I’m attempting to hang a 12.5kg mirror on plasterboard using a French cleat fixing. The studs are in the wrong place, so I’ve used three molly bolts. Unfortunately one is spinning (perhaps overtightened?). Moreover, I’m not confident that the other two are properly tight on the other side, as I don’t know what I’m looking for.

Would it be possible for me to neatly remove the bolts and replace them in the same spot with others (otherwise the mirror won’t be positioned correctly). I’m thinking of using snap toggles instead, but I don’t know if this is excessive for 12.5kg.


  • Can you just push them through into the void? then put new ones in? – Solar Mike Sep 20 at 21:48
  • That would be my first idea. However, for the one that is spinning, I need to first somehow get it out (the screw won’t budge) and then I’m worried I’ll have damaged the plaster. Will it still be strong enough to take a new fixing in the same place? – Amber.92 Sep 20 at 21:57
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    If you hold the outer edge of the "nut" with pliers, perhaps needle-nose, does the bolt still spin without backing out? – DrMoishe Pippik Sep 20 at 22:11
  • I agree with DrMoishe, try to grip the edges of the anchor flange and tighten it more (to make the anchor grip). Then, whilst still gripping the flange, unscrew the screw. Back in the day, good quality mollys came with a special little spanner that fit into holes in the flange to keep it from spinning while setting the anchor or otherwise screwing in/out of it. Now it's all Chinese junk... – Jimmy Fix-it Sep 20 at 23:30
  • If you just push the molly through that will leave a large hole, I try to unscrew Molly’s then push them in so they can then be pulled out. sound crazy? There are usually 4 thin strips of metal that flair out when a molly is tightened unscrewing the screw if you can then pushing in on the screw can straighten the tabs enough so it may be able to be removed. I recommend EZ anchors these work as well as Molly’s and can be removed (in some cases they can even work where a molly is punched through). There are metal and plastic ez anchors different sizes. I have no connection but really like them – Ed Beal Sep 21 at 1:04

If the wall's a bit damaged already, consider going all the way, cutting out some drywall/plaster, and then installing a wooden backing board between studs.

You'll then need to patch the drywall/gib and then tape and plaster/mud the joins. This is followed by sanding and more sanding, then priming and painting (or whatever the finish is)

On the plus side, the work will be at a convenient height above the floor, which is comfortable. Your plastering work will end up mostly behind the mirror too, so harder to see imperfections. And the final product will probably hold much more weight safely.

You might also use this access to run some power or ethernet cables to the room through the wall, or even add some noise-reduction/insulation to the accessible voids.

This is more for TVs that can get really heavy, and may be slightly overkill for a mirror. But you'll know its done right and will last for decades.

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