Drywall anchors how to use: How to Use and Install Drywall Anchors: Tips from the Pros

How to Use and Install Drywall Anchors: Tips from the Pros

So you’ve got some items to hang, but you don’t want them eventually falling off of your wall and shattering into a million pieces? Some type of drywall anchor will likely be your best friend. Commonly, you’ve got your plastic sleeve anchors, your self-drilling threaded anchors, molly bolts, and toggle bolt anchors. All of them accomplish the same general task by expanding and biting into or gripping the drywall. If you’re wondering how to use or install drywall anchors, we’ve got the basics covered for you.

Table of contents

  • Which Drywall Anchor Should I Choose?
  • How to Use a Drywall Anchor
    • Installing A Plastic Sleeve Anchor
    • Installing a Self-Drilling Threaded Anchor
    • Anchoring With Molly Bolts
    • Installing a Toggle Bolt Drywall Anchor
  • Installing Snaptoggles
  • What if the Drywall Anchor Hole is Too Big?
  • What Size Pilot Hole is Best for Drywall Anchors?
  • How Deep to Drill Pilot Holes for Drywall Anchors
  • Random Fun Drywall Anchoring Facts

Which Drywall Anchor Should I Choose?

Generally, your drywall anchor selection will revolve around the weight of the item you wish to hang. While there are actually many types of drywall anchors available, some are more common than others. For the sake of brevity, we’ll stick with some of the more common types.

  • Less than 10 lbs: plastic sleeve anchor
  • 10 to 25 lbs: self-drilling threaded drywall anchors
  • 25 to 50 lbs: Snaptoggle, molly bolts, or traditional toggle bolts
  • Over 50 lbs: Snaptoggle, toggle bolts, or screw into an actual stud

There are some drywall anchors rated for 100 pounds or more. Use these with discretion and test them prior to hanging expensive items from them.

How to Use a Drywall Anchor

Installing A Plastic Sleeve Anchor

  • With a pencil, mark the point where you want to hang whatever it is you’re trying to hang.
  • Drill/make a pilot hole. You can use any variety of tools to accomplish this, though you need to make the pilot hole smaller than the width of the anchor. If a pilot bit doesn’t come with the set, the packaging will tell you which size to use.
  • Stick the anchor in the pilot hole and tap it into place until the head of the anchor flushes up with the wall. A rubber mallet is best, but a small finish nailer will also work.
  • Use a screwdriver to set the screw. You can use a drill, but go slow so you don’t overdrive it.

Installing a Self-Drilling Threaded Anchor

  • Mark your hanging point.
  • With a rubber mallet or hammer, lightly tap the anchor into the wall until you get to the threads.
  • Use a screwdriver to screw the anchor into the wall until the head of the anchor is flush with the drywall. Again, if you opt to use a drill go slow and be careful.
  • Set the screw to the depth you want with the same screwdriver or drill.

Anchoring With Molly Bolts

You’ve generally got two choices when it comes to molly bolts, or “hollow wall anchors”: pointed and un-pointed. The dull-tipped un-pointed anchors require you to drill a pilot hole into the drywall. Pointed tip styles don’t need a pilot hole; you can just tap these into place with a hammer. You might also find molly bolts with barbed heads. These barbs grip the surface of the drywall and keep the anchor from spinning in its hole.

  • Mark the point where you’d like to hang stuff.
  • If a pilot hole is needed, drill one. Check the package to find out the size you’ll need for the pilot hole.
  • After insertion, tighten the bolt in the sleeve of the molly. This will cause the legs to expand out and grip the other side of the drywall.
  • Once you tighten down the molly bolt, back the screw out of the sleeve and hang directly from the head of the screw.

Installing a Toggle Bolt Drywall Anchor

When you’ve got heavier items to hang, but can’t find a wall stud to hang it on, toggle bolt anchors can save the day. Of course, there are a few things to be aware of before getting started. For one thing, you’ll have to drill a hole that allows for the toggles to pass through. This will require a hole that exceeds the width of the screw head, so toggle bolts can really only be used in conjunction with a bracket that will cover the hole. Also, while these drywall anchors can support a fair amount of weight, your softish drywall will fail if you put too much weight on it.

  • Mark your hanging point.
  • Drill a hole big enough to allow for the toggle bolt to slip through when in its folded position. The manufacturer instructions on the side of the box of toggle bolts should give you the necessary specs for drill bit widths.
  • Put the bolt through the bracket you’ll be attaching to the wall. Then, thread the toggle onto the bolt with the tips facing the screw head.
  • Squeeze the toggle closed and jam both the toggle and bolt through the wall. When the toggle clears the backside of the drywall, it will open up and grip the wall.
  • Tighten the bolt until it’s snug.

