A quick trick for smooth nail-fills

The most common repairs that walls need before repainting is the fixing of small holes made by pictures or shelves. Whether you’re redecorating or staging, there are some easy DIY steps you can take to make sure that your wall looks smooth and gorgeous when you’re done.

To illustrate these steps, I’m using a personal redecorating project I did last summer. We had a large picture wall collage (also called a gallery wall) against a vibrant colour, but with the addition of some new furniture and the changing use of the space as a place to put on boots and shoes, we needed to rethink both colour and style.

The original picture wall

So, here is a step-by-step guide to help you get the best results:

First, prepare the wall

  1. Remove all the pictures, shelves, nails and screws.
  2. Wipe down the wall and trim with a dry or damp cloth to remove dust and cobwebs. If your wall is in a kitchen or bathroom, brush your fingers gently along the surface to feel for grease or soap build up (grease looks shiny and soap is slightly sticky). Remove buildup with TSP all purpose cleaner or soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
  3. Remove switch plates. This is an opportunity to inspect them and clean or replace them.img_20160702_120510135

Filling the holes – a quick and easy tip for professional results

Tools: a hammer, trowel, spackle, sand paper, paint brush and roller.

When you remove the nail, a small lip will form in the wall. If you fill it at this point, there will be a bump on the wall.

Using a hammer, tap the hole to create a small dent or crater. Do not hit hard enough to break the wall. The goal is to create a small indent where there may previously have been a slight protrusion around the hole:

Like this!

Woman bashes wall with hammer by accident

Not like this!

Fill the dent with spackle. Don’t let it build up on the wall. Once the compound is in the hole, smooth it with a trowel. Once the spackle is dry, sand it smooth with the sandpaper (about 150-220 grit) or a fine sanding sponge. It will end up looking like this:img_20160702_120501444

Now you’re ready to prime and paint! By taking the time to indent and fill the holes, your freshly painted wall will look great!

The finished wall


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Whether you're home staging or redecorating, painting is one of the best budget friendly ways to get a new look. Make sure your fresh colour looks professional by preparing your walls and filling the nail holes!


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