Knowing which spackle tools to use is helpful when you are getting ready for a painting job. Spackling is applied to dents, dings and holes in your walls that need to be painted. Applying spackling with the right tools only takes a few minutes.

For related articles see 'How To Spackle Drywall', 'Patching and Repairing Drywall' and 'Taping and Mudding Drywall'.

Putty Knives

A putty knife or spackling knife is a flexible flat blade with a handle on it. It is uses for spreading the spackling onto the wall or ceiling in a thin layer. These knives are typically from 1" to 3" wide. They can be made from either plastic or metal.

For small holes and dings in walls and ceilings a 2" or 3" putty knife will do the job. The plastic ones are inexpensive and work great for small or infrequent projects.


Drywall knives or trowels are wider than putty knives and are needed for wider joints. These knives are more expensive and are only needed when you have bigger patches to deal with. See 'How To Patch Drywall' for more information.

Sanding Sponges

Sanding sponges are a great innovation for the home repair culture. The are fairly inexpensive, versatile and very effective for a wide variety of home repair projects. When is comes to spackling and drywall repairs they are perfect.

A sanding sponge is a spin off from a concept that has been around for a long time. Sanpaper works very well for sanding a variety of surfaces. One drawback to sandpaper is the need to keep it flat on flat surfaces. Attaching the sanpaper to a block was the solution. The sanding sponge, takes this concept another step.

Using synthetic materials, a sanding sponge provides the shape of a sanding block along with a flat sanding surface. For semi soft surfaces this has turned out to be an excellent product.

Drywall compound, spackling compound and a variety of other surfaces respond well to the abrasion provided by sanding sponges. Gypsum is a fairly soft material, so it is well suited for sanding sponges.

For information on sanding sponges see the article, 'Using Drywall Sanding Sponges'.

Sanding Blocks

The idea of a sanding block has been around as long as we have had sandpaper. Sand paper is a versatile product that has many uses. The one drawback is that it is very flexible. When you sand spackling, you need to keep the sandpaper flat. A sanding block is the ideal choice.

There is a tendency when you sand with sheets of sand paper to put grooves in the surface. This creates and uneven surface.

Sanding Screen

Drywall sanding screen is a popular way to sand drywall and spackling. It comes in precut sheets that fit onto a speacial sanding block. For larger amounts of sanding, this is a better choice.

Another advantage is that you will get less grooving when you sand. This means a flatter smoother surface. For coplete information on purchasing and using sanding screen, see the article 'How To Use Drywall Sanding Screen'.

Vacuum Cleaner

Dust is a big problem when working with spackling and drywall. There are methods that can eliminate or reduce the amount of dust created. See the article 'Dustless and Wet Sanding Drywall' for more information.


A shop vac is useful for cleaning up the dust when you sand your spackling patches. For small quantities you can use the hose attachment on a regular vacuum cleaner.

A word of caution. Drywall or spackling dust is very fine and can clog the filter quickly on a vacuum cleaner. You may need to change or clean the filter if you vacuum up very much dust.