Repairing a wall using homemade materials is possible when the hole is small, the damage is minimal and the wall is constructed of drywall. Stucco, plaster and panel walls are not easily repaired, and even less so using materials lying around the house. If you have a few small holes or dings in a drywall wall, there are a few ways to repair them and prepare the area for a coat of paint.
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A protruding nail in drywall can be an easy repair, if handled properly. Use a flat head hammer to gently tap the protruding nail back into the drywall so its head is even with the wall. As long as the surface of the nail can lie flat against the wall, the nail head can have a layer of primer applied over it and the area can be repainted.
Small nail holes in drywall can be filled in using soap or toothpaste. It sounds bizarre, but the materials dry to form a finish similar to joint compound. Squeeze a small amount of white toothpaste into the hole and smooth over the surface using a putty knife or index card. White bar soap can be used in a similar fashion. Dampen the bar of soap and rub it over the hole until it is filled. Use an index card to remove the excess material.
If a hole in the wall is large, meaning 1 inch or wider in diameter, use a piece of printer paper in conjunction with traditional joint compound. Tape the printer paper over the hole and apply a thin layer of joint compound over the surface of the paper and at least 3 inches beyond the edge of the paper on all four sides. Sand the surface smooth before applying paint.
Homemade Joint Compound
Make your own joint compound. Joint compound is the clay-like material that is used to patch holes, bridge gaps and seal seams in drywall. Mix a tablespoon of flour, a teaspoon of salt and a few droplets of water in a small container. Mix thoroughly until it forms a paste and apply to the hole or crack as you would joint compound. Use a putty knife or index card to remove the excess while it is still wet and allow the rest to dry. The surface can be lightly sanded smooth.
Andrew Leahey has been a writer since 1999, covering topics as varied as technology how-to guides and the politics of genetically modified organisms to African food supplies. He is pursuing his J.D. while renovating an 1887 farmhouse located in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.