DIY: How to patch a hole in plaster wall

Oops! Here’s how to fix that hole in the wall you’ve been hiding.
Oops! Here’s how to fix that hole in the wall you’ve been hiding. Photo Contributed

INDOOR footy, cricket, even jumping on the bed - these were some of my favourite things to do growing up. Now that I think back, I don't know how we got away with it.

I remember one time I kicked a hole in the wall while jumping on mum and dad's bed and covered it with a pillow. I think my sister and I were in bed by 4.30pm that day.

After a while you invent ways to fix these little accidents. By the age of about 15 I was a pro at patching plaster. I could patch and paint a hole before mum and dad got home. That could of been the start of my renovation career.

Nowadays I have it down to a fine art. So here are some simple steps to patch those holes that, let's face it, you've probably forgotten about and just live with now.

It's also handy to have some of these tools and components in your DIY home kit.

Tools required:

  • Screw gun
  • hand saw
  • stanley knife
  • plaster joint knife
  • plaster knife
  • hair dryer
  • patch plaster (check the off cut bin in the trade section of your local hardware store)
  • Multi purpose joint compound
  • liquid nails
  • 30mm screws
  • timber roughly 50mm x 20mm x your hole length.

Step 1: Prep the hole

Ayden Hogan


Remove all the loose plaster from the hole. Inspect the hole for electrical wires and or water pipes. Be especially careful if you see any. We want to cut a bigger straighter hole for the patch piece. So with a ruler, square and pencil, draw a square or rectangle over the hole. You can use something square like a little tile or a square plate. With your plaster knife carefully cut along the pencil line and clean out the cut, you can give the surrounding area a quick rough up sand with your sanding block. Then a wipe with a damp cloth.

Step 2: Prep the patch

Ayden Hogan


With a tape measure and pencil measure your square hole. Now measure, mark and cut a piece of patch plaster to fit into the hole using your Stanley knife.

Step 3: Timber braces

I have some 50 x 20mm timber, but you can use some left over timber to brace the back of the hole. Just cut them 100mm bigger than the vertical side of the hole using a hand saw. Using Liquid Nails, screws and a screw gun, fix the timber braces to the inside of the wall side of the hole. You can fix a screw to the middle of the timber to hold it while you attach them to the wall. Be careful when you screw through the plaster that you don't bury the screw head too much as it will break the plaster and you will have to cut a bigger hole. Slow and steady does the trick.

Ayden Hogan


Step 4: Fix off the patch

Apply some liquid nails to the timber braces and push in the patch piece. Now using your screws and a screw gun, fix the patch piece into the timber braces. Allow 20 minutes before the next step.

Ayden Hogan

Step 5: The compound

Ayden Hogan


Using some joining tape. Tape all the edges of the join, making sure the tape does not overlap. Do this on all four sides. Now we can apply the first load of compound using a plaster joint knife. Really push the compound into the joints, then nice and light, fill the whole area about 1mm thick covering all the tape. The thickest area will be in the middle of the patch and skim off to the edge. It's the first coat so don't worry if it looks bumpy or grainy. After about an hour (you can speed up the process by using a hair dryer on the wet plaster, but try not to let the compound bubble and burn), you will see it has shrunk a bit. Give the whole area a light sand using a sponge sanding block, very lightly and smoothly. Now apply the second coat lightly again, but make sure this time there are no grooves on the wall. Less grooves and grain means less sanding and less coats. You might be able to get away with two coats. If not, repeat the process. Every coat should have a bigger radius.


Ayden Hogan


Step 6: Conceal with paint

Ayden Hogan

Get some paint out and paint your patch. Give the patch a quick wipe with a damp cloth to remove any powder. 

Topics:  the block

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