How to Use Drywall Anchors: The Ultimate Guide?

How to use drywall anchors

If you’re planning on hanging something heavy on your wall, you’ll need to use a drywall anchor. These anchors are designed to hold screws in place, allowing you to hang whatever you like without worrying about it coming loose.

In this guide, we will teach you how to use drywall anchors safely and effectively. We’ll also provide some tips for choosing the right anchor for the job. So whether you’re looking to hang a picture frame or television, read on for all the information you need!

Types of Drywall Anchors

A drywall anchor is a device that helps secure screws into walls without damaging them. They’re typically used when hanging heavy items on the wall, as they prevent damage from occurring during installation and over time due to weight pulling down on the screw head or bolt.

They also provide better support than using just one large screw by itself because there are multiple points where it can go wrong (e.g., if only two out of three anchors hold up) which means you’ll have less chance of something falling off your wall when using these types instead!

Expansion Anchors

Expansion anchors are the most popular drywall anchor because they can be used on all types of walls. They will not come loose and there is no need to remove them when you want to change something. These anchors are made from metal, plastic or nylon.

You can find them in different sizes so that you can use it for any purpose that requires fixing things into your wall like hanging pictures, shelves and cupboards, etc…

Self-Drilling Anchors

Self-drilling drywall anchors are the easiest to install. They have notches at their end which act as drill bits. These anchors are used in hollow walls and doors, but they cannot be used on studs or masonry walls. The notch at the end of the anchor can easily break drywall or thin plaster if you don’t look out for it while installing them. You may use a small piece of cardboard between your wall and screwdriver so that you do not damage your wall.

You will need screws with a length lesser than what is recommended for an unanchored fixture because self-drilling anchors come embedded inside these screws when purchased from hardware stores.

Screw through the fixture and into the anchor until the head of the screw is flush with the surface of wall. Do not use more screws than what is recommended.

Hollow-Wall Anchors

Hollow wall anchors are so lightweight, which means you can use them for most of your projects. The hollow wall anchor comes in two main types: plastic and metal. Let’s talk about this type of drywall anchor one by one to find out their differences and when should you use them?

First, plastic hollow-wall anchors are the most popular drywall anchors. They can be used in almost every project. As their name suggests, they are made of plastic and have a pointed tip that allows them to penetrate the wall easily.

Once inside the wall, you will need to install a screw into it through your object (for example towel rack). The screw will expand its wings inside the hole and prevent it from coming out when you put some pressure on your object (towel rack or hooks). You’ll find these types of drywing screws in different sizes depending on how much weight you want them to hold.

There is also another type of this anchor which comes with a metal strip along with two sharp points. The metal strip makes it easier to drill this anchor inside the wall.

Now, let’s talk about metal hollow-wall anchors; they are a bit more durable and can hold heavier objects than plastic drywing screws. There are three main types of metal hollow-wall anchors: toggle bolts, Molly bolts, and expansion shields.

Toggle bolts have two parts (toggle wings) that spread out once inserted through the hole in your object then you need to push it until those wings rest against the backside of your wall.This will secure them in place with no chance for them coming out when hanging heavy items like shelves or TVs on the walls.

Molly bolts are a bit similar to toggle bolts as they also go through the hole in your object, but they come with a threaded shaft. This will screw into the wall and keep it in place; no need for toggle wings.

Finally, expansion shields are inserted into the hole of your object just like plastic or metal hollow-wall anchors and then a screw is installed to hold it in place.

However, what makes this type of anchor different is that its shield expands when you tighten the screw. It creates pressure against the walls and secures it in place without any movement.

So now that you know all about drywall anchors, which one should you use for your project? Plastic screws are ideal for lightweight objects while metal anchors can handle heavier items. If you’re not sure which one to use, it’s always best to go with the metal anchor just to be safe.

Drilling the Pilot Hole

Make sure you drill a pilot hole before installing any type of hollow-wall anchors.

Pick out a desirable spot to hang your item

Pick out a desirable spot to hang your item. This could be on a wall or in a corner. Make sure that the spot can support the weight of the item.

For heavy items, you need to find the studs behind your drywall. These are wood beams that provide additional support for heavier home fixtures like cabinets and toilets. They also make excellent spots to hang heavy items because they can carry much more weight than the drywall alone.

Mark your intended hanging site with a pencil

Before you install your drywall anchors, you’ll need to mark your intended hanging site with a pencil. Hold the anchor up to the spot where you want to hang it, and make a small dot with the pencil. This will help you line up the anchor perfectly when you’re ready to install it.

Make sure it is a secure location that can support the weight of what you are hanging.

Fit an electric drill with an appropriately-sized bit

Note that different types of drywall require differently sized drill bits; regular ½” drywall requires ¼” drills while thicker ⅝” drywall will require ⅜”. The owner’s manual for your drill should list the appropriate bit sizes.

For expansion anchors and toggle bolts, use a drill bit that matches not only the anchor’s shaft diameter but also its length; for example, if using an inch-long #12 plastic hollow-wall anchor (the most common type), you’ll need two bits: one exactly half an inch long (to make precisely even holes in each side of your pilot hole) and another that’s about three-quarters of an inch long.

Drill straight into the drywall at a precise 90-degree angle

To drill straight into the drywall at a precise 90-degree angle, use a level to ensure your drill is perpendicular to the surface before beginning.

