How Do You Make a DIY Wood Filler Without Sawdust?

If you buy something through our posts, we may get a small commission. Read more here.

Share It

Because of the high demand for commercial wood fillers around the globe, most woodworkers have switched to making their fillers in their households.

Fortunately, it’s more straightforward than it sounds, especially if you know the proper techniques and materials. So worry less, our woodworkers will teach you to quickly DIY wood filler without sawdust.

Can You DIY a Wood Filler? Why Make Your Own?

The short answer is yes, making your own wood filler is possible, and you can do it yourself.

This is because you can get the prominent components in making a homemade, sawdust-free wood filler — like cornstarch and wood glue — in your woodworking space. 

Making Your Wood Filler Without Sawdust: Step-by-Step Guide

As mentioned, it is possible to make wood filler that’s sawdust-free. You just need a few materials and tools to achieve them.

making wood filler

Necessary Tools & Materials

Step #1: Measure & Pour the Ingredients

Instead of using sawdust to make wood filler, you will use cornstarch and wood glue as the main ingredient this time. The use of cornstarch will avoid getting the wood glue stuck in your container.  

Get your measuring cup, then pour the necessary cornstarch and wood glue inside the plastic container or mixing bowl.

Note that the cornstarch wood glue mixture must be 1:1. Also, remember to not use old corn starch as it reduces the efficacy of the wood glue filler.

In addition, your mixing process should start with adding corn starch to prevent wood glue from getting stuck within the paper plate or the mixing bowl.

holding a beaker of cornstarch

Step #2: Combine the Measured Materials

Mix the cornstarch and the best wood glue well with the plastic spoon when making wood filler.

You may add extra glue if you can see that the mixture looks rough and you want it with a putty-like consistency — roughly the same with cookie dough.

combining mixtures with wood glue

However, it is crucial to use appropriate wood glue as it will become runny if you put too much. Again, put cornstarch first to avoid getting your wood glue stuck inside the measuring cup or mixing bowl.

Step #3: Begin Kneading

Take your cornstarch wood glue mixture from the mixing bowl, then put it on your palm. Knead until it becomes a dough.

Engage in a continuous process similar to baking a bread, ensuring consistent effort. Additionally, you must continue kneading until the mixture no longer adheres to your fingers or palms, indicating the desired consistency has been achieved.

Step #4: Add Petroleum Jelly

Adding petroleum jelly reduces stickiness while maintaining a smooth texture. Stretch, push, then pull the cornstarch and wood glue mix with your fingers till it reaches a taffy-like consistency.

After that, your mixture should not be sticky anymore.

Do not add petroleum jelly more than the desired dose. This is because excess petroleum jelly can slow down curing time.

mixing guide on making wood filler

Step #5: Cover it With Plastic and Place it in a Plastic Bag

Wrap your mixture entirely, then press it thoroughly to make sure that the inside is airtight. You may use any plastic wrap or paper towels in your kitchen to cover foods and other stuff.

Once done, put your mixture inside a plastic bag or wrap. On top of that, air seal the plastic bag to suck all the air out and leave it for a day until the putty cures. 

After at least 24 hours, you can take your DIY woodworking project from your plastic bag. Then, unwrap the plastic wrapper and warm the mixture before utilizing it as your personalized or DIY wood filler.

How You Can Make Sawdust for Fillers

As a woodworker, you already know that sawdust [1] is the main component in making a homemade wood filler. Since you can make sawdust out of a piece of scrap wood, you can also match the specific color of the wood to your filler.

Tools & Materials

Here is the list of tools and materials you need for your DIY wood filler:

preparing sawdust on making wood filler

Take a look at these four easy steps to make one:

  1. Clean the scrap wood you use to get sawdust.
  2. Sand the scrap wood and take the sawdust to a paper cup or cardboard. You may also use a measuring cup.
  3. Mix sawdust with your wood glue.
  4. Apply the mixture immediately before it hardens. Make sure to wipe any excess with paper towels to avoid over-applying.

Wood Filler and Putty Alternatives

Check out the products and compounds below that you may use as wood putty and filler replacements. These products are your best alternatives for commercial wood filler. 

Nuvo cabinet paint

Chalk Dust & Painter’s Whiting

Both chalk dust and painter’s whiting are produced from calcium carbonate, making them excellent wood putty alternatives. Aside from a putty knife, you will need linseed oil and paint similar to the wood color.


DIY wood fillers formed using painters and dust are excellent for fixing nail holes.

Put a tiny drop of paint into the middle of a non-stick surface. Start the mixing process using a putty knife to achieve a dough-like compound or putty consistency.

