How To Drill Into Sheetrock

Are you planning to hang a picture or painting on your wall, and do you want to know how to drill a hole for a picture hanger? You’ve come to the right place, for we have researched this question and have the answer for you.

Here are the simple steps that you could follow to drill a hole into your sheetrock:

  1. Get the right drill bit for your wall.
  2. Insert and fasten the drill bit into your drill.
  3. Mark the area where you plan to drill with a pencil.
  4. Mark the right depth on the drill bit with masking tape.
  5. Wear safety goggles and a dust mask.
  6. Drill the hole on the wall where you made the mark, and stop the drill once you reach the marker on your drill bit.

The succeeding sections contain a more thorough version of the steps above, including the different types of fasteners that you might need to use depending on the weight of your picture frame, painting, or mirror. Read on!

Contractor worker with power tool building drywall elements, How To Drill Into Sheetrock?

How to Drill into Sheetrock

Drill a hole using the right speed. Using the right speed prevents your drill bit from heating too much. If the drill bit heats up too much, it will get dull and becomes ineffective in drilling a hole.

Drilling a white drywall wall

Additionally, a drill bit that overheats will lose the temper of its metal. This makes it softer than its normal hardness and becomes useless in drilling hard surfaces.

Always remember to go slow and press hard for hard materials and go fast and press light for soft materials. Below are the complete steps for drilling into sheetrock.

Important Safety Reminders

Before starting any drilling project, always wear safety equipment like safety goggles and a dust mask. Drilling produces a lot of dust, and wearing them prevents dust from getting into your eyes and respiratory system.

This is especially important when you’re drilling into sheetrock with insulation underneath.

How to choose the right drill bit to use

Choosing the right drill bit is important. The wrong drill bit can cause the drill bit to break against a material that it was not made to drill into. Moreover, the wrong drill bit can take longer to drill through and waste energy. So, if you’re not familiar with what your wall is made of, the first thing you need to do is to find out.

You could have sheetrock fastened to studs that are distributed evenly in specific locations. Or you could have sheetrock that is on top of a concrete or a brick wall.

Here are some possible wall combinations that you might encounter and the right drill bit to use for each.

Sheetrock And Plasterboard

If you plan to drill through sheetrock or plasterboard with nothing but insulation behind it, then you can use a regular drill bit. A drill bit with a spade tip is a good choice since you can use the spade tip on a variety of surfaces.

Even though sheetrock is not too hard, it is still important to use the right drill bit that can resist the drilling heat. A drill bit with a spur point tip is also a good option. The spur point tip ensures that your drill bit will stay on track as it starts to drill through the drywall.

Another thing to consider is the shank part of the drill. Although it is rare, some drill bits are not compatible with some drills.

Wood Drill Bit

Wood drill and plywood in a carpentry workshop

Drill bits for wood are often made of carbon steel. They come in different shapes and sizes to produce different types of holes on different types of wood. Choose a wood drill bit if you plan to drill a hole on sheetrock and into the stud under it.

See this Irwin drill bit set on Amazon through this link.

If you think you will need to drill a deep hole into the drywall and the stud, then use an installer bit. An installer bit or bell hanger bit is ideal for drilling deep holes into wood.

Masonry Drill Bit

Beautiful detail of shiny metal screw cutting tool for drilling concrete and hard building materials

Use a masonry drill bit if your drywall is installed over a brick, stone, or concrete wall. Use your standard drywall bit to pierce the drywall and then switch to the masonry bit to continue the hole through the brick, stone, or concrete wall.

These drill bits are often made of soft steel. They have tips of tungsten carbide that allow them to cut through hard walls.

See this TITGGI masonry drill bit set on Amason through this link.

Set your drill to the hammer function and use a slow speed. Slow speeds minimize the build-up of heat while drilling. Pull out your drill periodically to get rid of dust and debris in the hole. Pulling out your drill also allows you to check the drill bit. Some drill bits shatter when used with the hammer function of drills.

How to install the drill bit into your drill

Hands take the drill and install it into the electric drill

If you’ve worked with power drills before, then you can skip this section and move to the next one. However, it doesn’t hurt to read through and review the process.

The part of the drill that keeps the drill bit in place is called the drill chuck or simply the chuck. There are two types of chucks in power drills. The first type is the collar-type chuck, and the other type is the key-type chuck.

Regardless of the type, the drill chuck has three jaws inside that close and open to accommodate the different sizes of drill bits.

  • For the collar-type chuck, you simply twist the collar clockwise to tighten and counterclockwise to loosen. You can even run the drill at a slow speed while holding the collar so that it will tighten and loosen faster. Just remember to switch your drill to the right direction of spin.
  • For the key-type chuck, you need a key to tighten and loosen the chuck. Once you loosen the chuck, you can twist the chuck by hand to adjust the opening of the jaws.

When installing your drill bit, you need to open the jaws wide enough to accommodate the drill bit. Make sure that your drill bit is at the center of the three jaws and that it stays there while you tighten the chuck.

Some drill bits have three flat sides. Align these flat sides with the three jaws of your drill chuck. The flat sides give your drill a better grip on the drill bit.

Marking The Spot With A Pencil

Worker mark out a sheet of drywall with a pencil

Mark the spot that you plan to drill with a pencil.

If you want to drill into a stud, use a stud finder. A stud finder or a stud detector is a small handheld device that uses magnetic pistons to find studs behind sheetrock, plaster, or tile. Modern stud finders use changes in density to determine the presence of a stud behind the drywall.

Determine the right height for your hole. Then use a stud finder to determine the horizontal position of the hole, then mark it.

Marking The Depth Of The Hole

Get your hanger or screw and place it side by side with your drill bit. Mark the length of your hanger or screw on the length of your drill bit.

Marking the length of the screw or hanger will allow you to drill a hole to the right depth. This is important to avoid drilling a too shallow hole if you plan to drill on a stud or a wall with a concrete layer behind the sheetrock. Get a piece of masking tape and place it on your drill bit where you marked the length of the screw or hanger.

How to choose the right hanger for sheetrock

You can use various hangers for hanging pictures, paintings, or mirrors on sheetrock. If you’re drilling a hole through a stud or concrete, use hangers that are made for those materials for the best result.

The hangers below are best used on sheetrock that is hollow behind them or one that has only insulation inside.

Expanding Plastic Toggles

Expanding plastic toggles or expanding plastic sleeves are best for items that are less than 10 pounds. These plastic toggles expand as you tighten the screw, creating two perpendicular arms that grip the drywall from inside.

MICMTE’s drywall anchor kit is available on Amazon through this link.

Toggle Bolts

Toggle bolts work like plastic toggles, except that all their parts are made of metal. These fasteners can support up to 25 pounds.


Swpeet’s assorted 24-piece toggle bolt and wing nut kit is available on Amazon through this link.

Molly Bolt

A molly bolt is an improved toggle bolt that deploys three legs that grip the opposite side of the drywall. When you tighten a molly bolt, the three legs start to tighten their grip behind the drywall.

Another feature of a molly bolt is that you can remove the screw from the fastener and the fastener will remain fastened on the wall. You can then insert a bracket into the screw before you reinsert it into the molly bolt fastener.

Glarks heavy-duty zinc-plated steel molly bolt in a 42-piece kit and 6 different sizes are available on Amazon through this link.


There are different ways to drill through the sheetrock. However, it is important to consider the material behind the sheetrock that you plan to drill.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you might find the articles below equally enjoyable to read:

How To Hang A Whiteboard Without Nails?

How To Hang Pot Rack From Ceiling [Inc. Without Studs]?

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