This Make Your Own Blueprint tutorial will walk you through the detailed steps of how to draw floor plans for your new home design. This process can be followed by those drafting their blueprints by hand or using home design software.
For this tutorial, we are assuming that you have already completed your house design sketches. If you are just starting out with your home design, check out our free Home Design Tutorial.
There are basically two ways to make your own blueprints.
There is also the option of doing a bit of both.
Some may ask why would anyone make their own blueprints by hand when we have many relatively inexpensive home design software products available.
Here are some good reasons:
Most of the home design programs can produce accurately dimensioned floor plan drawings of the quality required for your building permit. But for some programs this is as far as you can go with the construction drawings. What views remain are the cross-sections, elevation views, and any necessary framing plans. This is where you may have to make your own blueprints by hand or use a more full-featured (and more expensive home design program).
I am not suggesting to stay away from home design programs entirely. Rather a good approach if you want to keep costs down is to do some drawing with design software and some hand drafting.
The home design programs are great for allowing you to draw floor plans in 2D then visualize them in 3D. You can easily move walls as you refine your design. The design programs allow you to quickly generate views of your ideas and designs. You can then easily modify the drawings as you drag and drop furniture, appliances and fixtures into the blueprints. Oftentimes, you'll realize not enough space has been allowed for certain areas once the fixtures are in or perhaps you are wasting space in some areas.
Whether you are using home design software or drawing your blueprints by hand, the first drawings to start with are your floor plans. Using your own floor plan sketches or your results from the Draw Floor Plan module of our house design tutorial, start by drawing the exterior walls of the main story of your home. (The sequence detailed below for drawing floor plans by hand is a good one to follow if you are using design software as well.)
Your local art supply store should have all the of drawing tools you will need to make your own blueprints. You can also order most of these supplies online. A good supplier is Utrecht Drafting Supplies.
Optional but nice:
To make your own blueprint to scale you will use an architect's scale. Architect's scales are very simple to use, no math required.
For house plans, you should be using a scale of 1/4 inch to a foot for the floor plan drawings. This is written as 1/4":1'. This means that every quarter inch you draw on your page represents one foot for the real house as it will be built. So one inch on your drawing would represent four feet of the built house.
Find the side of the triangular scale which has 1/4":1' marked on it. The numbers on this side of the scale represent feet for your built house. So if you needed to draw an exterior wall 36 feet long, you would:
This line would measure 9 inches on your drawing and would represent 36 feet for the built house.
When finished your drawings must have all room dimensions accurately marked. But building trades people will often use an architect's scale (or ruler) while they are building to check various dimensions on your drawings. So for this purpose make sure that you use you scale accurately for every line you draw!
To make your own blueprint floor plans, use a sheet of paper 24" by 36". Lay the sheet down on your working surface with the longest edge running horizontally.
The lower right hand corner of your drawing you will save for your title block. This is where you will write the name of the view you are drawing (floor plan, elevation, cross section), the scale of the drawing, the name of the house (could just be the family name), designer's name and date. The date is very important especially when you make changes to your plans. Everyone on the building site needs to know what date version of the plans they should be using.
We ran into this issue when our concrete footings and post pads were being poured. Luckily I was watching the pour when I noticed the pads for the structural posts were being poured in the wrong location. I talked with the crew and found they had an old set of drawings. We moved the wood framing for the pads and then hand shoveled the poured concrete over to the correct location.
Start by drawing the exterior walls of your design. You will want to roughly center your first floor plan view in the space on the paper available excluding the title block. So before you draw your first wall, use your scale get a rough idea of how much space on the page your first floor plan will need.
For this tutorial we will move in a clockwise direction starting at the upper left hand corner of your drawing. You can choose how you will orient the home on the page. It is fairly standard to have the front door at the lower side of the horizontal sheet but depending on the design or shape of your home you may want to alter this.
For the floor plan drawings you will draw the framed walls, interior and exterior. That is you will not be drawing the finished dimensions of the rooms once drywall or other finished wall surfaces are installed. Other drawings will detail finished surfaces of exterior and interior walls as required.
The construction drawings for the floor plans need to be properly dimensioned for the framing crew. The room size difference with the drywall installed is very small and will only make about an inch of difference for any given room (a half inch of drywall on either side of the room). But there may be parts of your design where being out by an inch will cause problems (for instance if you are pre-ordering custom or stock cabinetry).
Start from the upper left hand corner of your floor plan design. At this point do not worry about doors and windows, we will draw them in later.
The next step as you make your own blueprint is to draw your doors and windows onto the floor plan. For each door, window or wall opening on your floor plan:
In the center of each room, clearly label the room name. Include closets and open spaces such as entrances.
Using your scale, symbols template and straight edge, draw the correct symbols for:
All electrical symbols should now be added to your plans.
Place the appropriate symbols along walls for the following electrical items:
For ceiling mount items, draw the following fixtures on the floor just below the spot where the item would be installed.
Detail the plans by indicating for each room how the floors will be finished and any required sub-flooring. For instance your plans may read:
The next step on your floor plan drawings is to draw accurate dimension lines. You will need to draw dimension lines for:
Note that not all required dimension lines are shown in the plan below—this is for ease of viewing. One more dimension line should run along each exterior wall to locate all window and door openings.
Furniture should not be included in your construction drawings but for your own design purposes it is a good idea to use scaled furniture cutouts during the design process to ensure you have designed adequate space for all rooms and circulation paths. See our tutorial module Draw Floor Plan for more information and furniture blueprint symbols.
The final step to make your own blueprint is to create a window and door schedule.
On your floor plan:
Continue on to the next house construction drawing tutorial module: How to Draw Elevations.
Check out our free House Design tutorial, from initial home planning to creating full construction drawings.
Go to our main Blueprints Page for links to how to read blueprints and reference pages with basic floor plan symbols used on construction drawings.
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