The Story of the California Patch

Fixing Holes in the Wall Using a California Patch

The California Patch is without a doubt one of the most widely used methods for repairing holes in the wall. It works well for small to medium sized holes on vertical surfaces but does not work as well on ceilings since gravity causes the patch to sag.

The Story of the California Patch

We came across the following story of how one man described the origin of the California Drywall Patch. We have no way of confirming it's authenticity. However, we felt it was both entertaining and has a ring of truth to it. So we wanted to share it with the world so you can make your own decision. We present it to you here with full disclosure that we are not certain of it's truthfulness. We hope you enjoy.

This is the origin of the bandaid/butterfly patch.

Houses used to be sold from a sales office set up in a garage on the housing tract. My uncle was a house salesman in Duarte California.

When I was a preteen, around 63-64, my uncle would buy me cans of beer for $0.27 a can. I would ice them and after school take them around the construction site at quitting time selling them to the workers for a buck a can.

Everyone got to know me and they at first only allowed me to watch, but I convinced them during a school break to give me small odd jobs. One of which was small drywall repairs, like nicks and such. Bigger repairs like a doorknob hole were handled by the regular guys who usually just stuffed newspaper in the hole and mudded it over.

I really wanted to repair one of those bigger holes but I didn't like how they did it, so I took scraps of drywall home and played. I would deconstruct the drywall and try to rebuild it. That's basically all the patch is, rebuilding the drywall.

With my first patches I removed an inch and a half of paper surrounding the hole in order to recess the wings of the patch. I later realized that wasn't always necessary as the paper was thin enough as it was.

Anyway I found a doorknob hole and fixed it without permission. Orange peel was the texture of choice then. I found that by taking an old Avon hair brush dipped in watered mud and pulling a knife across it I could control the splatter and feather in the texture over my patch. I painted it and was extremely pleased with myself.

It was then that I received the "Don't try and . . ." speech (Their exact words were more harsh). Although they were amazed that they couldn't see the repair and that it was very strong, they were still upset at me and told me that I couldn't be trusted to accept my limitations. My feelings were hurt and I didn't tell anyone how I did it.

I originally called it a bandaid and later butterfly as in butterfly bandaid. Every once in awhile I'd use it to make extra money but the only people I explained it to was my best friend and his dad.

In the mid 70's after I got out of the Military I went to work for a developer doing customer service repairs on new homes. I again began using my patch and over the years that followed I taught many others how to do it. In the mid 80's I became a General Building Contractor

So that's my story.

The use of the california patch has spread across the country. Some still call it a butterfly patch but california patch is the more common name.

There are several other methods for fixing holes in the wall. One of our favorite is the hammock patch. Invented in north east Ohio, it has not gained as much popularity as the California patch. However it's strength and ease of application make it an excellent choice for repairing drywall.