DIY Fill a Hole in Wood




About: Favorite color=orange. Self-taught techie. Fabric hoarder. Pinterest addict. I enjoy: crafting, blog-stalking, planning/organizing, shopping for unnecessary things, being outside, and playing sports.

Have a hole in a piece of wood or in a door that needs filling? Here's the easiest way to fix it!

I am using my front door as an example for this project.  I replaced all of the hardware and the locks when we moved in.  They were originally brass, but not liking the look, I went with a brushed nickel set.  The holes didn't match up perfectly with the existing ones, so I knew that when I was ready to paint the door, I would have to fill the unused hole. 

Step 1: Get some Wood Filler.  I used Elmer's ProBond Wood Filler, and made sure that it could be painted or stained over.  Cut off the tip of the applicator, and push some of the putty into the hole.

Step 2: Using a putty knife, smooth it over, but not completely flush to the surface of the door.  Since the hole in my door went all the way through to the other side, it was hard to make sure I was keeping as much filler in the hole as possible.  Don't risk using too little, so feel free to over-apply.  Let this sit until it is completely dry.  If your hole doesn't go all the way through to the other side of the piece of wood, you don't have to pack as much on, and you can scrape it off a little so it is more even with the rest of the wood.  Leave the filler to sit until it is dry, referring to the instructions on the filler container if you are unsure of how long to wait. 

Step 3: Once the filler is completely dry, put a mask on so you don't breathe in the dust and sand over the filled hole. You should also really use gloves to protect your hands, and so you don't get splinters.  Make sure that when you are sanding down the wood filler, you follow the grain of the wood.  Sanding in the opposite direction from the wood grain will leave scratches in the wood, which will be visible, especially after painting or staining.

Step 4: When sanding is complete, use a vacuum to get all of the sanding residue off of the wood.  Be more precise than you think, because you don't want any dust to get into your paint or stain.

Full directions with more details available here:

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    5 Discussions


    Question 1 year ago

    Got a 35mm dia x 12mm deep hole in MDF what’s the best filler to use. I need to put screws in it as well.


    2 years ago

    If you need to fill a large hole which goes all the way through, like in the photograph example, place a scrap piece of wood covered with cling film, silver foil or a plastic bag on the underside of the hole and rest the piece which needs filling on top.

    If you then use Ronseal High Performance Wood Filler (mixing the filling compound with the hardener as per the instructions on the tin) you can do the job in one application without worrying about the filler cracking. This filler is strong enough to be be drilled, planed, screwed and suitable for painting and it hardens in 30 minutes (which means by the time you have finished filling the hole, it will almost be ready).

    Push the filler in using your applicator until you you have added enough and the filler sits proud of the top surface.

    You can then remove the scrap and make sure the underside is slightly proud. If not, apply enough so there are no voids. This can be done from the side with the cover, just be careful removing the silver film or plastic and then apply more.

    Then it's simply a case of waiting for it to dry before sanding and then you can paint.

    Good luck.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    To keep the filler from cracking in middle and sinking in, don't try to fill large space at one application. Fill large space in layers, letting filler dry between each application.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Wow. This is pretty much telling how to follow the instructions written on the back of the woodfiller.

    Phil B

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for your Instructable. I have had problems with large wood putty plugs that dry with indentations or with cracks and needed to go back for second or third applications to get them smooth and full.

    I hoped you would show your way to cover the filled portion with a nice wood grain veneer so that the finished product never gives a hint there was once a hole in that place.

    I like the steps you showed at your blog. Many here would enjoy those steps added to this posting.