This was a project I REALLY didn’t want to DIY, but now that I have learned how to patch drywall, I’m awfully pleased that I tried.  My easy step-by-step here.

It has been a bit crazy over here lately…

as you may (or may not know) I work part-time outside of the blog – so essentially 2 jobs – and on top of that I’m a Mom to teenagers… kind of feels like the work never ends most days.  (I know you feel me 👊🏻)

Well, with Covid limiting our options for summer vacay this year, I told the girls that I would put money towards a room makeover for them.  They had to provide me with their ideas, the work involved and a timeline (so that things didn’t get started and never finished) and I would fund the makeover if they did the majority of the work.  The idea was for this to be a keep-em-off-their-phones project, not give myself a 4th job, and ideally, to give them a sense of accomplishment when they were/are finished.

Well, Miss Madison decided she wanted to move her bedroom to the basement. We put a bedroom and bathroom down there years ago and never really used it as anything more than a craft room.  Typical teenager, she wanted more space and more privacy than her current bedroom provided. 🤦🏻‍♀️

She did a great job – she painted the walls and trim herself, with very little help from me, and even steam-cleaned the carpets so everything is fresh and (kinda) new.

But the ceiling was a bit more than a 14 year old could handle.

holes in ceiling

In looking for pipes over the years ex-hubby cut a few holes in the ceiling.

Nine LARGE holes.

In his defence, he covered most of them with vent covers, but no one is going to believe that this room has that much air movement.🤦🏻‍♀️

It was time to bite the bullet and learn how to patch drywall.

How to patch drywall

You will need (these are affiliate links.  For full affiliate disclosure, please see sidebar or bottom of this post.)

  1.  measure your hole   how to patch drywall
  2. cut out a piece of drywall patch (a small piece of drywall they sell at home improvement stores) just larger than the hole.  I used a utility knife to score the paper side of the drywall patch to about 1/8″, then broke the piece out.
  3. Trace your cut piece onto the ceiling.
    How to patch drywall, drywall repair, patching drywall
  4. Use a drywall saw to cut just slightly outside of the line.  Please wear safety glasses; a LOT of dust comes out, particularly if you are working on a ceiling.How to patch drywall, drywall repair, patching drywall
  5. Use ¼” shims (I ripped down some scrap wood to ¼” widths) and attach them inside the hole.  Ideally you want the shims attached to studs if you can, but attaching them to the sides of the drywall itself will do if that’s not possible.   How to patch drywall, drywall repair, patching drywall
  6. Fit your drywall patch into place and screw into the shims.   How to patch drywall, drywall repair, patching drywallSo far so good right?  Now comes the tricky part…
  7. Use drywall putty and smooth it into the seams and screw holes – they should be countersunk slightly.  I have read articles and have seen YouTube videos where people have used drywall tape before puttying but for holes this size, it really wasn’t necessary.   How to patch drywall, drywall repair, patching drywallWe tried a slightly different technique in the above photo (the “California patch”) but it wasn’t quite as user-friendly as the process I’m sharing, so we’ll stick to the beginner’s guide on “how to repair drywall”.
  8. Let the drywall putty dry overnight, sand out any lumps and add more putty where there are recesses.  Repeat until the surface is smooth, finishing with a 220 grit sandpaper.

How to patch drywall, drywall repair, patching drywall

For a smooth ceiling, you can now prime and paint!

This room however had an orange peel ceiling… so we took it an extra step:

9.  add extra drywall putty to the ceiling and stipple it with your finger tips to get soft peaks.  GENTLY wipe your drywall trowel over the stipples to flatten them slightly.  Repeat as necessary to get the orange peel look that best matches your ceiling.

I should tell you that there is an orange peel spray – in a spray-paint type can – that you can use as well.  I did purchase it, but we found that my Step-Dad had the SKILLZ to do a better job by hand.

How to patch drywall, drywall repair, patching drywall

I don’t have an after photo of all of the patches, but trust me when I say that for a beginner just learning how to patch drywall, you can just barely see the difference, and it’s certainly better than laying in bed and looking up at 9 holes in the ceiling.

Not nearly as bad as I’d feared – and if I can do it, then you can too!


Don’t worry, the bedroom isn’t done… a new bed should be arriving next week and I’ll post the final “after” photos then.

BTW – the tie-dye look of the carpet?  That was because I thought adding a “bit of bleach” to my carpet cleaner “couldn’t hurt”, particularly since the basement carpet had a urine stain on it from our aging dog.

It can.

In fact, bleach and the ammonia from urine actually makes a mild mustard-gas-type combo… which burns your eyes and lungs (guess how I know this?)

Trust me on the drywall repair, NOT on the “How to clean your carpet”.
Have a great one!

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