How to Attach a Faceplate Into Drywall Without a Standard Electrical Outlet Box

There is a way to install an Ethernet outlet into drywall, using a modular faceplate from Radio Shack. The screws came with it for screwing into a standard electrical outlet in-wall box, which you may not have. Here is a way to securely attach it to the drywall.


  1. 1
    Using a Dremel rotary tool, with a #540 cutoff wheel, cut a slot on both the bottom and top of the cutout in the drywall parallel to the wall surface about halfway or a little bit farther toward the back side of the drywall, and centered on the screw-hole-to-be. It must be deeper than the screw-hole you need to do.
  2. 2
    Run the tool side to side far enough to have at least one inch (2.5 cm) wide at the bottom of the slot, centered on the screw hole, that is flat, before the curve the circular shape of the cutting wheel makes on the sides of the slot. estimating, it maybe about 2" or so, centered on the screw.
  3. 3
    Cut 2 pieces of scrap plastic from the packaging of the Radio Shack modular faceplate about 1" x 2" (2.5 cm x 5 cm).
  4. 4
    Glue them into the slots with any kind of glue you have handy. It's only to keep the plastic in place when you drill the screw holes and install the screws (wood screws from your salvaged screw jar. You do have one, don't you?), so the type of glue doesn't matter. Wood glue, Elmer's, silicone caulking, it doesn't even have to be glue, it just has to stick the thing there while you do the later steps.
  5. 5
    When the glue dries, use your Dremel to drill a screw hole, smaller diameter than the screw, through the drywall and plastic.
  6. 6
    Temporarily insert the screw until it is partway through the plastic to hold the plastic while you trim off the extra that sticks out of the slot in the drywall. Remove the screws.
  7. 7
    Screw the faceplate into the drywall and plastic until it's just finger tight. Don't crank it down too tight, you'll damage the drywall, and your faceplate won't stay.


  • This should work for any faceplate you need to attach directly to drywall without having something to screw into, as long there isn't going to be much force pulling it out from the wall. In other words, something you are going to leave the plug in indefinitely, rather than something you plug in and remove frequently.
  • Better yet use two small "mollies" (dry wall anchors) .25 cents and two minutes later you're done!
  • Alternate Method 1 -- I would RECOMMEND that you use a remodel box. The remodel box will attach to the drywall and will provide the correct attachment points for a faceplate.
  • Alternate Method 2 -- Use a backing plate for the screws to anchor into, and use 10/32 wood screws. The backing plate will distribute the force over a greater area and again will limit the force placed on the drywall and if someone trips over your cable or pulls too hard on it, then you have less chance of damage to the drywall.
  • Best method is to go to your nearest DIY store and pick up some low voltage drywall rings, cut the required hole insert the ring according to the manufacturer's directions and then attach the plate with the standard machine screws.


  • Cutting the slots in the drywall makes lots of dust. Be prepared for that. Keep your face back a bit, wear a dust mask, goggles or whatever safety equipment you feel necessary. Make sure there are no dust sensitive things nearby, and be prepared to vacuum up after yourself.
  • Do not use this method for electrical outlets or switches. This is acceptable for low voltage applications only.

Things You'll Need

  • Dremel (or similar) rotary tool
  • Part #540 cutoff wheel (or appropriate attachment to your substitute for Dremel, see Dremel's website- -to compare your brand's accessories to Dremel's to find the appropriate part for yours)
  • Scrap flat clear plastic EVERYTHING comes packaged in these days. If you are using a Radio Shack Modular faceplate, it comes packaged in an entirely too large chunk of the stuff.
  • Wood screws with heads that fit the holes in your face plate, and at least as long as the drywall is thick. I used ones from my salvaged hardware jars.

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Categories: Pictures | Electrical Maintenance