This article is a detailed instruction on how to make a drywall arch without the help of professional builders and finishers. You can create such an arch in any room of your home – in the kitchen, living room or hallway. Such an architectural element will add individuality to your home, make its style unique.
Do-it-yourself drywall arch is a very real project. With the right materials, tools and techniques, it can be built in just a couple of days off. However, if you have no experience at all, this project may take a week, but we guarantee that your efforts will pay off in the end. Before starting work, carefully read our instructions, draw up a detailed plan of your actions and prepare everything you need.
To create a drywall arch, you will need the following:
- screws for drywall;
- metal profiles or wooden bars and plywood;
- fiberglass mesh or paper tape.
- tape measure, joiner’s square, pencil;
- scissors for metal;
- putty knife;
- protective gloves, glasses and a respirator.
First, choose a place to create the arch. We will tell you how to make a drywall arch in a doorway, but you can build it almost anywhere in your house – everything here is limited only by your imagination. Measure the dimensions of your chosen area.
Knowing the dimensions of the doorway or any other place where you will bring your idea to life, draw the desired arch on a sheet of drywall. Drawing the outline of an arch is a very important and crucial stage. If you don’t pay enough attention to it, it may turn out that all your subsequent hard work will be in vain.
Screw a self-tapping screw into the drywall and tie a rope to it – you will get a kind of compass, with which you can easily draw a curve of the required radius. Using a longer rope will increase the radius of the curve and therefore make it less steep. At this stage, you can try several times until you get a shape that suits your tastes and needs.
After you have drawn the arch, you need to cut it out using a jigsaw or a special drywall hacksaw. Make sure to attach the sheet securely, otherwise you may injure yourself or damage the material. The jigsaw blade should cut through the drywall exactly along the drawn line – the quality of the final result largely depends on the thoroughness of this operation.
- See also: How and what to cut drywall and make holes in it
Tip: If you are going to install the arch in a damp area, you should purchase moisture resistant drywall (green sheets), as it is designed to be used in this particular environment. Otherwise, your drywall arch will lose its appearance over time. You should think about all these details at the very beginning, when you are just wondering how to make a drywall arch.
Now you can start creating the arch frame. This is not as difficult as it might seem at first glance. For this, both metal profiles and wooden bars can be used. Each approach has its own advantages: the metal profile is a perfectly straight and very light material, but the wooden blocks are more durable. We advise you to use metal profiles for brick walls and wooden blocks for wooden walls.
Install a metal frame for drywall arch
Cut the metal rails to the required length and fix them to the wall. You need to cut two profiles to the width of the opening and secure them at the top. Two profiles are also installed on both sides of the opening, but their size will depend on the radius of the plasterboard arch you cut out earlier, see the photo below. If you are fixing a metal profile frame on a concrete wall, you must use a drill to drill holes, install dowels, and then tighten the screws.
If you plan to fasten metal profiles to wooden walls, use self-tapping screws with a length of at least 40-50 mm. The distance between the screws should be about 10-12 cm.
After attaching the metal profiles to the wall, you can continue the process by installing the first drywall sheet. To perform this operation professionally, use a torque controlled electric screwdriver. For drywall 12.5 mm thick, we recommend that you use 3.5×35 self-tapping screws, and for drywall 9.5 mm thick, screws and smaller are quite suitable.
Plasterboard the other side of the frame in the same way. Using a screwdriver, screw in the screws so that their heads are flush with the surface of the drywall, otherwise you will have to seal the grooves with putty.
Tip: To securely fix the drywall to the metal frame, screw in self-tapping screws every 15 cm.
The next stage of the work is to fix the curved metal profile along the edge of the plasterboard arch to increase the rigidity of the structure.
Measure the length of the arc and cut the corresponding section of the profile using metal scissors. Remember to use protective gloves to avoid cutting your hands on sharp metal edges.
