How To Use Painters Putty (Details Guide)

Painters’ putty works like magic when it comes to fixing imperfections on walls or any other surface. It has been the favorite product for construction workers for decades for its multi-purpose quality. So if you are also looking for a great product for fixing your walls then you can just go for it. It gives a seamless finish once applied correctly. 

How to Use Painters Putty you have to make the surface smooth and level and then use a small portion of putty with your hands or a spatula and push the putty inside, so it goes all the way inside and fills the gap to make the surface level and smooth. 

How To Use Painters Putty 

Painter’s putty has a lot more promising usage that you can learn from here with detailed guidelines and tips to make your work smoother and faster. And if you are new at construction work then it will be a lifesaver for you as it has multi-purpose qualities. 

If you want professional results every time follow these four steps:

How To Use Painters Putty
  • First, prepare the wood surface by removing any loose paint and dirt. Then sand. If the wood surface is new or unpainted wood should always be sealed with a compatible high-quality primer and left to properly dry 
  • Second, apply the putty to the prepared surface with firm pressure ensuring any voids are filled. Then with a single quick stroke of your putty knife remove any excess putty. This will leave a nice smooth surface and the void filled. There is no need to sand the putty once it is in place
  • Third, let the putty dry for the recommended 24-hours if you will be finishing with a paint coating and 60 to 80 hours if you will be finishing with lacquer or another oxygen inhibiting coating. In cooler or higher humidity conditions or with larger holes drying time should be extended
  • Fourth, finish the job by coating the surface with primers, sealers, and topcoats compatible with the job at hand

What Is Painter’s Putty? 

It is a sealant product that is made by mixing linseed oil, quartz, limestone, soybean oil, titanium dioxide, and other materials. It is both water and fire-resistant and tends to dry faster than spackle or joint compound.

So it is recommended to use it on smaller areas like holes or cracks or dents. It also shrinks less than other similar products. That’s why it is safe to use on drywall, wood, and metal joints like kitchen sinks or faucets. Most of the time you don’t need to apply paint on top. It has a thick creamy consistency and also comes in colored forms nowadays. 

How Long Does It Take For A Painter’s Putty To Dry? 

The drying time of the Painter’s putty depends on the scale of area you are covering and the purpose. Meaning if you are just fixing small holes with it then several hours is enough.

But if applied on larger scales like arching a wall dent or as a sealant where you will apply paint, later on, then you need to let it dry for at least 14 to 16 hours or even longer until it’s firm but not dry. You can apply several coats depending on the coverage and even sand it down. 

What Is The Difference Between A Painter’s Putty Vs Spackle? 

So both painter’s putty and spackle are products that we use to cover blemishes or imperfections in plaster walls and drywalls. There is some overlapping in their functionality though which can make it confusing. So how do you choose the right one for your wall repairs? Probably the best difference to focus on is the scale of application.


Essentially spackle is for very small repairs. Such as nail holes, little dents, and gouges, even small cracks. Spackle gets confusing because there are tons of different mixtures out there. But they can be broken down into two categories. Normal spackle vs. Lightweight spackle. 

  • The Normal spackle is a kind of wet sludgy compound. It typically contains gypsum dust, but it also has some other binders in it. These make it dry out a little faster than plumbers’ putty. Typically one to four hours is based on humidity and it also shrinks less than other sealants. It’s more elastic. It’s a little harder to work with and trowel because of its gummy consistency. But you can get away with one coat of it followed by some light sanding once it’s dry. 
  • The lightweight spackle just looks different. It’s white and fluffy and flaky. It sort of smears like grease when you spread it on walls. But it’ll catch small holes almost instantly. And it’ll blend into white walls that you almost can’t see. So lightweight spackle is undoubtedly the greatest product ever made for patching small nail holes and other tiny bits of damage. But you have to use multiple coats and sanding in between. 

Painter’s putty

Traditional painter’s putty can be used in patching up walls or used as a sealant for sinks, faucets, etc. All you have to do is make it in a ball of string and push it onto the surface and cut off the excess with a putty knife. You can apply it just with your hand.

It’s extremely fast and efficient to work with. It tends to dry faster so to repair small cracks or holes this is perfect. It shrinks less than any other sealant so in most cases one coat is although. Or you can also buy the non-shirking putty from the stores. 

When you are working with putty you don’t have to be perfect cause you can come back and scrape off the excess. Manufacturers have found new ways to make it more convenient so that you don’t even need to paint your walls in different colors as well. You can use painter’s putty on wood joints, drywalls, plaster walls, metal, etc. 

Painter’s Putty Vs Wood Filler

Wood Filler 

A material that may be used to repair wooden items is known as a wood filler. However, you should remember that it’s generally used to fix smaller issues in the wood such as holes, splits, scratches, or scraps. Because particular woods are more absorbent than others. This is the best option for them. Typically used on raw wood. Need sanding after drying. 

Painter’s Putty 

Painter’s putty is commonly used to fill extremely tiny holes such as the recesses where finished nails are driven below the wood surface.

A few typical things can be used to correct surfaces or defects. It’s important to understand the differences between the two, so you can choose one to apply. Often used on finished wood or drywalls or even unfinished ones. Does not need sanding that much. 

Painter’s Putty Vs Joint Compound 

Both of these products are used in sealing wood wall cracks or holes or dents and are pretty convenient to use. They almost do the same job but also have their differences. 