With an appropriately-sized drill bit, make a hole in each side of the drywall where you will be installing the anchor. The hole should be just slightly smaller than the shaft diameter of the chosen anchor (expansion anchors and toggle bolts can vary somewhat in size). If using a screw, this is also when you’ll pre-drill its hole if it’s not already predrilled.

Make sure holes they’re even on both sides so that your anchor has a level surface to grip onto.

Repeat the process for each of your intended hanging sites

If you’re planning to hang more than one object, you’ll need to use anchors at each of your hanging sites. Drill a hole into the drywall at each location. Use a level to make sure your holes are straight.

Installing Different Types of Anchors

There are a variety of different anchors that can be used in drywall. The most common type is the toggle bolt, which has a spring-loaded wingnut on one end that expands the anchor once it’s inserted into the wall. Other types of anchors include cup hooks, expansion bolts, and molly bolts.

When choosing an anchor, make sure to consider the weight of whatever you’re hanging and the thickness of the drywall. Heavier items require stronger anchors, while thinner drywall can typically support lighter items.

Fit plastic expansion anchors into the pilot hole by hand

Fit plastic expansion anchors into the pilot hole by hand. They should be a snug fit but not so tight that they’re difficult to push in. If you have trouble fitting them, gently tap them with a hammer until they go in.

Use an electric drill or screwdriver to secure self-drilling anchors

If using self-drilling anchors, use an electric drill or screwdriver to secure them into the wall. First, make sure that the screwdriver bit is the same size as the anchor. Then, use the drill or screwdriver to drive the anchor into the drywall.

Tap and screw hollow wall anchors into place

If using hollow wall anchors, tap them into place with a hammer. Once they are in the right spot, use a screwdriver to secure them in place.

You can also buy pre-installed anchors that come with screws. These are easy to use and can be installed quickly. Just make sure that you read the instructions carefully before using them.

Screw toggle bolts down tight for a no-slip fit

If using toggle bolts, insert their threaded shafts through your heavy object (and any holes it might have), and then screw on their wingnuts until each is tightly fastened; for best results, use pliers or an adjustable wrench to tighten each bolt fully before moving onto the next one.

Do this first step before installing any other types of anchors because these are the most time-consuming and require precise alignment of both sides simultaneously—if done out of order, there’s always some risk everything will get out of sync and the toggle bolt won’t work properly.

Hang your object

Once all your anchors are in place, it’s time to hang your object! Carefully line up each anchor with its corresponding hole on the backside of your object, then screw in or otherwise fasten your hanging hardware (e.g., screws, nails) as directed. Make sure everything is nice and tight before moving on to the next one.

How do you put an anchor in drywall without a drill?

If you need to hang something on a wall but don’t have a drill first, find the spot on the wall where you want to hang your item. Then use a pencil to mark the spot. Next, use a screwdriver to make a small hole in the drywall at the marked spot. Finally, insert the anchor into the hole and twist it until it’s secure. Now you can hang your item on the anchor.

If you’re using an expandable anchor, be sure to follow the instructions that came with it; each brand has different guidelines. Also, remember that not all anchors are created equal – some are stronger than others. So if you’re hanging a heavy item, it’s best to use a stronger anchor.

General tips for using anchors

Always use a level when hanging something to make sure it's straight

Source: YouTube

  • Use the right size anchor for the job. If the anchor is too small, it won’t be strong enough to hold your item. If the anchor is too big, it will be difficult to insert into the hole.
  • Make sure the wall is clean and dry before installing an anchor.
  • If you’re using an expandable anchor, make sure there’s enough space between the wall and the object you’re hanging to allow for expansion.
  • Anchors can only be used in walls that are made from drywall or plasterboard. They should not be used in brick or concrete walls.
  • Always use a level when hanging something to make sure it’s straight.
  • Never hang something heavier than the anchor can hold.

Choosing an anchor

Choosing an anchor

Source: YouTube

There are many types of drywall anchors. Here’s a guide to their differences and similarities:

  • Plastic toggle bolt anchors consist of a plastic shield that snaps off the head of the screw when it is pushed through an opening in the wall, leaving behind only a small piece that sticks out into the room. A bolt inserted through this hole will expand against the back side of the wall as you turn it, locking itself in place. Although they work well on most surfaces, they’re not suitable for use on brick or concrete walls (unless they can be installed by drilling holes first).
  • Metal toggle bolts have similar features except instead of being made from plastic these come with metal heads which makes them more durable but also heavier than their counterpart.
  • Hollow wall anchors are inserted into a drilled hole in the drywall and expand as they’re tightened, gripping the inside of the wall. They can be used on most surfaces but should not be used with brick or concrete walls.
  • Expansion bolts are inserted into a pre-drilled hole that’s slightly smaller than the bolt itself. As you tighten it down, the bolt will “expand” to fill up the hole and grip against the sides – making it perfect for use on masonry materials like brick or concrete.
  • Threaded inserts come with tiny threads that screw into place in a drilled hole. Once installed, they provide a strong threaded connection that can support heavy loads.

If you’re ever unsure about what type of drywall anchor to use, or how much weight an anchor can support, consult a professional before attempting to hang anything yourself. Always play it safe when dealing with heavy objects!​


Now that you know how to use drywall anchors, you can install them anywhere you need extra support! They’re perfect for hanging heavy objects or securing cabinets and shelves. Be sure to use the right type of anchor for the job, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. With these tips, you’ll be able to hang anything you want securely on your walls!

Congratulations—you’ve successfully used drywall anchors to securely hang something heavy! Now go forth and decorate your home with confidence!

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