NailsCredit: JerryMorrisknifeCredit: JerryMorrisThe Problem

Most people learn how to fill nail holes with a putty knife. Although putty knives are great tools for home renovators and DIY’ers, they just don’t cut it for effectively filling numerous nail and pushpin holes that end up scattered across a wall. There are a number of reasons putty knives should be avoided.

 1.    They promote use of excess material. When you use a putty knife with spackling or putty, you end up scooping way more than you need to fill a tiny hole.

2.    They retexture your wall. With all that excess putty, you end up filling more than just your hole. The raised texture of your wall that helps hide blemishes and distract the eye gets smoothed over. This looks funny, especially after painting.

3.    They take longer. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as over-tooled. Don’t think that just because you have a nifty tool, your work will be easier or faster. In this case, your hands are your best tools.

badspackleCredit: JM

4.    They require flat surfaces. The flat straight edge of a putty knife limits you to flat surfaces. Now although this seems like a no-brainer, and that all walls are flat, this isn’t necessarily true. Some walls have minor curves or bumps in them, or other imperfections that you don’t want to draw attention to. A slightly incurved portion of wall will be more difficult to fill the wider the blade of the knife is.

 The Easy Fix

No need to spend money on a putty knife when your God-Given tools will work even better. With the putty in one hand, and the other quick at work, your walls will be unholy in no time. Many people use a variety of products to fill holes, but if it’s an interior wall job, then you want Lightweight Spackling. Other kinds of spackling are too wet and heavy. They make a mess and take time to dry before you can paint over your wall. The spackling I use and recommend can be found below. It dries fast, doesn’t shrink or swell, and a little goes a long way. The following steps will guide you through the process of filling holes in preparation for painting.

 1.    Preliminary check. Go around the entire room and make sure nothing is obscuring the work surface. Depending on what caused the holes, there may be raised edges around the hole.

2.    Make holes flush with wall. If there are raised edges around the holes, go around and systematically scrape them off/down with a flat edged tool (this is one good use for a putty knife).

3.    Gather spackle on finger. Take a small scoop of spackle on the tip of your index finger.

4.    Fill holes. Look for groups of holes, and apply spackle over holes in small swift strokes. Fill every hole you find.

5.    Wipe off excess to reuse. Use a clean finger to wipe off raised spackle from the wall. This can be used for other holes. You don’t want spackle anywhere but inside the hole. See the video below.

FingerCredit: JM


cleanCredit: JM

It’s that easy! Keep in mind that you prefer a slight recess or divot to remain where the hole is. This is better than applying too much and having a conspicuous mound or strange wall texture. The paint will fill in and disguise any recessed holes. With this method, your room will be looking brand new after a coat of paint.


Good Luck!


Quick Overview

The Only Thing You Need to Fill Nail Holes

Dap 12141 Fast'N Final Spackling Interior and Exterior
Amazon Price: $5.49 $3.49 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 23, 2014)
This is what I recommend. Very cheap, easy, and currently qualifies for Amazon Prime!