Wood filler fills cracks, gaps and imperfections in wood surfaces such as furniture and crafts. It’s a must-have tool for DIYers who want a professional-grade finish.
Many commercial wood fillers are available, but making your own is also a viable option. Our DIY wood filler recipe is easy, inexpensive, and can match the wood you’re working with.
How to Make DIY Wood Filler
- putty knife
- Fine grit sandpaper
- Sander, rasp, or file
- Wood dust or sawdust
- wood glue
- In the mixing bowl
DIY wood filler: step by step instructions
Step 1: Collect sawdust
Collect enough sawdust from the type of wood you are repairing. If you don’t have enough, make more by sanding the same piece of wood until you collect enough.
Step 2: Mix the filler
Place sawdust in your mixing bowl and slowly add wood glue while stirring. Start with a 1:1 ratio of wood glue to wood glue and adjust as needed.
Continue adding the binding agent and stirring until you achieve a putty-like consistency. The filler should be flexible and easy to work with.
Step 3: Check compatibility
To make sure you have the right consistency, apply a small amount of filler to a hidden or obscured area of the wood. Determine if it matches the color and texture of the wood.
Step 4: Apply wood filler
Using a putty knife, apply DIY wood filler to the area you want to repair. Make sure it is pressed firmly into any gaps or voids.
Step 5: Leave it to dry and cure
Drying time will depend on the binding agent used. Wood glue mixes dry in a few hours, while epoxy resin can take longer.
Step 6: Sand and Finish
Once the filler has dried and cured, sand the repaired area until it is smooth and flush with the surrounding wood. You can then finish the wood with wood stain, paint or a clear finish to match the look of the wood.
Creative Uses for DIY Wood Fillers
Add artistic texture
Use DIY wood filler to add texture and dimension to your paintings and sculptures. You can create raised patterns or 3D effects on canvas and wood sculptures.
Create complex inlays using different wood species and DIY wood fillers. Create geometric patterns, floral designs or other decorative elements on tabletops, doors or wooden boxes.
Improper wood grain effect
Experiment with DIY wood filler to mimic the look of wood grain on non-wood surfaces like MDF (medium-density fiberboard), cardboard, or foam. This technique is useful for props, stage design and faux wood finishes.
Customized wooden containers
Personalize wooden utensils like cutting boards by filling in an engraved name or pattern with DIY wood filler.
Natural-looking knots and imperfections
Enhance the wood’s natural beauty by creating knots, swirls and imperfections for a rustic look.
Create stunning wooden mosaics by arranging small, different colored pieces of wood and securing them with DIY wood filler.
Create wooden jewelry by embedding small wooden filler accents, such as pendants or earrings.