How to Patch Sheet Rock

Phone jacks.

They were EVERYWHERE! I’m talking two-per-room-one-per-bathroom everywhere.  Seriously?  Couldn’t afford to miss one phone call?

Landlines being a thing of the past, I wanted the things out and assumed their removal would be another job for our fix-it guy…until he showed me the trick behind patching holes in sheet rock.

Fifteen successfully patched holes later, I felt like the cleverest gal in the home improvement world.

Fifteen months later, the insulation specialists came in and cut six more holes in our walls.

Sigh!!!  A homeowner’s work is never finished.

Put out with having to add another chore to our already-long list, I deliberately ignored the holes all winter long.  “I’ll fix them in the spring,” I growled to myself.

By “spring” I guess I meant “Labor Day” because I woke up on Monday with a fresh determination to finish up old and unfinished projects, starting with those confounded holes!

Grabbing my tools and materials, I got to work and was done in less than an hour.  Now, was that so bad?

If you, too, need to patch your walls, but are not aware of the “clever trick,” here’s how to do it….


Materials You Will Need*:

1. Scraps of sheet rock (you don’t need very much)

2. Razor blade

3. Object that is roughly the shape/size of the hole (for tracing)

4. Joint compound or spackle

5. Paint scraper

6. Clean rag

*When you live in a constant state of home repair, you tend to have all of the above on hand.

Step 1: Making the Patch

-Determine the dimensions of the hole to be patched.  In my case, I had round holes, and a 4″ ramekin matched perfectly.

-Using a razor blade, cut out a square of sheet rock a little bigger than the hole you are patching.

-Place tracing object in the center of the square of sheet rock, and trace around it with a razor blade.  Careful!

-Carefully cut slits around the shape, but do not cut the shape itself!

-These slits will allow you to cleanly break the excess away from your shape:

This next part is important!  Carefully peel away the excess pieces, leaving the paper underneath intact.  That paper is part of your patch!

Step 2: Applying the Patch

-Mix a small amount of joint compound with just enough water to make it the consistency of loose peanut butter.  Smooth out as many lumps as possible.

-Joint compound will dry and thicken as it sits so only prepare it right before you need it.  If it gets a little stiff while you are working, stir in a little more water.

-Spread a thin layer of compound on the paper border around the raised shape:

-Insert the raised shape of the patch into the hole until it is flush with the wall and smooth the edges of the paper onto the wall, pressing out any bubbles:

Here’s the tricky part: Smooth over the patch as uniformly as possible with more compound.  (Think of it as icing a cake.)  Make sure to cover up any signs of paper.

-Wait about 10 minutes and then carefully smooth any large ridges with a damp towel, making the perimeter of the patch as smooth with the wall as possible.  That way, you don’t have an obvious raised spot on your wall.

I prefer this method to sanding because, let’s face it, sanding sucks!  (Not to mention messy.)

3. Paint the Patch

-Allow patch to dry completely before painting.  Trust me, wait.  You will avoid a big, frustrating mess.

There!  You just patched a wall.  Now kick your feet up, and admire your cleverness.

Happy Patching!


For more inspiration on getting the job done, head over to Pancake’s and French Fries for the weekly William Morris Project!


11 thoughts on “How to Patch Sheet Rock

  1. And by spring I meant Labor Day…..oh, this made me laugh out loud. Not AT you. Totally with you. I so get it!
    This of the kind of job that holds no glamour, but makes you feel amazingly competent.

  2. This is full of awesome: there is a patch I did in the bathroom 16 years ago when we first moved into our apt. Now I’ve got the tutorial to go back and do it the right way!

  3. How Clever!!!! I too have the crazy amount of phone jacks/ cable tv outlets, 3 per wall in places!!! Some of them are actually connected to……NOTHING! Yep, just a hole in the wall with a plate over it, no actual wires or anything going on back there. (old house here too…. wonder what was going on way back then that made them think to put so many of these on all the walls….so weird.) Anywho-Patching time….I think so!
    PS- Love the new Owl background! Adorable! Happy Weekend!

    • Ha! That is so funny–our jacks were attached to nothing either. As were some of our electric outlets. So goofy. Vow to patch those walls, tell your friends you will patch those walls, remind yourself you will patch those walls and who knows…you might actually get around to it. ha ha 😉 Thanks for reading!

  4. Well that is just really smart right there!

    We built out our guest house almost entirely ourselves, then drywalled our mud room, and I have to say that we missed the trick about cleaning up the joint compound while it was still damp. That would have been so much better than sanding! Will have to remember that for next time. Although if you’re doing wall joints, you can become pretty proficient and not even need to sand it if you do enough of them. 😉

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