• Share:
How to Build a Drywall Arch

Converting a plain entryway into a curved arch is a great way to give a room a new look and feel. In this article, we’ll show you the best way to do it. This technique will work on any interior entryway. Whether you’re remodeling a room or just looking for a weekend improvement, this project adds interest and character.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

  • TIME
  • TimeTimeTime Weekend
  • close X

    You can build the archway in a couple hours, but you’ll need another two to three days for applying joint compound and painting.

How to build a drywall arch

Converting a plan doorway into a curved arch is a relatively straightforward project that requires some carpentry and drywall taping skills. You’ll need to frame a curved arch, bend and fasten a strip of drywall to the curved framing, and then install a flexible corner bead. None of these steps is difficult, but it’s fussy work.

First cut away the drywall inside the opening to expose the framing. Don’t worry if you break it back a few inches on the walls. Next determine the style and size of the arch (half circle, partial circle or ellipse) and make a pattern out of cardboard. Tape this up in the opening to make sure it looks OK and leaves enough headroom.

Use this template to mark out and cut two 1/2-in.-thick plywood arches. Next cut a 6-ft. 2x4 down to 2-1/2 in. wide (or 2 in. narrower than the total wall thickness).Cut one top block and two side blocks and nail them to the door framing. Center them so that the 1/2-in. plywood arches will sit flush with the existing framing. Now nail the arched plywood into place on both sides.

Cut short arch blocks and screw them between the plywood arches about every 6 in. Cut strips of 1/8-in. hardboard (such as Masonite) and nail them to the arch blocks following the curve of the plywood. Use short drywall or underlayment nails. The hardboard provides a smooth, solid backer for the drywall and eliminates creases. Run it all the way down the sides to the floor.

Next fasten the drywall over the face of the arch. Let it overhang into the archway and then cut out the curve of the arch with a drywall or keyhole saw.

Then cut a strip of drywall the same width as the total thickness of the wall. If you’re using regular 1/2-in. drywall, wet the backside of the strip to help it bend. Lay it between sawhorses so it can sag as the water soaks in. You may need to wet it several times and let it slowly bend for an hour or two. Another option is to buy 1/4-in. drywall that’s designed to bend. Look for it at drywall suppliers (search online or see “Drywall Supplies” in your yellow pages).

Start 6 in. below the curve of the arch, pushing the drywall firmly against the hardboard. Drive a pair of nails every 6 in. into your blocking around the curve. Then use straight strips to finish the sides. Apply flexible plastic corner bead (also available at drywall suppliers) to both edges. Run it all the way to the floor. Start at one end and fasten the bead with a staple gun, driving 9/16-in.-long staples every 3 inches. Keep the bead centered on the corner and tight to the drywall. This step gives the arch its final shape, so take your time.

Finally, mix up some setting-type joint compound and cover the corner bead. Apply second and third coats of joint compound, letting it dry between coats. Sand, paint and then go relax. You’ve earned it!

Back to Top

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Cordless drill
    • Circular saw
    • Mud pan
    • Hawk
    • Knockdown knife
    • Drywall saw
    • T-square
    • Putty knife
    • Utility knife

A table saw will be helpful to rip the 2x4 lumber to size, but if you don’t have one, you can use a circular saw.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • 2x4 lumber
    • 1/8 in. plywood
    • 1/4 in. drywall
    • Plastic corner bead
    • Joint compound
    • 1-5/8 in. drywall screws

Comments from DIY Community Members

No comments on the article have been posted yet. Be the first to add your comment!

You will be required to log in or create an account to post a comment.

closeX

Add Your Comment

How to Build a Drywall Arch

Please add your comment
closeX

Log in to My Account

Log in to enjoy membership benefits from The Family Handyman.

  • Forgot your password?
Don’t have an account yet?

Sign up today for FREE and become part of The Family Handyman community of DIYers.

Member benefits:

  • Get a FREE Traditional Bookcase Project Plan
  • Sign up for FREE DIY newsletters
  • Save projects to your project binder
  • Ask and answer questions in our DIY Forums
  • Share comments on DIY Projects and more!
Join Us Today
closeX

Report Abuse

Subject
Reasons for reporting post

Free OnSite Newsletter

Get timely DIY projects for your home and yard, plus a dream project for your wish list!

Follow Us

Featured Product

Buy Now