Fastening Things to Drywall
(and Plaster maybe)

Shown in order of increasing holding power

Plastic Anchor

These conical plastic anchors are worthless for drywall.  A #10 screw directly into the wall will work as well.  (They work OK for light duty in masonry)


Nylon Wall Driller

I like these for a pulling force of less than than about 20# on a single fastener.


Nylon Toggle Wall Grip

These fasteners work well for things like bathroom fixtures and towel racks.  They're like a lighter duty toggle bolt, but don't require the toggle bolt's large hole, and the "wings" don't fall off if you have to remove the screw temporarily.  They can hold a pulling force of about 40# each.


Molly Bolt

A traditional favorite for fairly strong holding power.

How to use a Moly bolt.

Toggle Bolt

For heavier lifting, the larger toggle bolts are a traditional favorite.  Toggle bolts require a bigger hole in the wall, and if you ever have to remove them they drop the anchor part (wing) inside the wall and you have to get another one.  

How to use a toggle bolt.

Click Here for an Article on How Many of the
Above Fasteners You Need For Your Job

Don't Use Drywall Fasteners For Heavy Loads

If you have really heavy loads you should not use drywall fasteners.  For the sake of argument, let's say a pulling force of 75# is the upper limit for a single toggle bolt.  By pulling I mean forces trying to pull the fastener out of the wall.  All of them can handle somewhat greater forces that are parallel to the wall--at right angles to the fastener, like a hanging picture.

So, if you must apply more than 75# to a single fastener you need to use screws run into studs.  If you simply can't position the fastener at a stud, then span two studs with a board screwed to the studs, and screw the object to the board.

Lighter Objects

Picture Hangers

For pictures and light objects, picture hangers will do.


I haven't been able to find a good article on wall fasteners.  This one is the best I've found.

Here's a video on using drywall fasteners.


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