One of my current projects is fixing a hole I knocked in the wall a few months ago. Without going into the shameful details, there was a party and my ass found its way in between two studs in the living room. (And no, there was no less homoerotic way to word that sentence.) I have never worked with drywall before and this project has definitely been a learning experience. My friend Joseph House was kind enough to lend me drywall tools and advice, but that did not prevent my first attempt from being a messy failure. Because this hole is in a high traffic area and the house we are renting is very nice, the repair has to be invisible. My first patch was definitely NOT invisible, so I had to cut it out and start again.
Some lessons learned from the first patch:
1. Score and snap a drywall panel with a straight edge and utility knife, don't make an imperfect hack job with a small drywall saw.
2. If you do it right, there is very little sanding involved
3. Prep the room by laying plastic over the floor of the work area and placing a fan in front of the nearest window to blow the drywall dust outside
3. For a patch 12"x12", you must screw the patch into the studs, not just assume the plaster will hold it in place
4. After you apply and scrape off a layer of plaster, don't try to reuse the scraped off plaster
So I made some rookie mistakes in the beginning. Now I think I'm set though, and this next attempt will be much better. One problem I'm running into is that the two studs I'm screwing into are not flush. The original builders seem to have compensated for this by placing a layer of hardboard between the left stud and the drywall. Unfortunately I must have cut away this hardboard when I removed the initial damaged patch, so I'll need to come up with a way to make a spacer for the left side. Pictures of the project can be found here.