How to Fill Holes in Woodwork

Colored putty and marking pens hide woodwork flaws quickly and easily

Two pro tips – color putty and marking pens – help you hide scratches, holes and blemishes in stained woodwork quickly and easily.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Fill woodwork holes

Most people are surprised to learn that professional painters use soft colored putty to fill nail holes in stained woodwork. This eliminates the nearly impossible job of staining wood filler to match the surrounding wood. Several colors are available. To get an exact match, you may have to blend two colors. You can even use two or three colors on the same piece of wood to match areas of light and dark wood grain exactly. Colored putty is available at paint stores, hardware stores and home centers for about $2 per container.

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Hide scratches with a stain marker

Don’t expect this simple tip to hide deep scratches, gouges or damaged finishes from a sharp-eyed critic. But for a quick spruce-up, colored markers are just the ticket. Stain markers like the one shown are available at home centers and paint stores, but plain old felt-tip markers work great too. You’ll be surprised how easily you can hide glaring scratches and dings from the casual observer.

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Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Color putty
  • Stain markers