hole from behind, and then when you screw the screw into it, the toggle bolt cinches up tight to the wall and holds whatever you’re mounting tight and strong.

These toggle bolts can fix virtually anything that has ripped out of drywall.


Once you have the toggle bolts pushed through the wall and they’ve extended, it’s time to screw them in. Sometimes they’ll be mushed up agains insulation in your wall and you can just start screwing and they’ll cinch up. If you feel them spinning (like these did) you’ll have to apply some outward pressure to pull them up against the inside of the wall so they won’t spin as you screw. Do them a little at a time so you can apply pressure to both sides. You’ll figure it out.

Pull out slightly to let the toggle bolts grab onto the back of the drywall and get some traction


BLAM. Done. Luckily the width of the paper towel holder covered the old holes.

The holder is up and fixed and the holes are hidden. Nice.


There, finished. Now the studliest guy ever could yank of a paper towel and the holder will stay put.

Here you go, now a gorilla can grab a paper towel and this thing will stay put.

I know I don’t have to tell YOU this, but toggle bolts aren’t only used to fix things that are already ripped out of the wall, you can start from scratch with them.


  • sandy starelli

    I want to thank you for your recommendation on applying this method to the toilet paper dispenser disaster. I have to go with this try before trying the slicing and mudding and inserting a pine cutout and placing it into the wall. Sounds like a professional fix (which I am not) and the latter, easier and less expensive!. Once again, Many thanks! Sandy


    • Pete Fazio

      You’re welcome. When you’re at Home Depot (or whatever) there will be a wall of anchors to choose from. Make sure you get the largest anchor that will work but will still fit through your holes. There are probably longer skinnier ones that will probably work too, but you might need washers to help secure them inside the holes. That post kind of tells all.


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