Tip: To bend a metal profile, simply make cuts on its side edges every 10-12 cm. These cuts will allow you to shape the profile into a curved shape. If you need to bend the profile more, just make more cuts.
Give the profile an arc and use self-tapping screws to fix its ends in the lower parts of the metal frame.
Once you have verified that both ends of the curved profile are securely attached to the metal frame, you can continue the process by screwing the drywall arch walls to the curved metal rail with self-tapping screws.
This step is very important in creating your arch, so be careful to make sure the drywall fits well to the metal frame. To get a flat surface, self-tapping screws must be screwed in every 10-15 cm.
Remember that the frame is not complete until you have installed the perpendicular profile segments that should tie the sidewalls of the arch together. These tie straps should be placed at multiple points.
Install a wooden frame for drywall arch
Making a wooden frame for your plasterboard arch is easy too. True, for this you still need plywood and wooden blocks. Measure the width of the doorway, subtract the thickness of the drywall and plywood, and you get the thickness of the timber you need. Draw an arch on the plywood and cut it out with a jigsaw.
Using 5 cm self-tapping screws, fasten the wooden blocks to the plywood that serve as the arch frame. Then fix the arch in the door opening using long self-tapping screws, screwed in every 15 cm.
The last step is to attach the second plywood wall and plasterboard the plywood. The latter must be secured with drywall screws.
Install a arched fragment
After you have created the frame and installed the side walls of the arch, you need to fix the lower curate section.
Use a tape measure to measure the width and length of the arc. Using a knife and square, cut a piece of drywall according to your measurements.
Now, use a little trick to make drywall flexible. Every 10 cm, make parallel notches on one side of the drywall rectangle, cutting the paper layer with a knife. It is very important to use a building level or a square in this case so that the cuts are perpendicular to the side edge of the sheet and parallel to each other. Be patient and take your time to avoid mistakes. Once again, we remind you of the need to comply with security measures.
Another way to bend drywall is to simply wet it. However, this method is only suitable for cases where you only need to slightly bend the sheet.
- Learn more about how to bend drywall : How to bend drywall and a metal profile for it
Flip the plasterboard rectangle with the notches up and attach it to the bottom of the arch, gradually shaping it.
Do not use too much force when bending drywall, as you risk damaging the board. Move with careful, small steps, and the drywall will take the shape of an arch in a matter of seconds.
When installing a drywall rectangle, align its edges perfectly with the arched walls. Also make sure the ends of the rectangle match the arc, otherwise adjust the length of the rectangle.
Secure the drywall with a few self-tapping screws at the top of the arch and continue to fasten it towards the edges. Screw in self-tapping screws on each side of the arc at a distance of 10-15 cm from each other using a screwdriver with torque adjustment. Work with great care as you are almost done building your plasterboard arch. Step by step, as you screw in the screws, moving from the center of the arch to its edges, the drywall fragment will take on the shape you intended.
Pay attention to the correct technique for attaching the curved section of the arch. You must move from the center of the arch to its edges, screwing in the screws in a mirror-like sequence.
Make sure you are working in the right conditions: the work area should be well lit and ventilated. You should wear protective gloves and goggles whenever the situation calls for it.
After you have finished installing the plasterboard arch, you should pay attention to the small details. It is possible that in some places the plasterboard panel was not perfectly flat. Use a knife to line all the edges. Remember to wear protective gloves to avoid possible cuts with a sharp blade.
Finish a drywall arch
After you have built the arch frame and sheathed it with drywall, it’s time to move on to the next stage – finishing. Only upon completion of this stage will you be able to boast that you were able to make an interior arch from drywall with your own hands.
You will need to glue the edges of the drywall and all joints with special paper tape or fiberglass mesh, apply at least three layers of putty and sand the surface several times using sandpaper of different grain sizes. These operations are not very complicated and do not require professional skills. We will introduce you to the basic principles of work so that you have the opportunity to complete your project.
