Can You Cut Drywall With A Jigsaw? Learn Step by Step

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Can You Cut Drywall With A Jigsaw?

When you’re working with drywall, sooner or later you’ll probably need to make a hole.

Whether it’s to cut down a plasterboard piece to the right size or draw out a light switch, air vent, or electrical outlet, there’s no avoiding it.

The key is to figure out how to do it efficiently, securely, and properly so you don’t have to do it again.

  • Holes in drywall are relatively simple to make, but they require the right tools and technique to ensure that your wall doesn’t come unglued or fall apart when you’re hanging pictures on it.
  • Put another way, if you’re not careful, all of that newly hung art could come crashing down and leave you with a very large repair job on your hands.
  • To avoid this, take the time to do it right the first time around it’ll save you from having to put those pictures back up or perhaps even patching up holes that weren’t made properly.
  • In just a few minutes, we’ll show you how to make holes in drywall using standard tools with names you probably heard before, but may not know how to use properly.

It’s feasible to create a variety of holes in drywall with a jigsaw, such as common, rectangular, and plunge cuts to name a few.

Cutting drywall with a jigsaw is simple if you have the right tools for the job! A utility knife, saw blade, drill bit, marking instruments, and a drywall rasp are your essentials.

Work With Safety First!

Can You Cut Drywall With A Jigsaw

The following are some of the most important points to remember when using a jigsaw:

  • Know which direction you want your cut to go before you even begin!
  • It’s a lot easier to plan this out before rather than after the fact, so take a minute and figure it out beforehand.
  • If there are any outlets or switches nearby, shut them off at your circuit breaker box so they don’t accidentally get turned on.
  • Also, be sure to wear safety glasses, as drywall sawdust can fly everywhere.
  • It’s best to work in an open area with good lighting so you can see your cut lines clearly without straining yourself.
  • To make a perfect circle, use the base of a metal paint-can lid or some other round object to guide your drill bit while you bore into the drywall.
  • If you’re using the saw for the first time, read the owner’s manual thoroughly – that includes cover-to-cover reading, not just skimming.
  • Always use the correct safety equipment, such as a dust mask, goggles, work gloves, and steel-toed boots.
  • With difficult material, such as branches, make certain that your saw is set up correctly and that you’re using the right blade. Never put the tool to work on anything it isn’t designed for; if it refuses to cooperate, try re-cutting first before attempting to reverse it.
  • Excess dust may be collected in an extraction bag to keep the workstation clean while also protecting your lungs.
  • Stop using the saw when you notice any chips or cracks in the blade.

Related: Reciprocating Saw Vs Circular Saw?

Type of Cuts

A jigsaw can be used to cut drywall into three different cuts. Each one denotes a distinct method of cutting the material.

These include the following:

1. Standard Cuts

Standard Cuts are cuts that are made perpendicular to the surface of the drywall. They’re most often used in areas where it is difficult to access or provides a wide enough edge for the blade to cut into.

2. Knock-Down Cuts

A Knock-Down is a perforated cut made with the saw blade at an angle. This is done so that when the design has been created, you can remove each piece easily without having to score or notch them out.

3. Plunge Cuts

A plunge cut is a cut made by plunging the blade of a jigsaw down at an angle and then pulling it up very quickly, taking with it a small section of the material which makes it easy for you to remove any unwanted pieces or create gaps in your board.

The major downside to this technique is that the blade only cuts in one direction so you have to repeat this action on all sides of each piece so they are removed evenly, while the benefits are that the size of the hole doesn’t matter which can be useful when there isn’t much room to work with or if you want to have more control over the shape of your cut.

Another way this kind of cut can be made is with the saw in its standard position by jiggling it slightly while making your initial plunge cut.

This creates enough movement that you can then easily break off each piece of drywall without too much effort .

Plunge cuts are used for cutting holes when building furniture, cabinets or when hanging outlets and switches on a wall which makes them great for smaller jobs and repairs where you don’t need to patch up a lot of space.

It’s also easy to control the shape of your cut so if you’re not very skilled at using jigsaws then this might be a better choice since there’s little chance that your edges will be too rough.  

Another downside is that they create debris which can get everywhere so it should only be used when working outside or in a garage with the door open and tools that can easily be cleaned up afterwards.

4. Rectangular Cuts

Rectangular Cuts are cuts made on a jigsaw which are perpendicular to the surface of the board.

They are most commonly used when making long, straight cuts or in areas where it’s difficult to access or provides a wide enough edge for the blade to cut into.

Jigsaws are the best tool for this kind of cut because they allow you to make detailed shapes with your blade which can be used in many ways, including making small holes for electrical outlets.

