To me, this task falls under the annoying-but-necessary category before painting a wall. However, there are a few tricks and tools to make this job so much easier. Today, I’m sharing my favorite all in one tool to fill nail holes in drywall.

My favorite tool to use

I’ve tried a bunch of different things but always go back to my tried and true: 3M Small Hole Repair Applicator Tool. This tool comes with the spackle, putty knife and sanding pad. I do recommend grabbing a small piece of 180 grit sandpaper though as the sanding pad tends to get a little gunked up after a while.

my favorite tool to fill nail holes in drywall

It is suitable for filling in nail holes up to 3 inches in diameter which is pretty sizeable! This all in one tool makes the job so much easier and less messy, in my opinion. You can buy this at Walmart, Amazon, Michael’s and home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot.

how to fill nail holes in drywall

With tiny holes, you can just rub a bit of this spackle in them with your finger and you are done! No sanding required.

how to fill nail holes in drywall, step by step

Larger holes take a bit more finesse. Follow the steps below.

Step 1: Sand

how to fill nail holes in drywall

First thing you want to do is sand the hole a bit to remove loose drywall and ragged edges.

step 2: Apply Spackle

how to fill nail holes in drywall, step by step

Squeeze a bit of spackle into the hole. Make sure the spackle comes out even or over the surrounding wall.

step 3: Use putty knife

how to fill nail holes in drywall, step by step

Use the putty knife on the applicator tool to smooth the spackle as even with the wall as you can.

step 4: allow it to dry

Let it dry completely! Don’t try to sand it before it’s fully dry.

step 5: sand

how to fill nail holes in drywall, step by step

After it’s dry, use the 180 grit sandpaper to sand down the spackle until it’s smooth and completely even with the wall. You can also use the sanding pad on the applicator tool if it isn’t too gunked up yet.

how to fill nail holes in drywall, step by step

step 6: paint

Final step! Paint over your spackled nail holes and watch them disappear!

how to fill nail holes in drywall

Common Mistakes

Not putting enough spackle in the hole

If you don’t fill in the hole with enough spackle, you’ll have a dent in your wall that obvious to the eye. The way to fix this is to fill the hole again following the steps above.

overfilling the hole

On the contrary, you can create a dang mess of the hole if you overfill it – to the point where the spackle spreads far beyond the hole. The smaller and more precise, the better. If you do end up overfilling, just be sure to sand it very well before painting. Touch the wall surface with your hands to ensure it’s smooth.

Sanding before it’s dry

You have to make sure the spackle is completely hardened and dry to the touch before sanding. If you try to start sanding before its fully dry, the spackle will fall off in clumps and the hole won’t fill in completely. (Trust me, I’ve been there.)

Not sanding enough

how to fill nail holes in drywall, step by step

You’ll see a bump or raised area in the final result if you don’t sand it down enough until smooth and even with the wall. If this happens, you’ll have to sand it down again and repaint this area.

I’m happy to share my favorite tool with y’all. It makes it super easy to get near professional results with your painting projects! The more you do this, the better you will get it at it. But don’t sweat these minor imperfections. Nothing is ever perfect. When in doubt, go matte with your wall paint as this hides the most imperfections.

best tool to fill nail holes in drywall

Karen Sloan

Karen Sloan is the founder, editor and syndicated content writer of She offers hints of inspiration for everyday living, including home ideas, DIY projects and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared on Google News, MSN, Pioneer Woman, Apartment Therapy, and Bustle, among others.