Here are the steps to properly repair nail pops in drywall:1. Add drywall screws on two sides of the nail pop to re-secure the drywall to ceiling and eliminate all movement. Screws should be set just below the drywall surface without breaking through the paper layer.
2. Scrape away all loose debris around the nail pop. Then remove nail or hammer it tight to the ceiling.
3. Now fill the nail pop and the screws you added with joint compound. For this step setting type powder joint compound should be used. Push the compound into the holes and about 3 inches around the hole then hold the knife at an 80-degree angle and scrape it off until the holes are flush with the walls
4. Sand lightly to achieve a uniform surface and feathered edges be very careful not to remove too much joint compound over the holes.
5. Now use premixed joint compound with dust control. With a 6-inch knife apply joint compound to existing patch and extend edges by 6 inches. Now, with a 10 inch knife pushing flatly (5 degrees) skim across in several directions till you achieve a smooth uniform surface
6. After the patch is dry, sand until it is smooth and all edges disappear into the existing wall.
7. Now your patch should look flat, with no lines or ridges and feel smooth to the touch. If not, then just repeat steps 4-6.
8. If all went well, you are ready for drywall primer. Use a primer that says Drywall Primer on the label for best results. Using a roller apply a generous amount of primer directly to the patch then roll a large area on and around the patch, feathering the edges into the wall
Now your nail pop is ready for final paint