Painter’s putty and spackle are very similar; however, despite their similarities, they still differ. If painting is one of your day-to-day activities. I’m sure you would have been in a situation where you had to choose between painters’ putty vs spackle.

If you are curious about the differences between these two painting materials, this article will help satisfy your curiosity.

Painter’s putty differs from spackle in terms of the types, composition, functionality, uses, and ease of use.

Before discussing more on the differences between both, we can begin by first getting to know more about these two, which I will explain to you.

Painters Putty Vs Spackle

Painters Putty Vs Spackle: Putty

Painter’s putty, as it sounds, is great for painters. This soft painting material is made from ground chalk and raw linseed oil. It helps to make a nice smooth finish when you use it with a putty knife and sandpaper. A few hours after applying it, this paste hardens to fill in the holes, gaps, or cracks on walls and other surfaces.

If you wish to paint a wall and have cracks, holes, or gaps on it, you should consider using painter’s putty. Don’t make the mistake of painting on your wall or other surfaces without correcting all imperfections; otherwise, the outcome of your painting will be unpleasant.

Painters Putty Vs Spackle: Spackle

Spackle, a drywall joint compound, is basically used in construction and is similar to painter’s putty in the aspect of using it to fix gaps, holes, and other imperfections. This painting material consists of hydrated Calcium Sulfate, gypsum plaster, and glue.

Spackle can also be painted over very comfortably, similar to caulk when you coat it with a primer layer in advance. However, despite its similarity with painter’s putty, it is still quite different from painter’s putty. Factors that differentiate painters putty from spackle are:

  • Types
  • Composition
  • Functionality
  • Uses
  • Ease of use


Painter’s putty is available in different forms and sizes, and they also have a variety of measurements which makes the painter’s putty highly versatile. The different painter’s putty types explain why this painting material can perform various tasks and purposes.

Spackle, on the other hand, is only available in buckets or bins and the buckets/bins help to keep the spackle in its original form.


A variety of painter’s putty has their respective composition, which varies. Most painter’s putty contains some silicone and several other chemical compounds, such as platinum catalysts, hydrogen polysiloxanes, and a collection of plasticizers.

Spackle, on the other hand, does not contain a variety of ingredients. Instead, it has just a few essential materials, which are calcium carbonate, vinyl, pregelatinized starch, and clay. A few of these painting materials may also contain titanium dioxide and a small amount of quartz dust.


Generally speaking, painter’s putty is available in different strengths and is a vital substitute for staples, thumbtacks, magnets, and tapes.

Spackle, on the other hand, commonly replaces the drywall compounds and provides a resurfacing appropriate for painting and filling holes in walls. Since that spackle dries faster, it cannot be wet again after completing the drying process.


As you would have read earlier, painter’s putty is primarily used to fill holes, gaps, and cracks. In addition to this, this painting material helps correct the peeling and chipping in the paint. You can also use painter’s putty to prevent holes from appearing on a surface you are using screws or nails on.

Spackles, on the other hand, are primarily valuable for the bathroom or perhaps, in other wet places. This is because they cannot be affected by showers, baths, and moisture from other sources. However, they are not usable on drywall joints, and this is because if they are used on drywall joints, it could result in fracturing or splitting apart.

Ease of Use

When you compare painter’s putty with spackles, you will discover that painter’s putty is a lot easier to use than spackle. The painter’s putty is easier to shape and spread out. Also, in contrast to spackle, it often requires a relatively shorter period to settle

As for spackles, this painting material is designed to be a joint compound and you will need to use it in conjunction with the primer. In addition to this, you will need to apply a lot of effort and exercise enough patience for it to perform its intended objectives for the same almost invisible results. This is because spackle is not perfect for receiving paint.

One other difference between painter’s putty and spackle is that spackle can experience shrinkage as soon as the water dries up, making it harder to fill dings in the wall and other surfaces with this paste compound which isn’t the same case with painter’s putty.


We can’t deny that painter’s putty and spackles differ despite having some similarities. However, one fact about these two is that it is possible to use them interchangeably. In other situations, one tends to have the upper hand; talk of painter’s putty having to receive paint a little better than spackle and also, spackle being better optimized for general repairs.

Despite their similarities or differences, both materials are helpful in painting and handy. However, when you have to complete a paint job to a professional standard, consider using painter putty as long as you plan to sand it once it gets dry.

If you are repairing corners, wood, plaster, or trim, you should consider using spackles since that is its primary purpose. Nevertheless, it would be best to consider using whichever you are comfortable with.


Can I use the painter’s putty on drywall?

Of course, you can. However, it is not advisable to do so as painter’s putty is not designed to use with raw drywall. Instead, it is meant to be used with plaster. You will get better results when you use a spackle instead. Spackle is a purpose-built joint compound for drywall and will give you your desired results.

Does the painter’s putty harden?

Yes, it does. The painter’s putty hardens but will require some years to occur. It usually forms solid skin on the exterior. The solid skin can then be sanded and smoothed. If you would like your painter’s putty to get harder after applying it, you should never think of using heat, as heat will only make it softer. After applying your painter’s putty, please leave it to harden itself.

How long should the painter’s putty dry before sanding, and is a primer necessary after the putty?

Typically, you should leave this joint compound to dry for 24 hours before sanding, painting, or priming it.
You should use a primer after applying the painter’s putty, especially if such painter’s putty is acrylic. However, for acrylic painter’s putty, a primer is not only used after applying the putty. It would help if you also used it before applying the putty.
If you use cement-based putties or polymer putty, a coat of primer is acceptable after applying the putty. The coat of primer will help bind the putty to the wall.