How to Draw Stud Walls in Google SketchUp
By Noah Christman
Google SketchUp has proven to be a powerful tool for engineers, architects, construction professionals, landscape designers and anyone else interested in drawing in three-dimensional space. The program enables users to quickly conceptualize their ideas in the modeling space, resulting in accurate and visually impressive digital drawings. When planning out the design and construction phases of a house or building, SketchUp can be an invaluable tool for drawing precise stud walls.
Click on the "Line" tool button and draw a rectangle on the ground plane, at the intersection of the green, red, and blue axis. If your wall will be using 2-inch by 4-inch studs, use the "Line" tool to begin to draw a line along the red axis. Type in 2 inches and hit the "Enter" key on your keyboard. Then, draw a perpendicular line along the green axis with a length of 4 inches. Draw the remaining two lines to complete your rectangle. SketchUp will automatically create a face between them.
Click on the Push/Pull tool button and select the face created by your rectangle. Pull the face upward, away from the ground plane and type in the height of your wall. Hit "Enter" on your keyboard to finish extruding the rectangle into the shape of a vertical wall stud.
Click on the "Select" tool button and triple-click on your new stud. This will select everything, indicated by a highlighting of all connected lines and faces. Right-click on the stud and select "Make Component". Enter "Wall Stud" as the name of the component and click "Create." This will group all the lines and faces of your stud together, allowing it to act as a single component.
Click on the "Move/Copy" tool and click the "Option" key on your keyboard to toggle the tool to copy mode. You will see a small "+" appear above your cursor, indicating that you can now move a copy of your stud instead of the original. Click on the stud and move a copy along the red axis. You'll see a dashed red line appear to indicate that you are on the red axis. Most studs are either constructed with a 16-inch or 24-inch spacing on center, so type either dimension and hit the "Enter" key to create a copy at the specified distance. Repeat this action until you have created enough studs to run the length of your wall.
Using the "Rectangle" tool, draw a line connecting the outside corner of your first stud with the opposite corner of the last stud to create a flat rectangle running the length of your stud wall. Use the "Push/Pull" tool to pull the rectangle upwards, type in 2 inches, and click "Enter" on your keyboard to draw the bottom plate of the stud wall.
Triple-click on the bottom plate using the "Select" tool to highlight its lines and faces. Right-click and select "Make Component". Enter "Plate" as the name and hit "Create" to make a component of the bottom plate.
Click on the "Move/Copy" tool, then click the "Option" key on your keyboard to toggle the tool to copy mode. Click on the top corner of the bottom plate and drag a copy upwards. Snap the corner of the plate you selected with the top corner of your vertical studs to place what is now the top plate of your wall.
With the basic frame of your stud wall completed use the "Rectangle" tool to select the bottom corner of your wall and draw a rectangle that connects to the opposite top corner to create a sheet of stucco. Use the "Push/Pull" tool to drag the sheet of stucco out from the wall, and type in 0.5-inch, followed by the "Enter" key, to give it thickness. Repeat with the opposite side of the wall to finish your stud wall.
- "Precision Framing"; Anatomy of a Stud-Framed Wall; Mike Guertin, et al.; 2001
- Directly after using copying with the "Move/Copy" tool you can type an asterisk and the number of additional copies you'd like created. Hitting the "Enter" key on your keyboard will then create these additional copies, set to the same direction and spacing as your original copy. Many stud walls, both interior and exterior, have doorframes or windows located along them. To create these gaps, align your wall studs as normal but allow adequate space between them to fit the width of a door or window. Then, create the top and bottom of the window or door frame in the same manner that you drew the top and bottom plates of the stud wall, moving them with the "Move/Copy" tool to the necessary height. Creating the studs and plates as components allows you to easily edit all of them in the future. Making a change to one component will affect every component that is an exact copy of it, giving you the power to quickly change the height, width or depth of your studs and top and bottom plates. Assign materials to the faces of your stucco sheets, studs and plates by opening the Materials palette, under "Window," in the menu bar. SketchUp includes a wide selection of colors and textures that can be used to add detail to your drawings.
Noah Christman is a planner and urban designer living and working in Northern California. Since graduating with a Bachelor of Science in city and regional planning from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, he has been working in the fields of architecture, planning and community design, public policy and marketing/branding.