How to Fill Nail Holes in Walls Without Painting

How to Fill Nail Holes in Walls Without Painting

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If you have nail holes in your walls, you might not know how to fill them. Sure, some people might just paint over them, but maybe you don’t want to paint or can’t paint, for whatever reason. Therefore, today we’re going to talk about all of the different ways on how to fill nail holes in walls without painting. There are actually many different ways to do this, so let’s take a look.

9 Best Ways to Fix Nail Holes In Walls Without Painting

If you need to fill nail holes in a wall it can often be quite a hassle to paint over them. Today we are going to discuss nine alternatives to fixing nail holes. Which method you choose really depends on what your final result needs to be and what you plan on doing afterward.

1. Painter’s Putty

Painter's Putty One of the very best products to use to fill nail holes without painting is known as painter’s putty. Painter’s putty can be used to fill gaps and cracks on surfaces, nail holes, and many other small holes too. Of course, this is something that you would use on walls, such as drywall.

However, it’s obviously not something that you will want to use on wood, at least not without painting it afterward.

The good thing about painter’s putty is, however, that it is specifically designed to be painted over. Yes, here we are talking about how to fill nail holes without painting, although knowing that painter’s putty is an option you have when paint is involved is still good. Painter’s putty is also very fast acting and easy to use.

2. Spackle

Spackle Another product that you can use to fill nail holes in walls is spackle. Spackle is somewhat similar to painters’ putty, although there are some noticeable differences. Spackle is also somewhat similar to joint compound, although spackle is typically used for smaller surface repairs, whereas joint compound is used when drywall is first installed.

Spackle is a decent product to use for filling relatively large holes and dents in walls. One major benefit of spackle is that it dries much harder than regular painter’s putty, and is, therefore, more durable. However, the issue with spackle is that you can’t really paint over it afterward. Yes, it will take on some paint, but not as well as painter’s putty.

3. Joint Compound

Joint Compound Yet another product that you can use to fill small nail holes in walls is joint compound. As mentioned above, this substance is used when drywall is first installed. It is placed in between the various drywall panels to properly seal and join them together. Now, although this product is generally used when drywall is first installed, it is also something that can be used for relatively minor wall repairs.

Just keep in mind that joint compound may take up to 24 hours to dry, require multiple coats, and does sometimes shrink. However, it is very easy to use, and all you have to do is use a putty knife to smear it into the holes. Joint compound is also beneficial because it’s relatively easy to sand and paint after the job is completed.

4. Glue

Glue If you are just looking to do a quick fix, something you can try doing is using some good old Elmer’s glue with a Q-tip. You can just use that Q-tip to smear as much glue into the hole as possible, and then let it dry.

Now, Elmer’s glue will probably shrink a little bit, so you might have to apply several layers as it dries and shrinks. However, it is of course extremely easy to use and very cost effective.

Just keep in mind that while Elmer’s glue will be water resistant for some time, it’s not totally waterproof or very durable.

This is something you would use as a quick fix. Also, do keep in mind that due to the consistency and nature of Elmer’s glue, you won’t really be able to paint over it, so it should really only be used for white walls.

5. Toothpaste

Toothpaste Another quick fix that some people might take advantage of is filling nail holes in walls with toothpaste. Now, of course, toothpaste is not very long lasting. It’s going to dry out rather quickly, it will shrink, and it will start to crumble. However, it does make for a good quick fix if you just need to fill some nail holes.

Toothpaste will dry rather hard, however, so it might last for a couple of years. Just don’t expect it to last for an extremely long amount of time, especially if harsh temperatures and moisture are involved. Moreover, using toothpaste is generally best done with white walls, as it will the colors will typically match the best.

That said, toothpaste does come in many different colors, so you might even be able to do some color matching. Remember, here we are talking about how to fill nail holes without painting, so you do want to match that color as closely as possible, especially if you expect your job to last for some time.

6. Baking Soda and Liquid Glue

Baking Soda Another option at your disposal is using a combination of baking soda and liquid glue. Yes, here you can use Elmer’s glue, although you could also use something like a two-part epoxy. Two-part epoxy is likely going to dry clear, but the addition of baking soda will make it more white than anything else.

On that note, the addition of baking soda into the glue will also allow it to be a bit more durable. This fix is going to be a bit longer lasting than using just glue alone. You just have to make a really thick paste out of the glue of your choosing and the baking soda, and then scrape it into the hole using a putty knife.

Of course, due to color matching, you are going to want to make some choices here. Something you could try doing is putting some food coloring into that mixture, which could help get a more accurate match.

7. Soap

Soap Another neat trick to fill nail holes in walls is to use a bar of soap. Now, this is going to be one of the shortest lasting fixes out there, because that soap isn’t going to last for a long time.

However, you can use a bar of soap and then simply scrape it back and forth over the hole until the hole has been filled. This will allow for a quick fix in the event that you want to do an actual repair job in the future.

This is not something you would do if you plan on having it last. What’s cool about soap, however, is that it can technically take on paint if needed, although if you have a white wall, you can also just use white soap. Moreover, there are a variety of soap bar colors out there, so that’s something to take advantage of as well.

8. Caulk

Caulk If you have small nail holes where the ceiling meets the wall, then caulk might be a good option. The wall is already slightly indented at the ceiling, so you probably won’t notice any divots. However, you do need to be aware that caulking will shrink, and therefore leave a small hole or divot behind.

Yes, caulk will last for quite a long time, and it’s fairly durable too, even waterproof, but it might not look the best. The issue with caulking is also that it is fairly hard to paint over. Therefore, white caulk works best for white walls, but if you have colored walls, then this is not a particularly good option.

9. Glue and Wood Shavings

Glue If you happen to have wooden walls, then you want to fill those walls with wood glue and wood shavings. You want to make a mixture out of very fine wood shavings, possibly even sawdust, mix it with the glue, and then scrape this mixture into the hole.

Due to the brown color that this mixture will produce, you don’t want to use it for white walls or drywall, but it is the perfect option for wooden walls. Just make sure that you color match the wood shavings with the color of the wall that you have.

Mistakes to Avoid, Tips and Tricks

Lastly, here are some tips to make the process easier:

  • Something to keep in mind is that some of the fixes listed above are rather permanent and some aren’t. Which one of these you use really depends on whether or not you plan on doing a real repair later on down the road.
  • Another important thing to keep in mind here is that, if the wall is in a high-traffic area that also sees plenty of moisture, you will want to use a product that is relatively water resistant.
  • for the best looking results, you do really want to pay attention to color matching.


There you have it, nine different ways to fill nail holes in walls without having to paint. That said, some of the options listed above do come with the possibility of painting afterward.