For many people, putting paint on the walls and ceiling seems like a common and easy thing to do. But depending on the nature of the task you plan, you can decide to go with the painter’s putty or spackle.

Sometimes you have to join several parts and components, while at the same time, you also have to seal any cracks and holes. The nature and requirements of the painter’s putty and spackle can be confusing, so we are going to define and juxtapose the similarities and differences between the two of them for you. Let’s get right into it!

What is Painter’s Putty?

What is Painter Putty
Being made from ground chalk and raw linseed oil, the painter’s putty is a greyish-yellow paste that is soft and malleable. With a few hours of exposure to the harsh external environmental conditions, the paste hardens to fill in any small holes, nail holes, gaps, and cracks on surfaces.

The painter’s putty can help to produce a nice smooth finish when you use it with a putty knife and sandpaper. The painter’s putty is fast-acting and easy to use when you plan to correct all the problem areas so that you can prime and paint the surface over seamlessly for the best outcomes you desire.

What is Spackle?

What is Spackle
Spackle is normally used in construction as a drywall joint compound. Spackle comprises hydrated Calcium Sulfate, glue, and gypsum plaster and it has a lot of similarities with painter’s putty: it can be used to fix gaps, holes, and other minor imperfections in woodwork, trim, wall, or ceiling. It can also be painted over very easily just like caulk when you coat it with a layer of primer beforehand.

However, despite all the shared similarities in its base compound with the painter’s putty, spackle is different from its sibling.

What’s The Difference Between Painter’s Putty Vs Spackle?


These two materials differ in terms of their functionality, which is determined by strength and makeup. The painter’s putty is generally available in a variety of strengths and it is applicable in the place of staples, magnets, thumbtacks, and tapes.

On the other hand, spackle normally replaces the drywall compounds. It confers a resurfacing that is ideal for painting and filling the holes in the walls because the spackle dries much faster and cannot be wet again after completing the drying process.


Generally speaking, the painter’s putty is available in different forms and sizes and they also weigh varying amounts of money and have different measurements. For these reasons, the painter’s putty is highly versatile and may perform a wide range of chores, tasks, and purposes.

As for the spackles, they are typically available in buckets or bins built to hold the content in its original shapes and shapes. They are available in different strengths and weights just like the painter’s putty. As such, spackles are also applicable to wallpapering and the connection of pieces of wood, among other essential tasks.


On the whole, different kinds of painter’s putty epitomize different kinds of ingredients. Most painter’s putties add some silicone and a host of other chemical compounds, such as hydrogen polysiloxanes, platinum catalysts, and an assortment of plasticizers.

With the spackling materials, the key constituent materials consist of vinyl, calcium carbonate, clay, and pregelatinized starch. A few spackles may also have titanium dioxide and a bit of quartz dust. Therefore, these inherent differences take part in the efficacy of these two construction materials.

Uses of Spackle and Painter’s Putty

As mentioned above, the painter’s putty is primarily used to fill the holes and correct the peeling and chipping in the paint. You can use painter’s putty to prevent holes arising from the surface when screwing and nailing the posters and paintings to the walls.

On the other hand, spackles are primarily used in bathroom environments because they are not affected by showers, baths, and the moisture that usually occur from showering activities. They are however not usable on drywall joints because they are capable of fracturing or splitting apart.

Ease of Use

Between the two materials, the painter’s putty is easier to use than the spackle. The painter’s putty is not so thick despite being a form of a paste and you will find it easier to shape and spread out. Besides, compared to spackle, it often takes a relatively shorter period of time to settle.

The situation is however different from the spackles. It’s designed to be a joint compound and you have to use spackle in conjunction with the primer. You will also have to put in a lot of effort and wait for a long time to have it perform its intended objectives for the same almost invisible results because spackle is not optimized for receiving paint.

Moreover, because of uneven paintwork and colors where the hole was when it all dries in, you can tell whether an area has had spackle used on it or not, which is not what you expect when trying to finish large visible walls to a professional standard.

Besides, as soon as the water dries out, spackle can suffer from shrinkage which makes it harder to fill dings in the wall with this paste compound compared to the painter’s putty.

The Bottom Line

Now that you have learned all the similarities and differences between painter’s putty and spackle, as well as their nature and use, you can confidently carry on your task with the right intention in mind. The choice between these materials may vary depending on the type of project you plan, so make sure you have all the information needed, all the requirements, and the kind of tools you have to use for the task before settling with painter’s putty or spackle. Best of luck in your next construction process!