What is needed
- plastic wall anchor
- awl or Philips screwdriver
When to use DIY plastic drywall anchor
Use a plastic wall anchor when you want to DIY and hang a picture or other item on hollow drywall, or a hollow door, or ceiling, mainly if there are no wood studs or beams behind the surface. The anchor will provide the gripping power that you just can’t get with nails or a screw alone. The plastic wall anchor is made with a hollow center that expands when the screw is tightened into it. This pushes the plastic wall anchor against the drywall or other material with enough friction that it stays in place.
Select the correct DIY plastic drywall anchor
Estimate the weight of the DIY item you want to hang. A plastic anchor is best for reasonably lightweight items, such as thirty pounds or less. Ponder whether there will be consistent force on the anchor. Mounting a towel bar, as an example, a larger anchor is needed than if it were a picture frame of equal weight. Select a ribbed plastic drywall anchor for added strength. DIY plastic drywall anchor small packages, with the matching screws, are frequently sold in most places, although if you go to a hardware store, you can usually locate the wall anchors and screws as single items for sale.
Mark spot for plastic drywall anchor installation
Measure as required or use a template provided by item manufacturer designed for mounting. Mark on the wall the placement of the anchor with an awl or pencil.
Push awl or Philips screwdriver to punch hole for anchor.
Use an awl or Philips screwdriver to punch the hole for the anchor. Choose awl or screwdriver with a diameter just slightly smaller than the diameter of the anchor. Look at the anchor and note where the inside line of threads are, choose that as guide for determining size of screwdriver for hole.
Hold awl or screwdriver level and push with heel of hand on handle of awl/screwdriver. If you are not strong enough, you can use a hammer or mallet to gently tap in the awl/screwdriver. Again, you want to make a hole in the drywall that’s slightly smaller than the plastic anchor.
If hole you punch is too small, simply rotate awl/screwdriver a few times around the hole to enlarge to the desired diameter.
Insert the anchor with thumb and fingers
Use your thumb and fingers to press the anchor into the hole you punched in the drywall surface. If necessary gently tap the head of the plastic anchor lightly with the handle of the awl/screwdriver or a hammer until it is flush with the wall (the plastic anchor has a rim that should easily push into the drywall surface making it flush with wall surface). Note: Enlarge the hole slightly (see step above) instead of trying to force the anchor. If the anchor fit is too tight, the anchor will crook or break, and you’ll need to start over with a new plastic anchor. If so, you will need to use a flathead screwdriver or the claw end of a hammer to softly take out the anchor.
Watch the video above Threaded Wall Anchors Vs. Plastic Wall Anchors if you have a future problem with plastic wall anchors pulling out.
Check installation and finish
Check that the anchor fits tightly and flush to wall (see note above). You should not notice any spaces between the plastic anchor head and the wall surface. If so, simply fill the spaces with drywall patch, letting it patches dry completely before hanging any weight off the plastic anchor, or you can simply take out the anchor as described above and replace it with a larger anchor. Place and finger-tighten the screw in the anchor, then use a screwdriver to tighten the screw into the anchor. Do not over-tighten.
Now go hang that item from the plastic wall anchor screw.
J Carter Howald, Architect
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