How to remove metal wall anchors

Written by nathan mcginty
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How to remove metal wall anchors
Metal wall anchors are used to hang heavy objects, like mirrors. (oval mirror illustration image by robert mobley from Fotolia.com)

Metal wall anchors are used in drywall installations to hang heavy objects, like flat screen TVs or mirrors. The two main types of metal wall anchors are toggle bolts and Molly bolts. These bolts are inserted into the drywall, and then anchor themselves on the other sides with legs or toggles when the bolt is inserted into them. Removing metal wall anchors is tricky, but not difficult. The toggle bolts are the easiest, but sometimes you get lucky when trying to remove a Molly bolt as well. Even if you can't remove a Molly bolt on the first shot, there are still ways to cover it up.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Flat bladed screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Spackle
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Brushes

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Instructions

    Removing Toggle Bolts

  1. 1

    Unscrew the toggle bolt from the wall. Since the bolt threads through the wall and is held in place by the toggle on the inside of the wall, you want the toggle to remain in contact with the wall. Otherwise it will simply spin around when you are unscrewing. Insert the edge of a flat bladed screwdriver behind the bolt head as you unscrew it. This will apply pressure on the toggle and keep it in place.

  2. 2

    Remove the bolt from the hole. You should hear the toggle drop to the floor inside the wall cavity.

  3. 3

    Spackle over the hole. Scrape the spackle flat with a putty knife. Sand down when dry.

  4. 4

    Paint over the spackle to match the rest of the wall.

    Molly Type Anchor

  1. 1

    Unscrew the bolt half way from the anchor.

  2. 2

    Use a flat head screwdriver to pry the head of the anchor away from the wall. With a pair of pliers, gently pull on the anchor. Sometimes unscrewing the bolt will retract the legs on the other side of the bolt. If the anchor doesn't come out of the wall, don't force it.

  3. 3

    Use a punch and hammer to tap on the anchor until is beneath the surface of the wall.

  4. 4

    Spackle over the head of the anchor. Scrape the spackle flat with a putty knife. Sand down when dry.

  5. 5

    Paint over the spackle to match the rest of the wall.

Tips and warnings

  • You can also use drywall "mud" in place of spackle.

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