Linseed Oil

Another substitute is the combination of chalk dust and linseed oil. Just pour the oil and dust into the mixing bowl and stir until you achieve the thick putty style consistency.

wood putty

Sawdust & Woodglue or Sawdust & Shellac

This following combination is an ideal DIY wood filler substitute. The materials you need are scrap wood and shellac or wood glue.

Using Wood Glue

Before you start, note that mixing sawdust plus wood glue creates a much darker color than the initial wood.

This happens because sawdust has a more significant surface area, causing it to absorb more stains than other areas.

Using Shellac

Clear shellac dries faster than most wood glues. This time, you would not worry about matching colors. However, do not use the natural one since it is orange and it will not fit your wood color. But how about a dewaxed shellac? Find out next. 

Use Drywall Mud

If you are trying to find another effective DIY wood filler alternative, go for a drywall mud compound. We suggest checking out how you can use dry wood as a filler for your next primary wood project material below:

Necessary Supplies
using drywall mud

Step #1: Mix & Stir

Put the desired quantity of drywall compound into the bucket and stir it well to mix with water until the mixture forms a paste.

You may check the instructions on the commercially available drywall compounds regarding how much water you can add.

Step #2: Use the Mixture in the Hole and Allow it to Dry

Once your paste-like compound starts to form, use your putty knife to spread it into the affected surface.

Remember to remove the excess drywall mud carefully with a damp cloth. This prevents it from drying out quickly.

Step #3: Sand Your Wood

Get your 240-grit sandpaper and start sanding the wood. Make sure to sand with the grain to avoid having scratch marks on the wood surface.

person holding sanding block

Step #4: Start Painting

After repairing and sanding, you may start painting the surface. In some cases, you might paint and give the entire wood surface a makeover. It is up to you how you want to do this last step.

Make Wood Putty Using Chalk Powder

First, remove the dirt by putting the sawdust through a filter. Mix the white glue and sawdust, then add white chalk powder to counter the dark color the filler takes on as it dries.

Do this process until you acquire the homogeneous white paste. The shade must be lighter than the project’s wood.

After that, apply the DIY wood fillers with a spatula.

wood filler using chalk powder

Make Wood Filler Using Sawdust and Glue

Gather the sawdust sand in a paper cup or a small pile. Use a craft stick while adding more glue to make the mixture thick (cookie dough texture).

However, never add so much glue since it will result in a runny mixture.

Next, mold your homemade mixture into a dough you can move between your fingers. After achieving the proper texture, move from the wood filler application to the project material.

ELMER’s Carpenter’s Ultimate Wood Glue​

Make Your Wood Filler for Flooring

Most of today’s wood glues come in with a brownish tint, which could make them difficult to blend with your woodworking projects. If you could find the white variant, you would get a better match in terms of color.

To match the sample wood colors, use wax wood filler sticks. You will need the wood filler to fill small holes and cracks.

However, it may not be robust enough to bridge large holes, gouges, and damages.

The steps in making wood filler for flooring are similar to the ones discussed above. Cutting wood using an electric miter saw is the fastest way to make sawdust without wasting wood.

You may put the sawdust into the cardboard.

wood filler for flooring

Next, form your mixture into a dough-like texture you can move between your fingers. You may use a magnet to pick up ferrous metal from your sawdust.

Moreover, you must remove large particles, metal shavings, or other contaminants.

Take note that if the dough hardens, it will become difficult to apply. When this happens, start a new batch, add wood glue to the mixture, and stir them well to achieve your desired texture.

How To Fill Holes In Wood Without Wood Filler?

The way to fill holes around surfaces without your own wood filler is by mixing white wood glue and sawdust. Make sure to find white wood glue for a good color match.   

Make a thickened paste that will fill gaps and holes in the surface. After that, sand the excess DIY wood filler.

What Are The Ingredients In Making Wood Fillers?

In some scenarios, manufacturers add hardeners and chemicals to change wood filler colors and achieve a clean and smooth putty texture.

However, the prominent ingredients are only sawdust and wood glue. You may also use other binding agents like shellac or epoxy.

ingredients on making wood filler

Is it Okay to Use Wood Glue as a Filler?

Absolutely! Wood glue is an excellent alternative for a DIY wood filler without sawdust. Just ensure the consistency of the liquid wood glue is not watery.

To achieve this, use more glue, like epoxy, for a thick, putty texture. You can easily get this product from a hardware store instead of making your own wood filler.

See Next: Make Wood Fillers With Sawdust 


In making wood filler, you do not necessarily need sawdust. You just need the right ingredients listed in this article. Another tip is to use electric sanders to create sawdust for your do-it-yourself wood filler.

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
Related Articles
Join our community on facebook and get 3 woodworking plans for free!

Join Our Woodworking Community on Facebook And Get 3 Woodworking Plans for Free!