How To Design A Cupola

You’ve chosen a cupola style to match the architecture of your building or house and now it’s time to design the cupola itself. As with most architectural projects, the structural aspects like designing the cupola base and matching the roof angle are as essential as the aesthetic design of the cupola. 

Step 1: Conceptualize the Cupola

If you have found images of cupola designs that you like, you’ve completed this step already. For a completely original, custom-designed cupola, begin with a preliminary sketch that incorporates the overall style you want to achieve. The sketch will help you to visualize the final cupola. When the sketch is finished, determine the appropriateness of the cupola to your building or house and where you want the cupola to be positioned on the roof. 

Step 2: Determine the Cupola Size

When you have the final design idea, it is time to decide the size of your cupola. The rule of thumb for cupola size is 1 ¼ inches of cupola base for every foot of continuous roof line. You may add several inches to this number to achieve the desired look. 

Step 3: Measure the Roof

Pick out the place on the roof where you want the cupola to go and measure the dimensions of the roof, including its angle. Measure the angle of the roof using a protractor or recreate the angle using two pieces of wood with a screw and a wing nut to hold them together. This information is vital to designing the cupola base. 

Step 4: Technical Drawings of Your Cupola

Once you have the measurements for the cupola base, draw a 3-dimensional scale drawing of the roof and the cupola base. An aerial view drawing is the easiest way to do this. Then, make a second drawing of the cupola itself to scale using the overall width, height and depth dimensions of the cupola. Finally, make a drawing of the cupola in its finished state with all design elements and finishing details in place. 

Step 5: The Materials List

Now that you have the technical drawing of your cupola design with all of the dimensions drawn to scale, make a list of all the different pieces you will need and their individual sizes. Decide what kind of materials you want to use like the type of wood, metal embellishments and their thicknesses. Then, figure out what kinds of hardware you’ll need to build the cupola and how many pieces of each kind. 

Step 6: Write a Guide

Before you begin cutting, sanding and building your cupola, it’s a good idea to map out the process. Figure out which parts of the project need to be done first and make a step-by-step guide for yourself to follow. When you create a guide, it forces you to think about every aspect of the project first. It can help you avoid costly mistakes of time and materials.

Following these steps will help you create a custom cupola to give your home a touch of unique flair.