How-To: Set Drywall Anchors

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What do you want to hang on the wall? Is it a shelf? A photo? Do you have a neat magnetic organizer that needs to go up? Or just a hook for hanging your towels? No matter what you need to mount to the wall, it’s always best to do the job right, and there’s nothing better than a good drywall anchor. They come in many shapes and sizes, so follow my tips for setting 4 different types of anchors — for whatever load they might need to bear.



Various drywall anchors Each anchor will require different tools.
Measuring tape

Note: Before you go punching holes in the walls with drill or hammer, always measure, then measure again! Use the end of a screw to mark the spot.
The Plastic Flip-Up Kind: This drywall anchor is a small plastic sleeve that is inserted in the wall, and then when the screw is inserted into the anchor, the plastic part flips up in the back to secure the load. The packaging for mine calls itself “Tap-n-Lock,” and it has a diagram on the package so you know what you are getting.
To set it: Find the arrow on the front of the plastic bit. Make sure it’s pointing up, and then hammer it into the wall. Use a screwdriver to add the screw.
The Metal Expanding-Anchor Kind: This is an all-in-one anchor. The screw is already in this anchor, and when you turn the screw, it expands the metal fasteners behind the wall until they have clamped down to bear the weight.
To set it: Hammer it into the wall. Tighten the loose screw until it is firmly grasping the wall. Once you have the anchor tight, back the screw out to hang a hook or picture.
The Plastic Screw-In Kind: This is the easiest type of drywall anchor. Like the others, it’s hammered into the wall, but it simply grips the wall with it’s giant threads.
To set it: Hammer it in to get it started, then screw the anchor directly into the wall with a screwdriver. Just put the screwdriver right into the hole that the screw will go in, and tighten it down until it is set.
The Folding-Metal Jaw-Anchor Kind: This anchor is the most hardcore. It is super heavy duty, and requires a drill to first create a hole in the wall. But once you have this one in the wall, it can hold the heaviest of loads out of all the anchors I’ve outlined.
To set it: Drill a hole in the wall that is the same size as the anchor assembly. Then pinch the jaw closed and insert it into the hole. You might need to work the metal jaw into the hole a bit. Once the metal is in the wall, it opens right up. Grip the thread of the post, and add a hook.

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