Installing Snaptoggles

Even better than Molly bolts or toggle bolts, we love Snaptoggles. The reason is simple—you can remove the bolt and reinsert it as needed. This presents a huge advantage over traditional toggle bolts. They also install easier than Molly bolts in our opinion, though they have a couple of steps:

  • Drill the correctly-sized hole.
  • Slide the Snaptoggle’s metal channel through the hole.
  • Hold ends of straps together and pull with one hand until the metal channel rests behind the wall.
  • Ratchet the cap along the straps with your other hand until the flange of the cap is flush with the wall.
  • With your thumb between the straps at the wall, push your thumb side to side, snapping off the straps level with the flange of the cap.
  • Voila—place your item, insert the machined bolt, and tighten until snug.

What if the Drywall Anchor Hole is Too Big?

Sometimes you accidentally overdrill the drywall anchor hole. When this happens, you have several options:

  • Pick up a larger drywall anchor
  • Proceed with a washer if using a standard toggle bolt
  • If using a threaded anchor, and the bolt or screw seems too small, grab a larger one and see if you can get a secure fit

Of course, you can avoid most of these problems by ensuring you follow the directions for recommended bits. We also recommend drilling as straight as possible and not “reaming out” the hole when you drill. This keeps everything at the intended size. If you drill too large a hole, you risk allowing the drywall anchor to spin when you insert the screw.

What Size Pilot Hole is Best for Drywall Anchors?

The great thing about drywall anchors is they pretty much tell you exactly what size hole to drill. For our recommended Snaptoggle and FlipToggle anchors, a 1/2-inch drill bit is needed. For self-tap drywall anchors, you can forgo the drill bit altogether.

Pay attention to the back of the packaging, and pick up the best drill bit at the store when you get the drywall anchors.

How Deep to Drill Pilot Holes for Drywall Anchors

When dealing with any kind of drywall anchor that requires pre-drilling, you really only need to worry about a couple of things. First, are you near a stud or simply drilling into a drywall cavity? Second, are you drilling into an exterior block wall or is there some other potential obstruction?

Typically, you only need to get through the drywall—which lends itself to a very simple and quick process. If, however, you have to deal with a stud, you may want to opt for an anchor that can also dig into the wood as needed. You want to make sure your hole depth matches the drywall anchor with at least an extra 1/8-inch to account for any protrusion of the screw out the back.

When dealing with exterior block walls, we recommend trying to pick up at least one side with a furring strip. We’ve found that 3-inch long Tapcon screws provide excellent hold for block walls, provided you follow the instructions and install them correctly.

Random Fun Drywall Anchoring Facts

  • Your drywall will fail before the vast majority of drywall anchors will. The point here is that you probably shouldn’t use drywall anchors to mount your new 65″ UHD TV to the wall. You’ll want to find the wall studs for that project, or you will eventually face a very sad day.
  • Drywall anchors come in a variety of lengths. It will benefit you to know how thick your drywall actually is so that you can plan accordingly.
  • Drill bit measuring guides exist. If you don’t know the size of your anchor, you can use a drill bit measuring guide to match up sizes. You’ll want your pilot hole to be just a bit smaller than the anchor you plan to throw in it.
  • Want to anchor into both drywall and studs, but don’t want to buy a whole separate box of anchors? Drywall and stud anchors exist, and they’re awesome. Also, inadvertently running into a stud with these won’t ruin the anchor.
  • Many other varieties of drywall anchor exist, and some of them are better versions of the ones listed here. Take these Driller Toggle Anchors from Cobra, for an example. They work similarly to the toggle bolts we talked about but don’t require a pilot hole. The point is, explore the drywall anchor section of your hardware store. You’ll likely find some more streamlined approaches to some of the classic designs.

If you have any tips, tricks, questions about how to use a drywall anchor, feel free to leave it in the comments section below.

How to Use Drywall Anchors

Photo: istockphoto.com

So, you want to hang something heavier than an average photo frame from your drywall: Whether you’re putting in a screw to support a rack laden with damp bath towels, a paper towel holder that gets regular use, or even a heavy mirror, you’ll certainly want it to stay there and not suddenly tear through the drywall under the weight of whatever it supports.

