How to make homemade wood filler

Updated February 21, 2017

Wood filler is a paste-like product that is malleable when wet but dries to a hard consistency. It fills nail and screw holes in wood, as well as deep scratches and gouges. Although the final finish is hard, it is still soft enough to sand, which allows you to create a seamless surface on the wood. Instead of purchasing wood filler, you can save money and an extra trip to the store by making it yourself. In addition, you can customise the colour of the filler to match the wood on which you are working.

Locate a piece of scrap wood and sand it with fine-grit sandpaper, such as 200 grit. Do not use coarse sandpaper, since you want the dust particles to be as fine as possible. As you sand, move the dust particles over to the side of the wood, but do not brush them off on the floor.

Place approximately 1/4 cup of sanding dust into a plastic cup or other disposable container.

Add 1 tbsp of wood glue to the sawdust and stir it well with a putty knife. Examine the wood filler mixture to see if it has the consistence of toothpaste. Add additional wood glue if needed until you achieve the proper consistency.

Insert a putty knife into the plastic cup and scoop up 1 tsp of filler for small holes and 1 tbsp of filler for larger gouges.

Press the filler into the damaged area of wood and scrape the surface smooth with the putty knife.

Allow the filler to dry for approximately one hour, or until the top is no longer sticky.

Sand the top of the wood filler with the 200-grit sandpaper to smooth it out until it is level with the surface of the wood.


You can also use an electric sander with a dust collector bag to make collecting the sanding dust easier.

Things You'll Need

  • Scrap wood
  • 200-grit sandpaper
  • Plastic cup
  • Wood glue
  • Putty knife
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About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.