How to Repair a Small Scratch or Minor Bump in Drywall


Inevitably, the time will come when you need to repair a small scratch or minor bump in drywall. A sharp object (corner of a picture frame, edge of a ladder) is dragged against a wall and leaves a small scratch in the drywall. Or, while misguiding that extra heavy dresser in place, a bump was made in the wall.

This kind of thing happens to us all. Fortunately repairing a small scratch in drywall and repairing a bump in drywall are both nearly painless tasks. Here’s a step by step on how to get the job done.

How to Repair a Small Scratch in Drywall

Minor damage, scratch, to drywall surface.

  1. Prepare surface. Scrape the area clean and level with a putty knife.
  2. Apply compound. Put a small amount of light weight spackling paste on the putty knife. Cover the scratch, and a small area around the scratch, with the spackling paste. Use a thin coat of spackling paste. Let dry and repeat if necessary.
  3. Finish scratch. Finish the small drywall scratch by using a sanding sponge to create a smooth surface. Be absolutely sure that the small scratch repair area is completely dry before applying paint or drywall texture. If painting, be sure area is free of dust, and apply a primer for best results.

Tools and Materials to Repair a Small Scratch in Drywall

  • Spackling paste (light weight spackling paste is usually the best choice)
  • Putty knife
  • Sanding sponge
  • Primer (if applicable)
  • Paint (if applicable)

How to Repair a Minor Bump in Drywall

Spackling a minor dent in drywall wall.

  1. Apply tape to bump. Use a sharp utility knife to “clean up” the area before taping- removing any stray paper. Measure and cut at least two pieces of self adhesive fiberglass mesh tape (often referred to simply as “Fiber Mesh Tape.”) Be sure tape is long enough to cover the drywall bump and extend onto surrounding drywall by at least one to two inches. Cover the drywall bump by making an “X” with the tape. Tip: Cut tape using a utility knife with a sharp, clean edge.
  2. Apply compound and finish. Using a wide putty knife, fill the drywall bump with drywall compound, by working the compound into the mesh tape. Feather compound carefully, well beyond the tape edge. Let dry and lightly sand. Repeat until drywall bump is filled. The compound will be slightly higher than the wall surrounding it at this point. Sand with a sanding sponge until repair area blends seamlessly with surrounding wall. Be absolutely sure that the repaired bump area is completely dry and free of dust before applying paint or drywall finish. If painting over your repaired drywall bump, take the time to prime the area for optimum results.

Tools and Materials to Repair a Minor Bump in Drywall

  • Fiberglass mesh tape (comes in rolls of various sizes)
  • Utility knife with sharp blade
  • Joint compound
  • Wide putty knife
  • Sanding sponge
  • Clean rag
  • Primer (if applicable)
  • Paint (if applicable)


There’s just no getting around it; accidents happen. As a homeowner, learning how to repair a small scratch in drywall and repair a minor bump in drywall is practical skill to acquire. If you’re a renter, learning these skills may help save your security deposit from a beating. Take your time, and do the job right. Soon, you’ll forget that small drywall scratch or minor drywall bump ever existed.

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