RELATED: The Dos and Don’ts of Repairing Drywall

Unfortunately, that’s the way the drywall crumbles—if it doesn’t have proper reinforcement. The good news is that there are a few options for securing a rack (or what have you) to the wall, and one of the most popular ways involves the drywall anchor. These pre-screw installments are designed to grip the brittle drywall and help hold your fastener in place. Follow this guide for how to use drywall anchor screws properly in your next project, and you can rest easy knowing that your hard work will hold up.

Tools & Materials

  • Stud finder
  • Drywall anchors and screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Cordless drill (optional)

Project Overview

Working Time: 5-10 minutes
Total Time: 5-10 minutes
Skill Level: Beginner
Estimated Cost: $10-15

Photo: istockphoto.com

Before You Begin

Before attempting to install a drywall anchor, first determine if you even need to use one. Drywall anchors are designed to add strength to hollow drywall. If you’re lucky enough to find a wall stud where you’re planning to drive in a screw for that framed painting or bathroom shelf, an anchor isn’t necessary. A single fastener driven into a stud can hold 100 pounds or more, depending on the size of the screw or lag bolt you’re using. Use a stud finder or some other method to find the wall studs behind the drywall before you begin.

STEP 1: Select the right type of drywall anchor for your project.

Photo: Amazon.com

There are different types of drywall anchors, so make sure that your drywall anchor is rated for the amount of weight you’ll be putting on this fixture, and appropriate for wherever it’s installed (some are meant for walls, for example, and others for the ceiling).

In these instructions for how to use drywall anchors, we’re working with a threaded or self-drilling drywall anchor that holds up to 50 pounds and can be installed without a drill. These drywall anchors for heavy items go into walls without any pre-drilling and come in strengths ranging from 25 to 75 pounds, which is enough for most light-duty to moderate-duty projects.

Other than threaded anchors, the most common type of drywall anchor is the expansion anchor. Like threaded anchors, these can be used for hanging artwork, floating shelves, or bathroom hooks. Since this anchor is shaped like a plastic, hollow plug, it requires you to drill a pilot hole that matches the diameter of the anchor before you insert the anchor. The anchor should fit snugly inside the hole. When the screw is driven into the anchor, the anchor’s tip expands, locking it into place inside the drywall. Since a plug drywall anchor isn’t as strong as a threaded drywall anchor, it’s best for lighter-duty jobs of up to 25 pounds.

STEP 2: Use moderate pressure to twist a self-drilling wall anchor into drywall.

Photo: Peter Fazio

You only need to apply moderate pressure with a screwdriver to install threaded drywall anchors, as their points will self-drill into the wall. When the wide threads start to grab on, make sure you keep applying pressure so the anchor doesn’t simply spin in the hole and dig out the drywall. If you’re having a hard time getting the anchor started, drill a pilot hole using a drill bit that’s narrower in diameter than the anchor.

You can also use a cordless drill with a screwdriver bit to drive in the anchor, but you’ll need to do so carefully to avoid stripping out the drywall with the anchor’s threads. Drive the anchor in using a slow, constant speed and be sure not to overtighten it.

STEP 3: Turn the drywall anchor in until the lip is flush with the wall.

Photo: Peter Fazio

Whether using a manual screwdriver or cordless driver, be careful not to tighten the anchor so much that it actually becomes inset into the wall.

For plug anchors, push the anchor into the pilot hole until the lip is up against the drywall. You may need to tap the anchor with a hammer to drive it completely into the hole. The anchor should fit snugly inside the pilot hole. Resist the urge to force the plug into a hole that’s too small, which could damage the anchor or drywall. If the hole is too small, remove the plug and use a slightly large drill bit to widen the hole’s diameter.

STEP 4: Attach your rack or shelf to the wall by screwing into the drywall anchor.

Photo: Peter Fazio

Once again, make sure you first put the screw through the hole of the thing you’re attaching to the wall. (In this example, we’re attaching a bracket to the wall to support a small shelf. Note how the screw passes through the hole in the bracket before twisting into the drywall anchor.)

Photo: Peter Fazio

Here’s what it looks like behind your wall. The wide threads of a threaded drywall anchor and the serrations on the plug-style anchor help it to grab onto the surrounding drywall. When the screw goes in, it pops the barbs out for added power. Redecorating or moving out? When you have no use for them anymore, learn how to remove drywall anchors.