5. Circular Cuts

Circular Cuts are Cuts that are made by putting a hole into the drywall at different angles, usually between 45-90 degrees.

They were designed to help install small outlets but their use is not limited to just these kinds of projects.

Plunge cuts give you more control over how each piece will look since you can slice each slice individually so it’s good for people who don’t have much experience using jigsaws and need an easier way to finish off decorative pieces or straighten up edges that may be rough or uneven.

Also Like: Cut Straight With Reciprocating Saw?

What You Need!

A hole saw, jigsaw blade, utility knife, and a screwdriver are all you need. Cut through the drywall so that it falls down on top of whatever is behind it (a floor or countertop for example), rather than having to support its weight with your hands.

For this, you’ll need a drywall saw (an inexpensive tool designed to make quick work of these types of cuts) and a tape measure.

A keyhole saw will do the job nicely for interior holes that are relatively small in size, but if you’re trying to bore through thicker or denser material like exterior brick, stone, or plaster then you’ll definitely want to invest in a stiffer saw like the drywall type.

Old Fashioned Hand Saws

You can also use one of those old-fashioned hand saws to bore through material as well, but this is only recommended for experts who know what they’re doing.

It’s much easier to cut and remove chunks of drywall rather than making one accurate, clean cut through it with a handheld saw.

Another Option!

If there’s another option available, you’ll probably want to go that route instead. Make sure you account for the width of your blade or drill bit when measuring out your cut line on the drywall (don’t forget the thickness of the wall itself!), and mark it out with a marker or pencil beforehand.

Power Drill

If you’re using a power drill, make sure to place a piece of scrap wood behind it to dull the impact of your blade on the other side.

  • A drywall saw will work fine on its own without any help from another surface for this step. If you’re not able to do this, then you’ll need to either drill holes on each side of your cut line first, or use something called a drywall key.
  • This is simply a specific type of saw blade designed for cutting through drywall (or other materials like wood paneling). It’s not absolutely necessary, but it will make the job easier if you’ve got one.
  • If you’re using a jigsaw instead, then simply line up your blade with the cut line and start sawing!
  • Make any necessary adjustments to the placement of the hole prior to drilling into it (don’t forget to account for your drill bit’s width!), and press firmly on the base of your jigsaw as you bore through the wall.

It’s much easier to remove smaller chunks of drywall this way rather than trying to cut all the way through it in once pass, so take your time if you have to.

What Kind of Jigsaw Should I Use to Cut Drywall?

Aside from a jigsaw, you’ll need a few additional tools to properly and safely cut drywall.

These include the following:

  • Utility Knife: A utility knife is a necessity for most drywall projects. The jigsaw will be used to outline electrical outlets and light switches on the inside of the wall.
  • Saw Blade: A drywall-cutting blade will be required. A medium tooth count blade (for example, a 14 TPI) works well and prevents the paper from ripping.
  • Drywall: Use a drill and a drill bit to make starter holes in drywall. This will allow the jigsaw blades to cut through more easily. To begin, plunge cut with the blade moving forward.
  • A carpenter’s pencil and a speed square: are two drawing tools that can be used to draw straight lines accurately. You don’t want to make an expensive, time-consuming blunder by cutting incorrectly.
  • Drywall Rasp: This tool is a serrated-wire grate that aids in the smoothing of rough drywall edges and improves the overall look of the cuts.

How Do I Cut Drywall with a Jigsaw?

Despite the fact that you’ll need to be careful, cutting drywall with a jigsaw is actually quite easy.

  • The first thing you’ll need to do is lay down a sturdy and firm piece of wood (such as plywood) and loosely attach scrap pieces of drywall to it. This will provide your blade with a nice surface to rest on as you cut through it.
  • Next, ensure that your blade’s teeth are facing UP and position them so they’re flush against the drywall surface. Then, move your saw back and forth as you slowly lower the saw into your starting point.
  • Once the blade has cut through the paper layer and into the outer layer, press it through with one continuous motion to ensure that it’s all the way through.
  • Repeat this process for all corners, curves, and any other places where you need to make drywall cuts. The more careful you are with this step, the better off your cut line will be in the long run.
  • Alternately, if you don’t have a jigsaw or another method of cutting out small holes, you can use a drywall rasp for this step as well. It will provide you with a smoother hole and make it easier to install the electrical box.

How Do I Cut Drywall Without a Jigsaw?

If you don’t have access to, or aren’t able to afford, a jigsaw then you may be wondering how else you could cut out these holes.

