So some angry door knob has knocked a hole in your wall. It's time to strike back!
Here's a quick trick that uses hot glue and a Popsicle Stick to hold a minimal drywall patch and get that hole fixed in a jiffy. This kind of repair is for small holes, and is especially good for walls that have been textured so you can minimize the size of the patched area. In textured walls it can be very hard to mimic the wall texture over the entire area of a larger traditional square patch.
-Pencil and Paper
-Hot Glue Gun and a Glue Stick
-Popsicle Stick or Other Strip of Wood
-Needle Nosed Pliers
-A Chunk of Scrap Dry Wall
-Sand Paper (220 grit)
-A Flat Scraper or Piece of Cardboard to Apply the Joint Compound
(So all the normal stuff for patching the wall + a hot glue gun and a piece of wood)
If you're lucky you'll be able to recover the original chunk of dry wall, but I'll show you how to make a replacement chunk if you were unlucky and yours fell into the wall or was devoured by wild animals.
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Step 1: Trace the Hole
First put a sheet of paper over the hole and rub with a pencil to make a pattern for the hole. If you still have the original chunk you don't need to do this, but it's very handy if you're crafting your own.
Step 2: Size a Popsicle Stick
With your traced hole, go and break a Popsicle stick so that it is about 1" longer than the shortest span across the hole. (The longer end of this broken stick in the photo.) The idea is that you'll want it to extend at least 0.5" past the hole so it can be glued to the back of the hole. Longer is better and will make the patch stronger, but if you make it too long it'll can be hard to maneuver.
You can of course just break this based on the hole itself, but the rubbed template is a great help when cutting the replacement piece of dry wall.
Step 3: Glue the Stick Inside the Wall
Use your finger to make sure the hole is free of loose paper/plaster on the inside of the wall.
Here you can see how the stick is going to be inserted though the hole at an angle.
Put a dab of hot glue on either end of the stick and put the stick though the hole. Then pull it firmly against the plasterboard. Wait a few seconds for the hot glue to firm up. You should try and position it so it's glued to firm paper, avoid places where the paper inside the wall has pulled away from the plaster.
Give it a push to make sure it's stuck firmly in place. Now you have a sturdy wooden back stop for your new replacement piece of dry wall.
Step 4: Shape a Pactch Using Your Traced Template
Use your traced paper template to mark and cut out a chunk of dry wall. It doesn't have to match perfectly because hot glue and your wooden strut will hold it in place even if it's a little small, but having a tight fit will make the patch stronger.
The nice thing about the template is you can go sculpt the dry wall out in the garage, or anyplace where it is more socially acceptable to make a mess with drywall dust.
That's much nicer then doing it in bad lighting crouched behind some door.
Here you see the chunk with just a little more to trim off.
Step 5: Glue in the Patch
Put a dab of hot glue at the center of your Popsicle Stick and press your replacement chunk of dry wall against it. It's best if the chunk ends up being a little bit lower than the wall surface. Push it in and making sure it's level and wait for the hot glue to set. Then you can sand around the edge to remove any bits of paper that might be sticking up.
If your replacement piece is a very poor fit, you can probably put some dabs of joint compound around the edge of the hole before inserting the piece, but if you're using the paper template it should fit reasonably well.
Use some joint compound and scrape a thin coat over your patch. Once that drys you can sand it a bit and your ready to paint!
The Popsicle stick really makes it easy to do these sorts of patches. If one happens to fall inside the wall just go get another one!
This sort of patch is great if the hole is small and you want to minimize the additional damage you have to do to the wall. You can do this fix without getting the area full of drywall dust and you can preserve as much of the original wall texture as possible.
The hot glue works really well because it lets you position the patch piece exactly. You can fiddle with the tilt and the depth and then just wait for the glue to firm up and it's done. Also if you don't happen to have an outlet near the hole itself you can let the gun warm up on some other outlet and it'll still be able to put out glue once you've walked it over to your hole.
Now if only my kids would stop knocking holes in the wall!