Where drywall anchors can't be used (for example, where only the screw holes themselves are visible through holes in a panel covering the drywall).

I've seen questions covering stripped screw holes in wood, metal or plaster, but nothing specific to drywall. Does the wood glue and toothpick method work here, or is another method recommended?

  • A photo might help... do you mean there is a wood panel over top of the drywall? If so I think you could put an anchor through that. – UuDdLrLrSs Dec 25 '19 at 13:35
  • There's a plastic panel in this case. One I preferably don't want to drill into. – Market12 Dec 25 '19 at 14:17
  • 1
    banana peel rivets might work here if you can find some long enough, – Jasen Dec 25 '19 at 21:00
  • can you temporarily remove the plastic panel? – Jasen Dec 25 '19 at 21:03
  • Hot glue gun? Maybe use the soft melt sticks, so the screw would penetrate the plug easier without spinning it in the drywall. – Charles Dec 25 '19 at 23:36

Drywall without anchors has very little holding power. There really isn't a method to repair stripped holes in it either. You could insert a toothpick in the hole and hold it in place while you screw in the screw and the screw would hold but not with any power. You could also use a larger screw which would cut into new drywall. None of these will give you any holding power. Using an anchor of some sort is your best bet so you don't have to go through this again.

  • Do you see any merit to using wood glue with those tooth picks or does that not bond well to the gypsum in the drywall? – Market12 Dec 25 '19 at 14:27
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    @Market12 It would bond to more than one toothpick but it won't bond to the drywall with any type of gripping force. – JACK Dec 25 '19 at 14:32
  • Sounds like OP needs a drywall anchor that will fit through a relatively narrow hole, and widen out on the other side. This may require a thinner screw to make space for the anchor. – Criggie Dec 26 '19 at 11:41

When you "strip" a drywall hole, most likely had too much weight with either

  1. A regular screw without an anchor
  2. A cheap plastic "split" anchor

A toggle bolt (the gold standard in anchors) can work around the problems created by both by

  1. Widening the hole
  2. Straddling the hole

toggle bolt

Does the wood glue and toothpick method work here?

No. Wood glue is designed to work by gluing wood to wood, not wood to gypsum. Toothpicks work by gripping the surrounding material (wood, concrete, brick, etc). Since gypsum isn't a sturdy material internally, a toothpick would simply tear open the hole more.


Depending on how much damage the stripping has done, you may be able to repair the hole with a plastic wall plug, and then screw into that. Alternatively, drill a large enough hole through the panel+drywall to insert a spring toggle wall anchor.


If there is space between the drywall and you are prepared to make a larger hole in both the drywall and the item you are fixing to it you could use a spring toggle in conjunction with a penny washer.

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