Final Thoughts

By using the methods above, you can dramatically increase the load-bearing weight of drywall from a pound or two up to 75 pounds. Since drywall anchors vary in size and load ratings, it’s crucial to take careful note of weight when working with these tools. While large threaded anchors may be able to hold up to 75 pounds, smaller plug-style anchors may only support up to 10 pounds. By paying careful attention to an anchor’s load limitations and the total weight of the item (along with the weight of any items it will hold) will ensure the anchor remains securely attached to the drywall.

Photo: Amazon.com


If you’re wondering if you need to predrill holes for drywall anchors or how much weight a drywall anchor can hold, then read on for answers to these and other questions about these specialized fasteners.

Q. Do you predrill holes for drywall anchors?

Whether you need to predrill a hole for a drywall anchor depends on the type of anchor. Threaded drywall anchors do not need a pilot hole to install. If the anchor does not have a threaded tip, you’ll need to drill a pilot hole. Use a drill bit that’s the same diameter as the body of the anchor.

Q. Why are my drywall anchors spinning?

Your drywall anchor is spinning for one of two reasons. If the anchor required you to drill a pilot hole, you drilled too large of a hole. If you’re using a threaded drywall anchor, you have overtightened the anchor, causing it to strip out the surrounding drywall. You’ll need to drill a new hole in a different location on the wall or use a larger anchor and screw.

Q. Can you hammer in drywall anchors?

That depends on the type of drywall anchor. If you’re using a threaded anchor, you must use a screwdriver or cordless driver to install the anchor into drywall. Attempting to hammer it in will damage the anchor and likely the wall. You can use a hammer to tap an unthreaded drywall anchor into a pilot hole as long as the pilot hole isn’t too small. The anchor should go into the hole with light taps and fit snugly.

Q. How much can a drywall anchor hold?

A drywall anchor’s weight capacity depends on the type of anchor. Plastic threaded drywall anchors can support up to 75 pounds.

Additional reporting from Pete Fazio.

Types of drywall fasteners: overview, load tests

Or an article about how not to upset your wife with a new hole and “nail the shelf”.

Ah, drywall, ah Augustine Sackett! You gave us this miraculous and marvelous marvelous, with the help of which repairs can be facilitated, and almost any ideas for planning and redevelopment of premises can be realized. Donated, yes. But he did not tell about fasteners to this fragile building material.

Where does the motherland fastening process begin?

With nails? You will split, leave holes, mother will scold .

From self-tapping screws? Of course, if the load on each fastener element is small. Hang a picture – and then light, otherwise will vomit his wife when sees another hole in the wall.

Old-fashioned method, “mortgages”? Like it’s getting warmer. You will mount the bars under the “gypsum”, you will sew them with self-tapping screws: the entire load is on the bars. Want later to nail a shelf to attach something to the wall – and where to look for these bars now? If you find a place for the deployment of power structures behind a plasterboard wall, it will not always be convenient for installation, which was not previously planned.

Based on these conclusions, Mr. Sakket’s contemporaries invented a special hardware for drywall – an anchor.

Stopper and spacer, or briefly about the principle of action.

The principle of operation of any anchor is based on the phenomenon of pressure or friction, or, more often, their combination. Let’s explain.

On the one hand, for attaching something to drywall, there must be a “stopper” on the draft side of the wall, protecting the hardware from being pulled out. On the other hand, the fastener must enter into the body of the mounting hole itself, as if creating a “thrust”.

Thus, we arrive at a typical drywall anchor bolt design:

  1. The body is designed in such a way that it can form both a “stopper” and a “thrust” at the same time. For convenience, we will call the case a “sleeve”.
  2. There is a screw mount with or without a nut, with the help of which both the “stopper” and the “spacer” are directly formed. For convenience, we will call the screw, screw or self-tapping screw “bullet”.

The lyrical digression does not end there, since the above theses are just necessary conditions for good fastening. Sufficient conditions:

  1. The anchor must either have an anti-corrosion coating or be made of a polymer. Such a choice of materials has already proven itself in conditions of temperature and humidity differences, typical, for example, for the beginning and end of the heating season in Russia.
  2. The strength index of the anchor bullet is also an important characteristic. Not all the same pictures to hang. A chandelier in the house is also needed!

Anchor comparison.

as an experiment out of control.

Instead of flooding our reader with water, consisting of scattered unverified information, our editors have tested the strength of the most used types of anchors experimentally.