Reevaluate the quality of the plasterboard arch you made to make sure that everything is done correctly, that its side walls are flush with the wall above the doorway, that the whole structure as a whole is quite rigid and reliable. If everything is in order, you can start filling.
For finishing, you can use acrylic filler for interior work. But it is better to seal all the drywall seams with a special, more durable putty for drywall seams. This will prevent the formation of cracks at the joints. The putty must be thoroughly mixed, using an electric drill attachment, to a homogeneous consistency. Do not forget to carefully read the factory label on the bag with putty beforehand.
Use gloves to avoid getting your hands dirty. Also, it is best to change into old clothes when filling, as these are likely to get dirty too.
Using a rectangular trowel, begin applying the drywall joint filler in a linear motion to the joints between the drywall and the doorway using a rectangular trowel. It is a very useful tool and we recommend that you buy it – the money spent will pay off, especially when working with curved surfaces.
Make sure that there are no scraps of paper or pieces of plaster in the area you are treating, as they can mix with the putty and impair the appearance of the surface.
Using a spatula, apply the composition to the caps of the screws. Remember that you must apply enough putty to create a perfectly flat surface.
If there are any minor defects in the drywall surface (dents, holes), simply fill them with putty, and then use a putty knife or grout to remove the excess material and smooth out the unevenness. Remember to make sure that the leveled surface is flush with the rest of the wall and arch as it will be difficult to correct these errors later.
Repeat the process until the surface is level, without any noticeable imperfections. Remember to apply three coats of putty. The first should be as thin as possible, but at the same time it should cover all the roughness of the drywall.
Do not apply too much putty at once. Spread the amount already applied over a large area by moving the grout several times. Return excess material back to the bucket.
Tip: Run the trowel over the curved surface several times until the line is perfectly smooth.
If you are finished filling and are happy with the result, you can proceed to the next step – pasting the joints and edges of the drywall to hide irregularities, give the gypsum strength and prevent cracking. There are two alternative materials available for this purpose – specialty paper tape and fiberglass mesh. You can choose either of them – they are both good enough. We used fiberglass mesh in this project.
Measure and cut the mesh to the desired length. Then place the mesh or paper in the center of the joint and gently press it with your fingers or a spatula into the fresh putty. Make sure that the mesh is well stretched during installation, otherwise creases will appear.
Make sure the tape is well fixed to the surface and there are no unwanted creases. If you don’t like a section, just tear off the tape from the wall and repeat all over again, this time correctly.
Now that we have glued the paper tape / fiberglass mesh to the joints between the arch and the wall, it’s time to paste over the curved section of the arch as well. The technique of work in this case practically does not differ from the one you have already tried. One side of the mesh is coated with an adhesive so it will stick to the drywall. Remember to tighten the tape when installing.
When pasting the curate part of the arch, you probably noticed that folds appear when the second half of the tape is wrapped on the perpendicular plasterboard wall. The solution to this problem is very simple – it is necessary to cut the tape at the places where folds appear with a sharp knife, and then attach it.
When dry, the putty will turn completely white. Use a medium-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface, but do not remove too much of the coating as this will expose the paper tape / fiberglass mesh.
Be sure to use a respirator, because the dust generated as a result of such manipulations is very harmful to the lungs.
Remove any dust from the surface and apply a second coat of putty all over the arch. When dry, sand with fine sandpaper.
Clean the surface thoroughly with a dry cloth or large brush to remove dust. Now is the time to apply the third and final layer of putty. Use a rectangular trowel to keep the layer thin enough.
Wait 10-12 hours for the coating to dry completely (the putty should turn white). Sand the surface again with fine-grit sandpaper, smoothing out any irregularities and resulting in a perfectly flat surface.
Now your arch is ready and you can start painting its surface.
We hope that our step-by-step instructions on how to make a drywall arch with your own hands will be useful for you, and you can not only bring your project to life, but also believe in your own strength and almost limitless possibilities.