The traditional method of repairing holes in walls is to square the hole, put wood backing behind it, cut and screw on a drywall patch, and then tape the edges. Aluminum patches, available at home centers and paint and hardware stores for $2 to $4, give the same results with much less work. The patches, which come in 4-, 6- and 8-in. sizes, are stiff enough to span holes and thin enough to disappear after taping and painting.
Select a patch large enough to overlap the hole on all sides by an inch, then stick the patch on (Photo 1). Patches can be cut or overlapped as needed.
Trowel on the first coat of joint compound over the patch, spreading the compound flat enough to see the outline of the mesh through it (Photo 2).
Allow the compound to dry overnight, then apply a wider second coat (Photo 3), followed by a final, third coat after the second coat dries. Spread the compound in thin coats extending 8 to 12 in. beyond the patch in all directions.
After the final coat has dried overnight, sand it smooth, prime and paint (Photo 4).