How to Fill a Nail Hole in Wood Trim

What You'll Need
Tinted wood putty (several colors)
Putty knife
Flexible plastic cutting mat
Damp cloth
120-grit sandpaper
Sanding block
Matching wood stain
Small paintbrush

If you like your wood finishes to be smooth and neat looking, you will eventually need to know how to fill a nail hole in the wood trim of their homes. The older a home gets, the more holes will naturally appear in the wood trim. Nails driven into the wood trim will eventually work their way out of the hole and appear as a dark dot in the wood. You can hide these holes by filling them with special filler and a learned technique outlined in the steps below.

 Step 1 – Purchase Colored Wood Putty

Trying to match a wood putty color to the color of a wood stain or grain is all but impossible. For a good color match, your best bet is to create your own by mixing several shades of wood putty. To accomplish this, take a sample of the wood trim with you to the store, and purchase 3 or 4 wood putties of different shades. For example, if your trim is a light warm brown color, choose lighter and darker shades of warm brown colors.

Step 2 – Create your Putty Color Match

Take small amounts of putty from each of the putty containers (about the size of your thumbnail) and begin mixing them together on your palette. The palette can be any surface that is smooth, hard and flat. Mix your putty colors until you have one that seems to match the color of your wood trim. Then, take a small amount of it onto your putty knife and hold it up to your wood trim. Continue adjusting the color until you have the shade that matches the wood trim shade.

Step 3 – Fill Your Nail Hole

Use your putty knife to apply a small amount of the mixed putty onto the nail hole. Work the putting into the hole by pressing it down into it. When the hole is filled, scrape the excess putty away from the hole area with the putty knife edge. Before the putty has a chance to harden, use a damp cloth to wipe the surface clean around nail hole, then allow the putty to harden.

Step 4 – Sand and Finish

When your putty has hardened, use a piece of sandpaper on your sanding block to smooth the surface over the top of the nail hole. Use of the sanding block will prevent you from sanding a depression in the hardened putty. Apply with a small paintbrush a stain of the same color as your wood trim to cover the sanded putty and the surface where you have sanded. Blend in the new stain with the wood trim shade.