How to Make Your Own Wood Filler

What You'll Need
Wood glue
Quantity of fine sawdust (not wood shavings or chips)
Disposable container or board for mixing
Putty knife
Large piece of scrap cardboard
Wooden dowel or popsicle stick
Dustpan and brush
Fine sandpaper

Though it is easy to buy wood filler at most hardware stores, knowing how to make your own can also be useful. By following a few easy steps, you can create a color that suits your purposes, save a little money and gain a sense of satisfaction.

Step 1 – Gather and Sift Sawdust

As you will probably only ever need wood filler when you are undertaking a woodwork project, you are likely to have a decent quantity of sawdust that you can use. Whether this comes through the use of sandpaper or a power tool, the saw dust is all the better if it comes from the same type of wood that you need to use the filler on. Use a clean and dry dustpan and brush to gather up the sawdust and deposit it on the cardboard so that you can sift through it to remove any foreign bodies and large pieces of wood. This type of wood filler is suitable for small jobs and you will not need more than a handful.   

Step 2 – Add Glue

The cardboard can be used to mix the wood filler. However, you can transfer it to a container or piece of chipboard if you want something more stable. After brushing the sawdust back into a pile, add the glue at a quantity of three times the amount of sawdust. The glue you use will depend on what you intend to do with the filled wood; avoid using a PVA glue if you want to stain the wood after as it does not accept stain particularly well and you will be left with unusual patches that look out of place. This will not be a problem if you want to show the natural wood grain.  

Using the wooden stick or dowel, slowly mix the glue into the sawdust so that you thoroughly merge the substances. Continue to gradually work the mixture until it turns into a substance that resembles a putty which you can manipulate between your fingers – a little like a tacky clay. Rectify a mixture which is too wet or dry by adding small amounts of sawdust or glue respectively.   

Step 3 – Apply Filler

With the mixture thoroughly combined, you will be in a position to apply it to the defect that requires it. Gather a small amount onto the putty knife or you can use your fingers and work it into the relevant gap. Lightly scrape the knife over the surface to remove any excess and create a smooth result and finish this off by dampening your finger with a little water and smoothing it over the repair site. Allow the wood filler to dry thoroughly and use some fine sandpaper to smooth it further, if necessary.