Experimental plant consists of:

  1. 500x500mm square 12mm or ½ inch thick drywall sheet, scribbled so that the anchor can be easily installed exactly in the middle;
  2. wooden mandrel for drywall, with which it can be easily installed in the press;
  3. press with a wooden frame for a mandrel and a device for applying a controlled force to a hardware embedded in drywall.

Experiment tasks:

  1. pull each hardware out of drywall three times, set the breaking force in kilograms;
  2. compare the result with the theoretical data on the package;
  3. evaluate the degree of failure of the drywall sheet for each anchor;
  4. when evaluating the results, be tied specifically to the type of anchor, and not to a specific manufacturer.

Metal dowel (anchor) type DRIVA

A very common beast in our area, in fact, an auxiliary hardware in the form of a screw with a high thread, in which a thread is made for the main fastener – also a screw or self-tapping screw.

During installation, it does not require special skills and knowledge, a screwdriver (or a screwdriver, as in our case) is enough. Drilling a hole for the “driva” is also not necessary; when screwing it in, it does it for you.

Due to utility, this hardware is presented in two sizes:

Diameter, mm
Length, mm
13 42
15 29

During the first approach, the following was found out: the failure of this type of hardware occurs at a load of 105lbs, which corresponds to 47. 6 kg. Given the information on the package (50lbs – 22.7kg), the result is more than impressive.

As for the destruction that this hardware leaves behind, the result is satisfactory, since the size of the hole is generally comparable to the size of the anchor.

Expanding dowel for hollow materials

An ordinary butterfly dowel, which is inserted into the wall in the folded position into a pre-prepared mounting hole. After mounting the screw or self-tapping screw, it opens, creating a spacer on the back of the wall.

Anchor dimensions mainly vary in length:

Diameter, mm
Length, mm
10 28
10 35
10 44

The dowel breaks for the first time at around 73 lbs, which corresponds to 33. 1 kg in the SI system. It turns out that the threshold for drywall (drywall) indicated on the package at 69 lbs or 31.3 kg has been crossed.

As for the size of the hole left in the drywall after this type of anchor is torn off, the result is much better than for the previous contestant.

Butterfly dowel plastic
Break force, kg

Destruction (visual)
Information on the packaging 31.3
Experiment 1 33.1 good
Experiment 2 37.2 good
Experiment 3 34.9 good

It is worth saying that this dowel-butterfly is a Western version of a product that is very common in our stores. Despite some structural differences, the material of manufacture is the same, and, accordingly, the tensile strength of both hardware is the same. As for the principle of operation, the classic “stopper” – “thrust” in both cases.

Plastic drop-down DRIVA

Unlike a metal counterpart, this “driva” has the ability to open behind a plasterboard wall under the action of a screw screwed into it. For installation, as in the previous case, a screwdriver or screwdriver is enough.

Diameter, mm
Length, mm
14 23
14 32

The first approach unspeakably surprised our editors. “Driva” she is “driva” in Africa, she knows how to keep the brand: both metal and plastic. The breakdown occurred at around 173 lbs or 78.5 kg, which, of course, seriously exceeds the limit set by the manufacturer (110 lbs – 49. 9 kg).

However, the further two approaches (102 lbs – 46.3 kg, 160 lbs – 72.6 kg, respectively) suggest that the spread of quality, not even from batch to batch, but from package to package, is very serious. This is explained by the production method (casting) and the material of manufacture (polymer – plastic, common for dowels).

In addition, the size of the “dismantling” hole leaves much to be desired. In the table, the results of the second experiment are marked in red, since the effort from the manufacturer was not achieved.

DRIVA plastic
Break force, kg

Destruction (visual)
Information on the packaging 49.9
Experiment 1 78.5 unsuccessful
Experiment 2 46. 3 unsuccessful
Experiment 3 72.6 unsuccessful

MOLLY anchor

Judging by the positive feedback from amateur users and master finishers, this anchor can only be called the king of hipcore and the situation as a whole. When installing baby Molly, drilling a hole of the same diameter as the sleeve is required. Further work with it is no different from previous models.

This anchor is almost universal, because the diameters with which it is presented on the market are numerous:

Diameter, mm
Length, mm
8 55
10 55
12 55

Opening the anchor sleeve is similar to opening the crime of a spacer rivet. However, here an important detail awaits us: the photo shows that the petals of the anchor sleeve rest against the material so much that it is pressed through. You can avoid this by screwing the bullet not with a screwdriver, but with a simple screwdriver.

