How do I build a curved archway room separator?

Written by angela roe
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How do I build a curved archway room separator?
Cut plywood into arches for a custom room divider. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Arches add architectural detail to any home. Room dividers allow small spaces to be organised and clutter free or large spaces to be divided into functional areas. An arched room divider provides the functionality of a traditional room divider and brings in the elegance that arches add to any space. Building an arched room divider allows you to customise the final product, bringing a one-of-a-kind element to any room in which it's used.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • 6 Sheets of plywood
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • String
  • 6 2-by-2 boards, 6 feet long
  • 3 2-by-2 boards, 3 feet, 10 inches long
  • 24 2-inch squares of lumber
  • Saw
  • 60 Screws
  • Drill
  • 24 Square yards of batting
  • Staple gun
  • 30 to 50 staples
  • 4 square yards of upholstery or quilting fabric
  • Hot glue gun
  • 3 to 5 hot glue sticks
  • 20 yards of ribbon
  • 3 hinges

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  1. 1

    Measure 2 feet down from the centre of the top of one sheet of plywood. Make a pencil mark here. Tie a 2-foot-long piece of string to the pencil. Hold the pencil at the centre of the top of the plywood sheet and hold the loose end of the string at the pencil mark. Draw the arch by moving the pencil from the centre of the plywood to one edge. Return it to the centre and complete the arch by moving the pencil to the other edge. Do this on all six sheets of plywood.

  2. 2

    Cut the arches out of each sheet of plywood using a saw. This will create the top of the arched room divider.

  3. 3

    Place a 4-foot section of 2-by-2 on the left side of a cut plywood panel and another on the right. Place a 3-foot-10-inch section of 2-by-2 along the bottom and screw all of these into place. Screw through the plywood and into the 2-by-2, beginning at the end of each section of 2-by-2 and continuing every 3 to 5 inches.

  4. 4

    Lay a second plywood panel on top of the framing. Screw the panel into the 2-by-2 framing, sandwiching the framing between the sheets, completing one panel of the room divider. Continue this process until all three panels of the arched room divider are complete.


  1. 1

    Cover one panel in batting, using a staple gun to attach it to the plywood. Trim the batting so it covers the panel and the edges of the batting touch but do not overlap.

  2. 2

    Wrap each panel in fabric. Pull the fabric taunt and staple it to the edges of the panel. Continue this process until all three panels are upholstered.

  3. 3

    Trim the edges of the frame with ribbon. Use hot glue to attach the ribbon, covering the staples you used to attach the fabric to the panels.

  4. 4

    Locate the centre of the edge of one panel. Set one hinge into place and mark the screw hole locations with a pencil. Measure up from that mark 18 inches and set another hinge in place, marking those screw holes. Measure down from the centre hinge 18 inches and mark those screw holes as well. Do the same thing on a second panel and screw the hinges into place so the hinge opens in an inverted V shape.

  5. 5

    Mark the location for the hinges to attach the third panel to the adjoining two panels. Attach the hinges so the V opens in the opposite direction of the hinges installed previously.

Tips and warnings

  • The wider each panel of the arched room divider is, the more stable the final divider will be. If the room divider needs to cover a large space, add additional panels for stability.
  • For smaller spaces, cut each plywood sheet in half and make smaller panels.
  • Avoid using plaid, checked or striped fabric to cover the panels unless you're experienced with upholstery. These fabric patterns are not forgiving and any shifting of the fabric that happens when attaching it to the panels will show in crooked or uneven lines.
  • Skip upholstering and nail flexible moulding in the same width as the panels, prime and paint the panels for a different style arched room divider.
  • Do not use free standing room dividers in the playroom or bedroom of small children.
  • Do not leave small children unattended with free standing room dividers.

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