©2006 Publications International, Ltd.Cut slits from the sides of the hole, then thread a wirethrough a tin can lid and slide it in. Pull the lid flat on the inside of the wall, and hold it in place with a stick.

Tough as it is, drywall can withstand only limited abuse. A door flung open with too much force can produce a doorknob-size hole in the wall. This kind of damage looks bad, but even large holes are easy to fix. The easiest way is to purchase a drywall repair kit. Measure the hole, and visit your local hardware store or home improvement center for a kit. There are various sizes and types for different applications. For example, a drywall patch for a ceiling is thicker than one for a wall. Before you use the kit, remove any loose paper or plaster around the edges of the hole. Then apply drywall patch, following the manufacturer's instructions.

In this article, we'll tell you how to fix both a small and a large drywall hole. We'll start with a small hole.

Fixing a Small Drywall Hole

To make a repair to a small drywall hole without a kit, follow these directions:

Step 1:

Prepare tin can lid that is at least 11/2 inches more in diameter than hole in drywall for backing piece. Use keyhole saw to cut out narrow horizontal slit in wall on each side of hole. Measurement of hole plus both narrow slits should equal diameter of lid so you can insert lid sideways into hole.

Step 2:

Use awl to punch two holes in center of lid. Thread 12-inch piece of wire or string through holes.

Step 3:

Holding ends of wire, slide lid through slit. Still holding wire, pull lid toward you until it's flat against inside of wall. To hold in place, set stick of scrap wood over hole on outside of wall and twist wire tightly over stick. Can lid should be held firmly against inside of wall.

Step 4: Use putty knife to apply premixed drywall patching compound over patch following manufacturer's instructions. (Don't use spackling compound because it shrinks as it dries.) You can also mix plaster of paris with water to make thick paste. Pack compound or plaster into hole against backing and behind stick. Keep compound inside hole, cover backing, and fill slits, but don't spread it on wall surface. Leave patch slightly low, and don't try to level it. Let patch dry until it turns bright white, typically at least 24 hours. When dry, cut string or wire and remove stick.

Step 5: To finish patch, fill it completely with more plaster of paris or drywall patching compound to make patch level with wall surface. Let dry, lightly sand area, prime, and paint.In the next section, we'll get more ambitious and find out how to fix a large drywall hole.