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How to Install a Butterfly Drywall Anchor

Thomas West

Drywall may present a challenge when it comes time to hanging something. Just pounding a nail into an interior wall constructed from drywall may present a challenge. Drywall has a core manufactured from gypsum, a soft form of rock and will not hold a nail.

Chances are, the nail will not hold whatever it is you want to hang. There are several types of drywall anchors available that will allow you to hang your pictures, shelves or decorative items. A toggle anchor -- sometimes referred to as a butterfly anchor because of its shape -- is easy to install and gives your items a solid hold on the wall.

  1. Unscrew the wing from the bolt and place it aside. Insert the bolt through the hole in the bracket you wish to mount to the wall. Screw the wing back onto the bolt. Ensure a few of the threads protrude through the end of the wing, but not not tighten the bolt onto the wing. Squeeze the spring-loaded wing with your fingers. Ensure the wings fold toward the head of the bolt, otherwise remove the wing and thread it onto the bolt in the opposite direction. Skip this step if you are not installing a bracket and wish to hang your item from the bolt head of the toggle anchor.

  2. Drill a hole through the drywall where you wish to install the anchor. Ensure the hole is just large enough for the toggle anchor to fit through when it is squeezed together and compressed.

  3. Squeeze the wing together with your fingers.

  4. Force the end of the wing through the hole until the ends of the wing snap into place on the backside of the drywall. Pull out gently on the head of the bolt to ensure the wing has snapped into position.

  5. Tighten the head of the bolt with a Phillips screwdriver until the bracket or bolt head is tightened against the wall.

  6. Warning

    Toggle anchors can only handle so much weight. Typical weight limits -- depending on the size of the toggle anchor -- range from 30 to 100 pounds. Do not exceed the weight limit of your anchor or it could tear loose from the wall and cause injury or damage. Check the directions that came with your anchors to determine the maximum weight that they can support.