Returning to the results of the experiment, we note that all approaches were at the level. For example, the first breakdown occurred with a force of 92 lbs or 42.1 kg (factory force 80 lbs – 36.3 kg).

The torn-edge ripped hole is not comparable, much larger than the diameter of the MOLLY anchor sleeve. The king is dead, long live the king!

Break force, kg

Destruction (visual)
Information on the packaging 36.3
Experiment 1 42.1 unsuccessful
Experiment 2 40. 4 unsuccessful
Experiment 3 39.0 unsuccessful

Expanding spring anchor

One of the oldest and simplest designs! Insert the hardware into the previously prepared hole according to the size of the drop-down part (it must be folded) and tighten the bullet (bolt) until it stops. However, the hole always turns out to be larger than necessary, and this negatively affects spontaneous dismantling.

Speaking of sizes:

Diameter, mm
Length, mm
6 7.5
8 10
10 12.5

The participants in our comparison go head to head, and even the “grandfather” of the anchors does not give up his positions. At the first breakdown, the force was 93 lbs or 42.1 kg (70 lbs – 31.8 kg factory).

As mentioned above, a very large mounting hole has a bad effect on the final result when the hardware breaks. Unsatisfactory huge hole.

Spring anchor
Break force, kg

Destruction (visual)
Information on the packaging 31.8
Experiment 1 42.1 unsuccessful
Experiment 2 39.9 unsuccessful
Experiment 3 42.2 unsuccessful

Non-deforming drop-down MOLLY

Almost not found in the vastness of the Russian Federation type of anchor for drywall. The installation is the same as that of a conventional MOLLY, however, when tightening the bullet, the principle of the cartridge case mechanism is slightly different. The bolt first pushes the spacer, then tightens it.

Anchor dimensions:

Diameter, mm
Length, mm
8 55
10 55
12 55

The last contestant shows himself very well. The force of the first breakdown was 163 lbs or 73.9 kg against the manufacturer’s standards of 100 lbs or 45.4 kg.

We believe that the dismantling hole does not need comments.

MOLLY folding
Break force, kg

Destruction (visual)
Information on the packaging 45. 4
Experiment 1 73.9 unsuccessful
Experiment 2 84.4 unsuccessful
Experiment 3 85.7 unsuccessful

Summary table of the results of experiment

We present the results as follows. An average value was chosen from each series of experiments, since it is impossible to talk about any statistics for three points, but the experimentally obtained average will be the most reliable result. The third column shows the value of the ratio of the practical stall force to the factory one. By this coefficient, you can evaluate the reliability of the hardware. Those. how many times it is more reliable than stated by the manufacturer.

Break force, kg

U. S. ave / U.S. h.

Destruction (visual)
DRIVA metal 49.8 2.096 Satisfactory
Expansion dowel plastic 34.9 1.057 good
DRIVA plastic 72.6 1.573 unsuccessful
MOLLY 40.4 1.159 unsuccessful
spring anchor 42.1 1.323 unsuccessful
MOLLY folding 84.4 1.627 unsuccessful


Can the anchor be reused? If yes, which one and in what case?

— Yes, you can. Driva metal anchors do not deform at all, and polymer butterfly dowels – irreversibly. For other types, the fatigue of the material will be quite high, the reconnection will weaken.

How to replace drywall anchor? Can it be crafted?

– Oddly enough, in this regard, there is talk of flap and spacer blind rivets, which, of course, our editors do not approve of. The fact is that the embedded head of such a rivet cannot provide the proper contact area with the working surface of drywall. In addition, when riveting, fragile drywall can be easily damaged. As for making an anchor for “gypsum” at home, it is much easier to use a ready-made solution and not waste your time and energy.

What is the difference between a drywall anchor and an anchor for hollow parts?

– In the forces with which the anchor is held in the part / material. In hollow parts, the anchor is held by the “stopper”, that is, the tightening torque of the bullet plays a greater role than how tightly the sleeve sits in the material, because the friction force has practically no effect on it.

All about fasteners

Updated: 25.05.2023 11:28:36


Submitted successfully, Thank you for rating!

Click to rate

Molly Drywall Anchor: features, fastening rules

There are several varieties of dowels for drywall. This material is considered fragile, so the dowels must be fastened carefully so as not to damage the base. In hollow materials, the friction force created by the hardware does not work. To work with thin materials of loose construction, modern fasteners have been developed that can be easily bought at a hardware store. Molly dowels are considered one of these – metal fasteners for drywall.

How to choose the right Molly plug?

