Saturday, January 6, 2018

How to Draw Patterns for a Steeple for Your Little House

Tutorial - How to Draw a Pattern for a Steeple 

The Circle and Chord Method


I've  been struggling with drawing patterns for steeples ever since I started making little houses. I basically made them by drawing a triangle the size I want and then tracing 3 copies to make the pattern. I knew I had to figure out a way using geometry and finally, I did. I can't believe it is this easy. Once you see the process you'll see that you can make a steeple with many sides easily.

But first you need a specific tool - a compass.

Steeple pattern how to DIY
The compass - our special tool for drawing a steeple pattern

Directions:

1. Determine the size of your triangle for the steeple. For the purposes of this tutorial, the width will be 1 inch and each side of the triangle will be 2 inches. That's not the height of the triangle because each 2 inch side is slanted. The height of the triangle is just a smidge under 2 inches (I confess, I didn't measure it.)

2. Set your compass to 2 inches.

3. Draw a circle on the graph paper with a radius of 2 inches. I knew I didn't need an entire circle because of the size of my steeple so I only drew a portion of the circle. You can barely see the little hole that the compass made in the center of the circle and how the circle intersects 2 inches when the lines are perpendicular.

Circle for Steeple pattern how to tutorial
Draw a circle with a 2 inch radius. 

4. Mark a point on the circle as the starting point for your pattern. Now set the compass for one inch because that is the width we want for the steeple. Put the compass on your starting point and mark one inch intervals - as many as you need for the size of your steeple. Here we need 4 sides so I made a total of 5 marks (to include an extra side as a tab for gluing).

Circle for steeple pattern DIY tutorial
Mark one inch segments on the circle you've drawn.

5. Draw a line connecting the starting point with the one inch marks. You are drawing a chord on the circle - I had to look up the technical name for this because I didn't remember it from geometry. 

Chords marking base of steeple triangle tutorial
Circle marked with one inch chords which will form the base of your triangles.

6. Now use your ruler to draw a line from the center point to each end of the chord on the circle. These lines form the sides of your steeple pattern. And there you have your steeple pattern. You can make a 6 sided pattern just as easy. 

Steeple sides marked on your pattern steeple tutorial

7. Here is the finished pattern and the sample steeple.

Steeple pattern DIY pre-scored and cut out
Cut out the Steeple pattern. Try to remember to score it  before you cut it out. It is so much easier if you do this. 
Steeple pattern DIY cut out and taped
The steeple pattern cut out and taped together. I am so happy I know how to do  this now.

What do you think? Will this help you when you make steeple for little houses or little churches? I certainly hope so. It has already made my life a little easier in making the top to the tower on the Wilkins House prototype.

Now I'm going steeple crazy. It's going to be so much fun.












6 comments:

  1. Great tutorial, Lucy! Thank you for sharing it with us! Can't wait to see your finished steeples this year! Happy New Year!

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    1. Thank you, Sara. Your architect husband would laugh at this low tech solution, but it works. My brother told me yesterday that my creative work is analog as opposed to digital in this day and age.

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  2. Thanks Lucy - this is great and will be so helpful!

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    1. Thank you for reading Laney. I am glad you think it will be helpful. I always enjoy seeing your projects.

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  3. Should there be tabs left at the bottom of the sides to use to attach the steeple to the roof top?

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    1. You could put tabs at the bottom, but I don't usually do that because often the steeple hangs over the edge of the tower and you can sort of wedge it over the top of the tower. On the Wilkins House the steeple actually sits on a flat base so there is a decent amount of gluing surface. But you can always choose to do tabs to provide a larger area for glue. I hadn't thought of that idea. Good question.

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