Quick Tip: Lessen Your Dusty Drill Spill with a Post-It

created at: 10/20/2010

As a how-to maker and writer, I regularly drill holes in walls to set up photos to try to make things look their best. And it regularly creates lots of dust and a huge mess. So, when I saw this photo make the blog rounds yesterday, I thought I’d give it a try.

The idea is obvious: the post-it note captures the dust at the source (more or less), before it goes everywhichway. The walls along the perimeter of my house are concrete, and the internal walls are gypsum (drywall), so I gave it a full run-through.

Heavy-duty drill, concrete walls: Sorta. In order to get into these walls, I normally have to use the hammer function on my heavy-duty drill. This vibrates the wall and spins the dust everywhere. A lot of it was captured in the post-it, and a lot of it wasn’t. I typically run a handheld vacuum next to my hole, and that was still required here…at least to clean up the surrounding areas

Light-duty drill, concrete walls: Impossible in the first place, sticky note non-withstanding

Heavy-duty drill, drywall: Mostly the same as with the concrete walls. A strong drill spins so quickly and powerfully, that the dust seems to go out in a bigger radius.

Light-duty drill drywall: Here’s where the technique shines. For just poking a hole for an anchor in drywall, which doesn’t require that much power, this trick really does work. About 80% of the dust was captured. I still had to get out the hand vac, but think this trick is a great option when drilling over fabric or upholstery, like when hanging art above a sofa, or in a room with carpet, or even white floor trim.

Of course, all of these were at my house with my walls and my tools, so your mileage may vary.

There I Fixed It