  • Well, there’s a very specific tool for this attempt at cutting drywall without a jigsaw called a drywall keyhole saw. It will get the job done, but it isn’t nearly as easy to maneuver and may result in additional damage to your wall.
  • To use one of these saws you’ll need to secure it in place and use a pencil to draw your cut line.
  • You can attach the saw by simply drilling a hole on either side of where you’d like to make the cut and screwing both pieces of wood together securely (the saw must remain parallel with the surface at all times).
  • Doing this allows you to apply firm pressure as you cut.
  • When it’s securely fastened, you’ll simply need to make a series of small and shallow cuts until the saw has cut all the way through.
  • Again, this is likely to cause additional damage to your wall which may require repairs later on.
  • Once you’ve removed the piece of drywall that contains the hole, use a drywall rasp to smooth out the edges. Also, cover the exposed edge of the hole with a piece of drywall tape to provide additional support.

How Do I Fix Drywall Holes?

Now that you’ve learned how to cut drywall without nailing it back up, you may be wondering what your next course of action should be.

Well, there are several different ways to go about it depending on the size of your hole.

  • The easiest option is to simply tape over the edges with drywall tape and repaint once it’s dried.
  • This will allow you to make repairs easily in the future should they become necessary. However, if the hole is too big for this method then it will be impossible to fix without patching.
  • To do this, you’ll need drywall mud (and possibly a sanding block) along with joint compound and paint after the patch has dried.
  • To repair larger holes you should place some sandpaper on your sanding block and lightly sand over the edges until they’re even.
  • Once that’s done, apply a thin coat of joint compound in an area that extends .5″ beyond the hole on both sides.
  • Then, gently press one side of the patch into place before attaching it to the wall. Use your damp sponge to smooth out any air bubbles or excess mud so that it blends in with surrounding areas for an even finish.
  • When working with large repairs like this, there are just a few things you need to remember. First, don’t apply too much mud at once or it will dry before you have the chance to smooth it out completely.
  • Second, if your patch is larger than 3″ in diameter then you may want consult an expert for best results.
  • Last, but not least, let each coat of mud dry fully before applying another one and be sure that the final coat has been sanded perfectly smooth before painting over it with paint mixed to match your existing walls.
  • Once it dries and cures properly (and is painted over), your hole should be unnoticeable and free from any additional damage.

How To Cut Out Holes Around Toilets?

When cutting through drywall around toilets there’s only one thing you need to remember: the less cutting the better.

  • This is because any cut made near a drain will increase your chances of water damage which could lead to expensive repairs later on.
  • When doing this, it’s almost always best to remove the toilet first.
  • Cut out as little drywall as possible until you’ve pried off the top portion of the surrounding wall with a pry bar or flat head screwdriver.
  • If that isn’t an option then simply use regular scissors and snip away only as much material as necessary around slip openings and anywhere else there may be screws (be sure to take pictures beforehand for reference).
  • Before placing your new piece of drywall in place, attach wire mesh tape to areas where there are visible gaps between the old and new pieces.

This will prevent any possible leaks from occurring through those areas in the future.

Repairing around toilets is a good time to use spring clamps to secure large pieces of drywall together as this area requires that they be very sturdy and secure (the screws or nails used to hold them up cannot penetrate past your new piece, however).

How To Make A Large Hole Smaller?

“Butt joints” are usually the most economical method for patching holes because it doesn’t require additional materials such as tape or mud.

  • It works best for small or shallow holes but can be used on larger ones by using lightweight metal corner beads that allow you form a tight seal between two sheets of broken Drywall .
  • Before painting over the joint, make sure that the surrounding areas are perfectly smooth with no bumps or ridges and then sand lightly to ensure a smooth finish.
  • This method is also great for covering screw holes when hanging new picture frames or other wall hangings.
  • Simply place a piece of tape over the hole and cut it in half diagonally using either scissors or a sharp utility knife before removing the backing and placing your newly made “L” shaped patch into place flush against the wall then secure both halves together with two small finishing nails (this will cover up any unsightly blemishes left behind by removed screws).
  • Although this technique may not be suitable for larger patches it’s definitely worth putting into practice every time you need to fix multiple small cracks.

If you’re not confident in your drywall repair skills and would rather hire a professional, that’s not always necessary; There are many different businesses that offer free estimates on larger projects such as this. 


To sum up, drywall cutting with a jigsaw is simple if you have the proper supporting equipment.

When it comes to cutting sheetrock, a utility knife saw blade, a drill with a drill bit, marking instruments, and a drywall rasp are all useful.

A jigsaw can make a number of holes in drywall, including conventional, rectangular, and plunge cuts.

I hope Can You Cut Drywall With A Jigsaw guide will serve as a quick reference. IF you like this article hit the newsletter/subscribe button to see our new posts about earbuds and share it with your friends, also gives back your feedback if you like or dislike anything in the comments section. 
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