How to Spackle Drywall

Lead Image for How to Spackle Drywall
  • 1-5 hours
  • Beginner
  • 5-50

Occasionally in the course of routine maintenance on interior walls you will have to spackle drywall. For renters, it is a common task. If you neglect to do it, you could have some of your security deposit withheld when you move out. For homeowners, it is a repair that needs to be done from time to time. Whether it is to fill in holes made in the wall from nails and pushpins or other damage such as cracks, applying spackle is a quick and easy way to make a wall look whole again. When done correctly, you will hardly be able to notice it, unless of course it dries white and your walls are colored. In that case, a simple touch up of paint and the walls will look fine.

Spackling Drywall

After you remove whatever caused holes in the wall such as pins, nails and hooks, you will be left with a lot of unattractive blemishes. The first thing to do is obtain some drywall spackle and a spackle knife. Purchase the kind that dries white. Since many interior walls are white, this is the easiest kind to work with. In addition to the spackle and the knife which is just like a putty knife, have a dish of water and a clean rag.


Scrape a small amount of spackle onto the knife and smear it over the hole you are filling. As you do, run the knife flat against the wall and drag the spackle over the hole. Don’t apply too much, just enough to fill the hole. Dip the clean rag into the jar or dish of water. It should not be saturated. Squeeze it out if it is. Rub the moist rag over the spackled area in a circular motion. There is no need to press too hard. Your goal is to work the spackle in to fill the hole while at the same time making it look like there was never a hole there.

If the wall is white, you should be able to immediately notice your handiwork. Spackle does not take long to dry. Working the spackle in with the towel de-textures the fill-in material. Stand back, and you should not be able to see much difference between the fill and the surrounding. Once satisfied, move on to the next hole. Bigger holes require more spackle to fill them in, but work it in with the moist rag in the same manner.

Filling in Cracks

If there are cracks in the wall, you can use spackle in the same way to fill them. Fill the gap with the material and blend it in to the wall with the moist rag. In this way, both cracks and holes will disappear as if before you very eyes.

If the walls are not white, spackle that dries white will present a bit of a problem. It requires a simple fix. If you have access to the same color of paint used to cover walls, simply use it to touch up the areas you filled in with spackle. Otherwise, match the color as best as you can. Let your eyes be the judge.

Spackling drywall is a common repair that will turn cracked or hole-filled interior walls into partitions that almost look like new.