How to Spackle a Large Patch

spackling a hole in a yellow wall
  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 25-100
What You'll Need
Snug face respirator mask
2-sided sanding sponges or sanding blocks
Various grits of sandpaper - 80, 150, 400
Narrow and wide putty knife
Good quality spackling putty
Handheld high-intensity flashlight
Low VOC wall primer
Paint of your choice
2 roller trays, brushes and paint rollers

Knowing how to spackle drywall will help you be confident when a heavy painting pulls its hook out of the wall or a remote-controlled car careens into the living room wall at full speed. Holes larger than one inch across are considered large patches, so follow these directions to spackle and finish a large hole so it will virtually disappear.

Step 1 - Wash the Wall to Remove Existing Grit

Dampen a coarse cloth with warm water and dish detergent to remove existing drywall grit and dust from the wall surface, to help clearly define the hole edges.

Step 2 - Put on Your Face Respirator Mask

Always wear a face respirator mask when sanding, to keep gypsum particles and paint flecks out of your lungs.

Step 3 - Fill the Large Hole

applying putty to a hole in the wall

Scoop a generous amount of spackle putty from the container and push it into the hole till it is firmly packed. Smooth more putty around the edges of the hole so no rough jagged points are visible. The putty will ooze a short distance out of the hole but will settle as it dries. Swipe the small putty knife over the hole until the surface feels level with the wall. Check for small holes and tears nearby and fill these with spackle putty, too. Level the small fills and allow all the spackle to dry. It will be glaring white with a firm, gritty surface when dry. If the hole is quite large, you may need to allow one layer to dry and then add another layer on top of it until the hole is filled.

Step 4 - Sand the Spackled Patch

Use the roughest grit of sandpaper you have on hand, start with at least #80, to sand off the patch until it really is as level with the surrounding wall as you can make it. Check the patch by shining a high-intensity flashlight across it. Any uneven patches will stand out like mountains. Turn over your sanding sponge or staple some 150-grit paper to your sanding block.

Continue to sand and check with the light for surface smoothness. Repeat the sanding process with 400-grit paper for the final resurfacing. Decrease the pressure on the sanding sponge or block until you are leaving no scratch marks at all on the spackled patch. Check once more with the flashlight and by touch that the patch is now level with the wall.

Step 5 - Prime the Wall and Paint

rolling paint primer onto a wall

Open windows nearby and shake the can of wall primer well before opening. Stir the primer, pour into a paint tray and apply a thin, even coat with a low-fluff roller to avoid drips. Allow the primer to dry overnight to reduce fumes, and apply the paint of your choice with a brush or roller the next day.

Tackle spackling repairs as soon as possible after damage occurs, to ensure your interior decor always appears at its very best. The more practice you get at spackling, the better your results will look.