Topic painter’s puttyJoint compound
Ingredients The main ingredients in painter’s putty are linseed oil, quartz, limestone, soybean oil, titanium dioxide, etc. which makes it water and fire-resistant.It is a mixture of gypsum dust and water.
Packaging This comes in smaller containers and ready-to-use formula so no need for any extra preparation. Just open and apply.It comes with pre-mixed buckets which can be troweled straight onto walls or it also comes in dry bag varieties which you can mix with water to create whatever quantity you need. 
TextureIt has a thick creamy and glue-like  texture that easy can be lathered on easily.It has a creamy texture with easy to apply formula and it covers a lot of big imperfections.
Drying timepainter’s putty is quick to dry so it is easy to apply on smaller surfaces.Most joint compounds dry very slowly. Once applied they can take up to 25 hours or longer to dry enough so that you can sand it to a finish.
Shrinkage When dry it does shrink but not like joint compound. But you can also buy non-shrink putty that will not shrink while drying.It does shrink much as it dries. This means you generally need multiple coats to create a good surface.
Surface usage Can be used on smaller surfaces like cracks or holes on wood or drywall. Used to cover blemishes or imperfections in both plaster walls and drywall.
Coverage As it is easy to dry down should be used in smaller areas or patches or cracks.It is best to use on large applications. Like, applying it to a whole room or even a whole house. It allows time to work your way around a room without your product drying out. 

Painter’s Putty For Nail Holes

Having nail holes in the walls or ceilings is pretty common and we see those holes in every household. Usually, we just ignore them but they can look ugly at times most likely when we paint our walls but those holes mess up the beauty. So with painter’s putty, you can easily fill out those holes and make those walls perfect to look at:

  • A two-inch spackle 
  • A four-inch spackle
  • Non-shrinkable painter’s putty

Now use the two-inch spackle two scrape off any hole that’s sticking outwards and make the area flat. Now take enough putty on the four-inch spackle and lather it on the holes that the product goes all the way in. Do it a couple of times. You can also use your fingers to push the product. 

Now after filling a couple of holes go back to the first ones that you filled earlier and lather some more product so if the putty shrinks the void will fill up. Now use a damp towel to clean the excess putty from the hole so the area looks flushed. Now you can leave the putty to dry and paint layer on or leave it like that. If you are going to paint the walls then fill up the holes first and then apply paint on top. 

Crawford’s Painter’s Putty

Crawford’s natural blend painter’s putty is ready to use multi-purpose putty that is ideal for filling small holes and imperfections in new and old wood surfaces. It is specifically formulated to provide a smooth surface on which primer, intermediate, and finish coats can be applied with confidence.

Crawford’s painter’s putty is easy to use, resists cracking, shrinking, and sagging, and can be used both indoors and outdoors. For more detailed information and professional tips follow their official website (Crawford’s . com). Remember, Crawford’s painter’s putty is the professional choice for all your home projects small and large. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do You Need To Sand The Painter’s Putty?  

Usually, there is no need to sand the painter’s putty once it’s dry. But if you want to do this then wait for 24-hours at least. So that it’s firm but not dry. 

Do I Need To Prime Over The Painter’s Putty?

It is not necessary to apply a primer on top of the painter’s putty. But if you are adding paint on top then you can apply the primer and sand it down before applying paint. 

Can The Painter’s Putty Be Used On Drywall?

Yes! The painter’s putty is supposed to be applied on drywalls, woods, plaster walls, etc. as it works best on these types of surfaces. 

Does Painter’s Putty Harden?

Yes, it hardens fully if you let it be firm for 24-hours and to dry wait for 60-80 hours fully. But the drying time may vary according to the humidity level. 

Can You Use Joint Compound To Fill Holes?

Yes, you can. But as it takes a longer time to completely dry and requires sanding and several coats it is usually recommended for larger applications like a whole wall or whole room or a whole house. 

Is There A Difference Between Spackle And Putty?

Usually, both these products are used in construction works but they may differ on the scale. Meaning spackle takes time to dry so you can apply it on larger areas and putty takes less time to dry so you should use it on smaller surfaces.

Moreover, spackle works best as a surfacing compound whereas putty works as an adhesive to fill out smaller imperfections on the walls. 

How Long Does It Take For A Painter’s Putty To Dry?

Usually if applied on smaller surfaces like dents or holes it takes about 2 to 4 hours to dry if you are not applying paint on top. But if applied on a larger scale then you need to wait for 24 hours at least and this timing can reach up to 60 to 80 hours depending on the temperature and humidity. 

Can I Paint Over The Painter’s Putty?   

Yes, you can. Most people prefer to use it for fixing small nail holes or cracks on the wall before they start to paint. But you may need to wait for 24 hours before applying paint over the putty. 

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Final Verdict

If you have gone through the whole thing then you probably have gathered enough ideas about the usage and application style of painter’s putty when working on construction and also about other similar stuff that you can use instead of it. So make sure you are using the right product on the right surface.

I'm Jimmy, the creative mind behind Drawing from extensive expertise in home improvement, I founded this platform to help individuals transform their living spaces. My dedication lies in empowering homeowners with dependable advice, ensuring that every DIY project not only elevates your home but also enhances your lifestyle. Join me as we redefine homes, one project at a time.

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