Building an Arch Frame

Lead Image
  • 10-20 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 250-1,000
What You'll Need
Plywood or MDF; two square pieces as wide as the arch will be
Electric saw
Two pieces of timber, 4x2 inches; almost astall as the top of the arch
Electric screwdriver/drill
String, a piece as long as the arch will be wide

An arch frame is important when building a brick-lined arch. Building an arch in a doorway or wall is not particularly difficult but it does take time, so it is often more cost effective to do it yourself than employ a builder.

Step 1 - Prepare the Wall

Using the string attached to a screw on one end and a pencil on the other, draw a semicircle on the wall or doorway to the size you want the arch to be.

Wall: If the arch is to be in a wall, make sure the wall is not load-bearing if the arch is to be wide. Shorten or lengthen the string to shape the arch to your liking, if required.

Doorway: If you are making a brick arch above a doorway, buy an arched door to fit the new doorway and make the arch above the door larger by the size of the bricks. The lower bricks will sit on the door lintel.

    Step 2 - Mark Out the Template on the Plywood

    Tie a piece of string to a screw and the other end to the pencil. Hold the screw on the bottom of the plywood, halfway along and, using the string as a guide, mark a semicircle around the top of the wood. The arch frame must be smaller than the hole in the wall by the width if the bricks you will be using.

    Cut out the arch shape with the saw and use it as a template to mark and then cut out the other piece. Both pieces of plywood should be exactly the same shape.

    Step 3 - Put Together the Frame

    On the floor, place the pieces of timber between the plywood templates so that when it is stood upright, the frame will hold the bricks at the right height. Screw the plywood pieces to the timber and stand upright. The frame should be smaller than the hole in the door or wall by the size of the bricks.

    Step 4 - Use the Frame

    Wall: Cement your bricks on top of each other from the ground up. When you get to where the arch starts, put up the frame you have just built and use it to hold the bricks in place as you cement them in. The center brick may have to be shaped to fit. The arch frame will hold them in place while the cement dries and can be removed after 24 hours.

    Door: Place the frame into the doorway and cement in the bricks, starting at the bottom of the arch. Shape the center brick to fit if needed. Leave the frame in place for 24 hours until the cement dries.

      An arch adds elegance to a home and is popular as a fairly easy way to open a wall for a spacious look and add a focal point. Any door supplier will have a selection of arched doors to choose from. An alternative is to keep your existing door and install a panel of leadlight glass into the arch above. Any leadlighter can make a custom-sized panel.