How to Draw Circular Stairs

Written by fiona miller
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How to Draw Circular Stairs
Master a spiral staircase with a few simple techniques. (spiral staircase image by Julia Chernikova from

Spiral staircases can be drawn as an artistic rendering of an old-fashioned home or as an architectural design. You can draw these staircases with different perspectives in mind, but it is important that you follow certain geometric rules as you make the staircase, especially when drawing a design to scale. Drawing spiral staircases can be a good assignment for students in an art class who are also taking geometry, showing them how art and geometry work together.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Ruler

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  1. 1

    Draw a rectangle on your paper using a ruler. It should be about 6- to 7-inches tall and at least 2 inches wide.

  2. 2

    Place the ruler on a point of the rectangle and draw a tilted line to the right at a 45-degree angle. Repeat this from both sides of the rectangle so that you make a cone. Draw a straight line from the top of the cone through the middle of the rectangle.

  3. 3

    Draw a smaller rectangle "behind" the first one by following the 45-degree angle lines a few inches back and connecting them to one another. This will give your staircase a bit more perspective.

  4. 4

    Make a circle on the top and bottom of the cube.

  5. 5

    Draw two straight vertical lines on either side of the circle.

  6. 6

    Draw two straight vertical lines in the middle of the circle to make the centre of the staircase or pole.

  7. 7

    Make an arch that curves upward from the edge of the bottom circle to the lines in the middle of the circle or pole. Draw an arch that curves downward from the pole to the line at the edge of the circle and up to the line that bisects the cube. Continue this up-and-down curve pattern, using the sides of the cube as boundaries.

  8. 8

    Draw curves that follow the exact pattern about 2 inches above the original curves. Fill the space in between with vertical lines to represent the banister.

  9. 9

    Make horizontal lines about half an inch apart on the first curve and last curve to represent the stairs. Shade in the large section on the left and the part underneath the stairs however you wish.

  10. 10

    Shade the stairs to add depth. Make a horizontal line about a centimetre below each stair and colour in the area with your pencil. Lightly shade the bottom stairs to show that the top stairs have cast a shadow over them.

  11. 11

    Shade in the pole. Colour in the middle of the pole with your pencil. You can go over this later with colour.

  12. 12

    Reinforce the banister and banister lines with your pencil to make them more defined and add a bit of depth.

  13. 13

    Colour in the stairs and finish your picture as you see fit.

  1. 1

    Make a point in the centre of your paper. Draw eight perspective or "vanishing lines" fanning outward. These lines do not necessarily need to be straight or a certain distance from one another, but they should move toward the outside of the page in every direction. If you are not familiar with this technique, try bisecting the point using your ruler and drawing one line vertically and one line horizontally through the middle. This will give you four lines fanning outward. Add the other four in between. If you are a more confident artist, you can draw the spiral without the "vanishing lines" and begin to draw freehand. You may also begin with a circle in the middle and fan the spiral outward.

  2. 2

    Draw a spiral using the lines you have made. Begin to the left of the point and use the fanned lines as a guide, making the spiral gradually bigger until you feel satisfied with the size. Going around the page three times is sufficient, however.

  3. 3

    Draw your stairs. Start in the middle and draw vertical lines all the way around the spiral.

  4. 4

    Reinforce your lines by going over the spiral again in pencil. Make the rails by drawing another spiral, about a fourth of an inch away from the original spirals.

  5. 5

    Shade in the area in the middle to show a bit of perspective, as though it is the bottom of the staircase and there are shadows when looking down. Reinforce your drawing with ink or paint and then erase the pencil lines.

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