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Basic Plastering - how to patch up small holes in your walls

Updated on May 7, 2013

What you need ...

1. Plastering trowel

2. Bucket trowel

3. Wallpaper scraper or plastic spatula

4. Bucket

5. Sponge - car washing sponges are best

6. Dust sheet

7. Plaster

Who can plaster ?

In my opinion , most people over the age of 10 years old, could plaster up small holes themselves without having to call in a professional plasterer. By small holes I mean anything up to tennis ball size holes. In this guide I will try to explain the quickest and easiest way to do this.


First job on any plastering work is to get your dust sheets down . Cover the floor under the area you will be working on. This will save you a lot of trouble scrubbing the carpet clean later. Next job is to get all the loose plaster off the wall, You can use your fingers to do this. Be sure to get all the loose plaster off from around the edges. Next job is to wet the hole with water. Use the sponge for this. Get the insides nice and wet, this will ensure the plaster sticks to the wall and doesn't crack as it dries. You are now ready to mix the plaster.

Type of plaster to use

This depends on the depth of the hole. There are many types of plaster available but for small holes up to 1 inch deep i would recommend using Thistle Multi Finish. There are two bag sizes available in the UK. A small bag will usually be suitable if your just patching small holes.

Mixing the plaster

Usually when mixing plaster you would put water in the bucket first, then add the powder, but for beginners, and when you only need a small amount I would put the plaster in the bucket first. Add about 4 handfuls of plaster for each tennis ball sized hole you need to fill. Next slowly add the water, add the water a bit at a time and mix together using the bucket trowel or wallpaper scraper. For patching you want the plaster fairly thick, similar in consistency to bread doe. Make sure to get all the lumps out of the plaster mix, when your happy with the consistency your ready to go.


You are now ready to start plastering , wet down all your tools using the sponge and wet the hole your about to plaster again. Using the wallpaper scraper , take the plaster straight from the bucket , a bit at a time and start filling the hole with the plaster, don't worry about getting it flat or smooth yet , just keep filling the hole a bit at a time. It is best to fill around the edges first , then fill in the middle. Overfill the hole slightly so the plaster is sticking out. Once the hole is filled clean the wallpaper scraper off with water and go and make yourself a nice cup of tea. Leave the plaster to stiffen up for around 5 minutes .Next take your plastering trowel ( make sure its wet ) hold it horizontally and press against the wall at the bottom of the patch, using the bottom blade of the trowel. Drag the blade upwards over the patch smoothing and flattening the plaster. Keep the blade pressed hard against the wall whilst doing this, using the undamaged wall as your level. Any excess plaster from the hole should come off , onto your trowel. Don't worry about getting the plaster smooth just yet, just try to ensure the hole is fully filled and level with the original wall. Once your happy that the hole is level leave the plaster for another 5-10 minutes to stiffen up again. Clean your trowel while your waiting. After 5-10 minutes take your wet sponge and rub back and forth over the plaster. Sponge all over the patch and around the edges. Clean the wall around the patch if there is any plaster there. Leave for another 5 minutes then sponge it again with the damp sponge. Now using your clean wet plastering trowel drag the bottom blade upwards over the patch again. Press hard against the wall with the blade as you do this. The plaster should be looking smooth now . If not sponge it again and use your trowel again to smooth the plaster. Once the patch is looking good, leave it alone to dry further. Keep an eye on it as the plaster can crack as it dries, If it does crack (it probably will) just rub it again with the wet sponge till the cracks disappear and trowel it again. When the plaster turns darker it is nearly dry. Give it a final trowel with the blade and you're done. Leave for 2-3 days till the plaster turns pink before painting or wallpapering over. Congratulations you can now patch plaster !


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    • profile image

      Vasant Mungara 2 years ago

      This article is really helpful. Patching holes in walls may be an issue for several home owners. I think anyone can read, understand this article and do by themselves the patchup work for a hole-free home. thumbs-up to the writer of this article for great work....

    • profile image

      Lee 2 years ago

      You do not have a clue on how to plasterer. You don't wet the wall down for starters you use pva... And you don't use multi finish on a 1 inch depth.. 2 errors in your first paragraph.. Your an idiot and should not give advise

    • shadyaidy profile image

      Aidy K 3 years ago from Manchester

      Thanks Dale, much appreciated.

    • Inspired to write profile image

      Dale J Ovenstone 3 years ago from Wales UK

      Great hub on plastering repairs Aidy, a vote up & thanks for sharing

      Regards, Dale

    • shadyaidy profile image

      Aidy K 4 years ago from Manchester

      Thanks for your help - all the best to you too :)

    • My Cook Book profile image

      Dil Vil 4 years ago from India

      Here is a guide for you, - this should help you with using the pics on HP. Welcome to HubPages, happy hubbing :) Good luck!

      Feel free to use HP forums for more guidance friend, all the best :)

    • shadyaidy profile image

      Aidy K 4 years ago from Manchester

      Thank you for your comment, this is my first hub and im not sure how to add pictures yet. I was worried about using copyrighted pics .

    • My Cook Book profile image

      Dil Vil 4 years ago from India

      A well written, useful hub. Add some relevant pics to make it more attractive for the readers.