In fact, the entire load in hollow materials falls on the hardware itself. In a loose structure, it is impossible to create a sufficient friction force, so Molly’s dowel becomes the mouthpiece. The specific shape of the hardware implies that when a screw or nail is screwed into the dowel, its configuration changes.

If you need to fix a light object into drywall, it will be enough to use universal dowels. If you need to mount a heavy object, then Molly’s dowel will do. This fastener differs from analogues of dowels “butterflies” in material, since it is made of metal. This is the main criterion, because of which Molly’s dowels are several times more expensive than plastic models. Structurally, the hardware consists of a bushing and a screw part. The screw is sold as a set or selected separately. There are several features of the structure of the hardware:

  • there are slots in the metal structure, which perform the function of spreading the hardware. When screwed in, they are wedged, providing a tight fixation in the hole;
  • , a screw of the appropriate size and diameter is selected for the features of the collet thread;
  • if you buy a dowel kit, it is equipped with a serrated support washer. Special washer prevents untwisting by holding the collet;
  • Molly dowels accept countersunk and pan head screws.


When fixing in the hole, the dowel is installed closed. Only when the screw is screwed in does the shape of the Molly dowel change, which is a conical type support or an umbrella. It is tightly fixed in the hole. The screw itself is installed a little differently when compared with conventional dowels. It doesn’t need to be screwed in. The screw is pulled out with a special tool. Use pliers to install fasteners in working order. This type of installation allows you to reuse the Molly dowel. If desired, you can easily dismantle it from the hole without losing the properties of the hardware.

Molly dowels are exclusively metal fasteners, which are mainly made of steel. Additional treatment in the form of galvanization provides anti-corrosion protection. If you need maximum protection for serious projects, stainless steel dowels can be used. This is due to the high cost of products.

According to experts, the main disadvantage of Molly dowels is the necessary availability of free space. Fasteners cannot be installed in a closed area. The pliers for mounting and the hardware itself have certain parameters that require space.

Choice of Molly plugs: what to look for

When choosing a fastener, you need to take into account a number of characteristics and parameters of the Molly dowel. The list of mandatory characteristics that are important to evaluate:

  • hardware diameter: determined by the load that the Molly dowel must withstand. The increased diameter determines the high bearing capacity;
  • dowel length: for fixing and reliable connection with the dowel, it is necessary to estimate the size of the spacer, due to which the friction force will be created. If the length of the non-expansive part exceeds the thickness of the material layer, it will not be possible to guarantee reliable fastening;
  • material: stainless steel is considered the most durable and resistant to external influences (water, dampness, chemical fumes).

When choosing a fastener, it is also important to obtain information from the marking. Each standard defines its own values, indicated by marking. These can be the following parameters: thread diameter, length, screw type, base thickness and others.

Types of Molly plugs for drywall

Molly dowels are special fasteners, so there are not many varieties of them. Between themselves, the dowels differ in the material of manufacture. Galvanized steel fasteners have a galvanized coating, stainless steel fasteners are anti-corrosion. The second option is considered more resistant to temperature extremes, moisture, water. Stainless steel hardware is much more expensive, but justifies the price with its performance properties.

In terms of design features, the dowels themselves do not actually differ. Allocate only the types of screws used for their fastening. There are the following modifications:

  • countersunk head – flattened head that is set flush with the material or “drown”. Due to the flat shape of the cap, it is difficult to dismantle it, so damage to the drywall itself is not excluded;
  • round head – stays on the surface, does not hide. Dismantling is made easier;
  • hook screw – used to install suspended objects and structures. Great for attaching to drywall ceilings;
  • screw with a ring – to solve the installation of communications, non-standard items of complex configuration.

How to fix Molly dowels correctly?

To work with Molly dowels, you need to follow certain rules. To install the fastener in drywall material, you will need to screw in the screw twice. If you fasten suspended structures, then the screw is installed at a time.

Dowel Molly is most often used for fastening structures, interior items, and not other materials. For the correct calculation of the parameters of the hardware and consumption, it is important to calculate the load that the fastener will withstand. If you attach the dowel to a drywall wall, its working load will be from 12 kg. In order not to miscalculate with the length of the dowel, it is important to take into account such factors in the calculations: the thickness of the surface and the thickness of the structure. After summing up these indicators, fasteners are selected. The resulting figure must match the size of the non-separable part of the hardware.

