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How to Drill and Fix to Plasterboard

by Michael Boyle on July 16, 2022

Drilling a wall to insert a fixing for a picture, mirror, or other item may seem like a straightforward DIY task, but it’s easy to get wrong if you don’t take the correct steps along the way. This step-by-step guide will help you through the process.

What you’ll need:

  • Drill and wood bit
  • Pencil
  • Suitable wall plug fixings
  • Small hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Measuring tape/spirit level (possibly)

Step 1: Choose the right fixings


Drilling and fixing to a plasterboard wallmeans you need a different type of wall plug than is needed for a solid wall. The correct choice will also depend on other factors such as the weight of the item you want to hang. For example, a heavy mirror needs a stronger plug than a light picture. The plugs shown here are among several we stock from the Expandet Rossett range – just ask us for advice if you’re unsure which type is right for you. And whatever plug you use, be sure to choose the correct drill bit size.

Step 2: Decide where to drill

Pick the spot on the wall where you want to hang your item. Use a measuring tape and spirit level if necessary – e.g. if it is to hang half-way between two other items, or in a horizontal line with other décor. Make sure the spot you want to drill is not near any light switches or electrical sockets. For added peace of mind, you could use a cable detector to make sure there are now wires or cables running behind that spot. Use a pencil to mark the spot to be drilled.

Step 3: Do the drilling

Lay down newspaper on the floor or even tape a large envelope to the wall under the spot to be drilled, to collect the dust that will fall. Then insert the correct drill bit size – as indicated on the packet of the wall plugs you are using – to your drill. Be sure to use a wood drill bit rather than a masonry one, and if your drill has a hammer action, be sure it is turned off. Then line the bit up carefully with your pencil mark, and begin to drill. It will only take a couple of seconds at most, because of how plasterboard is such a soft material.

Step 4: Insert the fixings

First insert your wall plug into the hole you have drilled, until it is flush with the wall. It should be a tight fit if you have used the correct drill bit size. You can use a small hammer to gently tap in the plug if necessary. Then use a screwdriver to insert a screw into the plug, leaving it protruding slightly to take your mirror, picture, or other items.

Step 5: It’s hanging time!

Now hang your object on the screw and stand back to make sure it’s level. This is where it’s often handy to have a second person about, saying ‘up a bit… down a bit… there you go!’. Once it’s level, clean away the dust, put away the tools, and enjoy the new feature in your room.