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Surgically Patch a Hole – A How To

Learning how to surgically patch a hole over a decorative finish is an invaluable skill. Pierre Finkelstein of Pierre Finkelstein Institute of Decorative Painting shows you how to patch a ding, divot or in this case, a pretty major scar in the finish.

Things to remember:

  • Be SURGICAL in every step, otherwise the patch will end up doubling in size
  • Don’t rush the patching compound – sometimes we use a hair dryer to speed up the drying, but cracking is possible as well as trapping moisture under a dry layer.

HOW TO FIX

Use our step-by-step instruction below

MATERIALS NEEDED:

Here is a list of the tools & supplies you will need to achieve this technique.  Supplies available at fauxbrushes.com are linked below and listed at the bottom of the page.

  • 2 inch flexible metal blade
  • Sharp knife
  • Fast-drying patch (ready-patch, bondo, etc.)
  • EZ-45 patching compound
  • Sandpaper
  • Shellac
  • A small brush for shellac
  • Blue Painters Tape (orange core)
1

REMOVE THE DAMAGED WALL

STEP 1 – REMOVE THE DAMAGED WALL: Use your sharpest blade to carefully cut out the damage. Cut on the angular pattern is desirable.

Gently pull out the damaged area.

2

MASK OFF THE DAMAGED AREA

STEP 2 – MASK OFF THE DAMAGED AREA: Use at least 1.5 inch blue tape to mask off the hole. 

IMPORTANT! Leave a small area of undamaged substrate uncovered by the tape so the patching material can adhere to it.  Burnish the tape nicely to prevent bleeding.

3

PATCH THE AREA

STEP 3 – PATCH THE AREA: Now it’s time to patch. Use a fast-drying patching material.  This layer will do 90% of the work of patching the hole.  Load the putty knife with a conservative amount of putty and apply to the patch.

Try to completely fill the patch, but also try not to OVERFILL it.  Let dry.

4

LET DRY AND SAND

STEP 4 – LET DRY AND SAND:  Let the patching compound dry completely.  Sand with a 150 grit sandpaper to cut through the dried compound.  Remove the tape and use a 320 grit sandpaper to carefully sand any ridges caused by the tape.

5

RE-TAPE AND PATCH AGAIN

STEP 5 – RE-TAPE AND PATCH AGAIN: Re-tape around the patch again leaving a small area of un-patched substrate so the patching compound can adhere to it.    Then burnish the tape.

For the second patch, use a powdery, easy sanding compound like EZ-45.  Apply a generous but clean final layer.

Allow to dry completely. Sand with 320 grit sandpaper and then a 500 grit sandpaper.

Remove the tape and carefully sand any small ridges down with the 500 grit sandpaper.

6

PROTECT AND FINISH

STEP 6 – PROTECT AND FINISH: Using a small brush, apply a coat of clear shellac to the patch.

COMPLETED FINISH

Now the patch is ready for painting. While this method is time consuming and a bit tedious, it will And now your patch is ready for painting.  This method is tedious but make a huge difference in the quality of the touch-up!

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