To quickly create a connection, you will need special pliers. This is a slotted tool that perfectly grips the surface between the washer and the head. The dowel is pulled out during installation. If you do not have such pliers in your arsenal, you can try to solve the problem with the help of pliers. The process will take longer and requires some effort.

The basic algorithm for mounting the Molly dowel:

  1. Make a hole of the desired diameter in drywall using a drill. The resulting hole should match the diameter of the Molly dowel.
  2. The collet is fixed to the maximum depth so that it rests against the drywall base. If you have difficulty, use a hammer with a rubber working surface.
  3. You can then move on to screwing in the fasteners. The screw is easiest to screw in with a screwdriver or screwdriver. Even after this, Molly’s dowel remains in its original position.
  4. Take the pliers and pull out the screw. The collet is folding.
  5. We continue to pull out the screw, after which we fasten it a second time, capturing the structure to be fastened. If you need to install hanging items, the screw is simply screwed in again.

Drywall fasteners: can the Molly plug be replaced

There are other types of fasteners that can be used to fasten structures to drywall. Dowel Molly is considered the most convenient and common hardware. But, does he have an alternative?

Plastic dowels are made from durable materials that have proven themselves in the market. At the end of the plastic dowel there is a drill, due to which it is screwed into the drywall on its own. You do not have to make a pilot hole to attach the dowel. The final step is to screw in the screw. It will fix the fastener in the hole and provide good load-bearing capacity.

Molly metal dowels work on the same principle as their plastic counterparts. The main advantage will be the material of manufacture. High-strength steel withstands more loads and shows excellent performance properties.

The Molly dowel remains the most durable and effective fastener when working with drywall. Even considering its increased cost, fasteners remain the most popular when attaching to drywall.

What types of fasteners are used for drywall?

For plasterboard bases, other dowels are also used, which are designed for attachment to porous materials. Consider the main types of fasteners:

  • “butterfly”: able to withstand up to 30 kg load. A variety of fasteners is suitable for installing various interior items, lamps, electrical wiring and other light items. Due to the presence of protruding elements that form a kind of “skirt”, when the fasteners are twisted, wings are formed. For installation in a hole in the dowel, you need to clamp the protrusions. In this case, the notches are held in the plasterboard base in order to avoid arbitrary unwinding. “Wings” are adjacent to the material. The main advantages of the “butterfly” dowel are the possibility of reusable use and easy installation;
  • “umbrella”: the design of this type of dowel provides for the presence of two folding elements on the springs, which are at an angle of about 180 degrees. Such a dowel is designed to fix objects in hollow bases. This is the best mounting option if you need to hang the light from the ceiling. To install the dowel, the folding “legs” are clamped and placed in the hole. After that, the dowel opens in the form of an umbrella. The latch may have a hook or ring, for which structures are conveniently suspended;
  • dowel-nail: consists of two parts – a plastic element and a metal screw. After installing the dowel-nail, it will be almost impossible to dismantle the plastic part, but the screw itself can be unscrewed with a screwdriver. The dowel-nail is fixed with a hammer. With the help of such a mount, a small weight is fixed;
  • Driva: Tapered with a flat head. The tip is made in an acute-angled shape. The screw that is screwed into the dowel can be through and deaf. This fastener is used independently without pre-drilling holes. Even with a simple screwdriver, you can easily screw the dowel into drywall. In the process of fixing the screw, one part of the dowel is deformed. Due to its expansion, the hardware will not be able to unwind arbitrarily. This type of dowel is good because it can be fixed in drywall even with a minimum distance between the plasterboard and the support. “Driva” clamps are reused after dismantling;
  • The

  • Fischer dowel has self-tapping threads, so it can easily pass through drywall. The dowel expands when the screw is installed, and the thread itself is fixed in the material. Due to the design features of a modern dowel, the connection does not weaken over time;
  • ceiling plugs for drywall and hollow materials. The design of the dowels has spring parts, with which they are fixed to the sheets, being held on the back side of the material. There is an abundance of hats, hooks that distinguish fasteners from each other;
  • Sormat is available in two materials – nylon and metal. Only light objects can be attached to drywall with such a dowel. The dowel tip has a threaded part with protruding teeth. Due to this, it easily passes through the drywall base without a pilot hole. A 5mm pitch between the threads contributes to easy installation. When working with Sormat, there is minimal risk of sheet deformation or loosening of the connection;
  • NAT is a nylon dowel with wing-like retainers. They are held by the base from the wrong side. With allowable loads on fasteners, it cannot be pulled out or loosened. The hole itself is not loosened.