I am moving out of rental, and there are some nail holes in the wall. I don't want to use spackle, because it would require me to repaint the walls, and I don't want that.

What is an alternate solution to hide the holes?

  • 3
    Most solutions made for this purpose are relatively cheap. How inexpensive does it need to be? Do you have access to a hardware store? What's your timeframe? Please add more detail.
    – hairboat
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 0:12
  • 2
    Is the problem that you don't want to use spackle, and then have to paint it to match the color of the wall? Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 17:05
  • @MattS. Yes; I don't want to paint to paint or have the nail holes obvious. Commented Dec 13, 2014 at 10:13
  • What color is the wall?
    – apaul
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 23:51
  • If your main concern about the paint is getting it to match, you might be able to get some from the landlord. When I asked at my previous apartment they were happy to provide a small amount of the paint they used so I could do touch-ups myself before moving out.
    – Em C
    Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 16:29

5 Answers 5




  • You probably already have it.
  • A nail hole filled with toothpaste looks less obvious than a nail hole from a distance
  • Very life-hacky, in that special "I remember being a poor student" way


  • A nail hole filled with toothpaste looks pretty obvious up-close. Especially if you're using neon green toothpaste with a red stripe through the middle.
  • Toothpaste isn't actually much cheaper than spackle



  • You can actually buy tubes of spackle that are shaped nicely for filling nail holes
  • It can be painted to match the rest of the wall
  • If your landlord catches you filling the holes, you can claim to actually be fixing them rather than using some dirty college-student trick to avoid losing your deposit.


  • It's not very life-hacky. In fact, it's not very hacky at all. It's sorta what spackle is meant for.

Chewed-up paper


  • Really cheap. You probably already have paper and saliva that you weren't going to use for anything anyway.
  • Lets you pretend to be a paper wasp. Admit it, you always wanted to be a wasp.
  • Super life-hacky.


  • Not going to fool anyone who actually looks at the wall.
  • You're gonna get spit all over your fingers.
  • If your landlord catches you, you can kiss your deposit goodbye.

If your goal is to fill in the hole with a color that matches the paint, without having to actually use any paint. then your best solution is probably going to be either using a bar of soap, or wax from a candle.

As long as you can get the color of the soap or wax to match the color of the wall, no one should be able to tell that it's there unless they happen to touch it.

What you would do is take the bar of soap or wax that matches the color of the wall, and for the soap you can just rub the it around the nail hole to fill it with the shavings, or like with the wax just take a knife and cut a piece to press into the hole.

Both the soap shavings and wax should be malleable enough to shape if you have a textured wall. Allowing you to hide it even more.

If you're having trouble finding soap that matches the right color, you can look for a place that sells homemade or organic soap. They will usually create different colored soaps than the typical white or blue soaps in convenience stores. If you're feeling really crafty, you can melt soap and mix in colors yourself. If you're really adamant about using this method, you can create your own soap.

Wax is easier to find. just buy a cheap candle. But typically you're only going to find white candles if you're looking for the cheap/small ones. Luckily, it's really easy to melt wax and add some food coloring to it in order to get the desired color that you want.

  • An added benefit is that these materials (soap/wax) are also easy to paint over without a trace.
    – Stan
    Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 17:22

Use a squeeze tube of spackle:

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A single tube is enough for several holes and (in the US) costs less than $10. Sand excess and paint over it after it is set.

  1. Take some putty
  2. Stick it in the hole
  3. Get rid of all excess, it should look flush.
  4. Paint over it.
  • Can someone please care to explain their downvote so I can improve my question quality in the future? Thanks!
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 0:19
  • 2
    Someone downvoted both of the answers here that I would personally recommend. I can't think of a good reason why; my working theory is that they're not lifehacky enough for someone's taste. Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 0:24
  • 3
    I think the goal is to avoid paint, since it's really hard to mix paint to match something that's already been painted. Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 17:17

Don't. As someone with several rentals in the family, every landlord has their own way of dealing with nail holes. Fixing them could cost more than leaving them, especially if landlord has to fix your attempt at fixing. Dear god, just leave it.

  • This does not answer the question. The point of hiding the nail holes is so that the landlord does not see them and charge the repairs against the deposit. Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 11:18

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