I was installing a metal drywall anchor for the first time, and accidentally over tightened it. Now it isn't tight on the wall, and is unusable. I can not remove the screw from the wall, and am worried about damaging my wall. The screw itself is flush with the anchor, and it won't move no matter what direction I screw it. The anchor is similar to this:

enter image description here

How do I remove it from my wall so that I can try to install it again without damaging my wall?

  • Cut the head off, push it into the wall, and let it drop. Then fit a new one. – Criggie Apr 24 '20 at 2:47

If the anchor has been overtightened and is now loose in the wall, it cannot be salvaged. The plaster in the wall (or the drywall) has been pulverized and will not hold this anchor or any other.

You need to remove the anchor and the screw.


Based on new information from the Original Poster, the anchor is a molly type that mushrooms behind the drywall. The best way to remove these is to push them in rather than pull them out.

Insert an awl or a very narrow screwdriver alongside the anchor, pushing toward the hollow in the wall. Do this repeatedly around the circumference. You are basically crushing the little bit of plaster that is hold the collar of the anchor on the surface of the wall. You shoUld then be able to gently push the anchor into the wall hollow where it will drop into the bottom if the cavity.

If you have not damaged the area too much, you may be able to replace the drywall anchor with a strap toggle type anchor.


The legs on this anchor slide to move the crossbar parallel to them. The crossbar is slid into the hole and the legs are then adjusted so that the crossbar is now perpendicular (but parallel to the inside surface of the wall. The front plate on the toggle is then slid tight to the wall and the extra legs are snapped off. The hanging item is then secured by a bolt that goes through the crossbar.

If the hole from the original anchor is much bigger than the toggle diameter, you probably need to patch the hole and move to a different, sound section of the wall and start again.

This answer discusses a range of mounting methods.

In general, I try to avoid molly type anchors because they are prone to the very problem you experienced.

 The links and images are for illustration purposes only and are not endorsements
  • @AsherJohnson I have edited the answer and removed my comments which only served to confuse. You might want to remove your comments as well. – bib Feb 5 '14 at 20:29
  • As I said before though, there is a base that is between the screw and the anchor that is about 2" wide. I would have to make a pretty big hole to get it to push through. – Asher Johnson Feb 5 '14 at 21:19
  • You may be able to back the screw out by inserting the blade of a kitchen knife under the head and wedging it outward while loosening the screw. Otherwise you may need to saw or grind off the head of the screw. – bib Feb 5 '14 at 21:45
  • I figured it out. The surface of the anchor broke off from the rest of it, so I had to pull it out a little bit to grip it with pliers then I could unscrew. – Asher Johnson Feb 5 '14 at 23:58

You tap it into the wall (I use a phillips screw driver and hit with hammer if I can find one of the 6 hammers I own) and put a little bit of spackle or mud over it.

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