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Complete Guide to Making Blueprints & The Perfect Blueprint Hanging Rack

blueprint storage rack

Complete Guide to Making Blueprints & The Perfect Blueprint Hanging Rack

If you’re designing a home, office or other space, you’ll definitely need to know how to make a blueprint.  Perhaps you’ll prefer to use the traditional method of drawing your blueprints by hand using rulers and other special measuring tools. Or you may like to take advantage of modern technology by utilizing computer programs such as AutoCad or Home Design to design your blueprints. Many people like to combine hand sketching with a computer program to take advantage of the perks of both methods. And of course, once you have your design all figured out, you’ll need to follow the actual process for turning your design into a proper blueprint, through use of a special blueline machine.

Once you have your blueprints made, you’ll want the perfect blueprint hanging rack to keep your blueprints protected and organized. Big Blueprint Hanger can provide you with all your blueprint storage needs—browse the website to find the perfect hanging rack for you. Big Blueprint Hanger specializes in custom carts and blueprint storage systems to fit your unique needs—so as you’re designing you can rest assured knowing you have a system in place to protect and organize your finished product.

By Hand or Computer Program

Making a blueprint design by hand is, of course, the original method for creating an architectural design. For some, it remains the preferred method because of a kinetic creative connection to using physical tools and drawing. However, creating a blueprint design by hand can be the preferred option for a couple of other reasons as well. 

For one thing, it can take a long time to master the design computer programs. Until you’ve really learned how to work the programs, they can be ineffective for the detail you will want. In addition, the less expensive programs don’t generate the sort of detail required for full construction drawings. Without this detail, it will be difficult to get your blueprint approved for a building permit.

On the other hand, computer programs have some super benefits that are preferable for many architects. For example, home design programs can help you visualize your floor plan in 3D. The programs also help you quickly generate a visualization of your ideas and designs. For example, you can easily modify your drawings by moving walls around, dragging around furniture and appliances and generally refining your design as you make adjustments in the space. 

A few design programs that are popular include the older Autocad and the newer Home Design.

Perhaps the best option is to combine hand drawing with a computer program so you can take advantage of the best of both worlds. Regardless of the method you choose, you’ll want to begin by drawing up a floor plan.

How to Make a Floorplan

For sketching a floor plan design, you’ll need a variety of tools to assist with making straight lines and keeping things in proportion.

Some of these tools include:

  • Architect’s scale (a ruler that keeps your drawing in scale)
  • T-square
  • Adjustable triangle
  • Erasing shields (for accurate erasing of only specific parts of your drawing)
  • Compass
  • Symbol template
  • Long metal ruler or straight edge
  • Tracing paper
  • Utility knife
  • Parallel ruler (for drawing parallel lines)

The blueprint page

Lay out a sheet of paper 24” by 36” on a large, flat table. You will reserve the lower right hand corner for the title block, which includes essential information such as the name of the view (floor plan, cross section or elevation plans), the scale of the drawing, the name of the house, designer’s name and the date. 

Draw the exterior walls

First thing’s first, you will need to draw the exterior wall. Using an architect’s scale and straight edge, draw the inside dimensions of the exterior wall, followed with the outside dimensions of the exterior wall (walls can be anywhere from a few inches to a few feet thick).

Draw the interior walls

Now you’ll want to add both sides of the interior walls to demarcate rooms.

Draw the doors and windows

Add in doors and windows using the appropriate symbols for each.

Label the rooms

It’s important to have clear labels in the center of each room so you can easily locate the space.

Locate the appliances, plumbing and fixtures

Using your scale, symbols template and straight edge, insert the symbols for the appliances, the built in furniture (like kitchen and bathroom cabinets and counters), plumbing items such as sinks, toilets and tubs, fireplaces and equipment such as furnaces, air conditioning units and water tanks.

Draw electrical symbols

Draw the appropriate symbols in the walls and ceilings for electrical items such as plug outlets, fans, and door bells.

Label floor surfaces

Indicate how the floors in each room will be finished—with wood, carpet or tile, for example, and the thickness of material used (i.e. hardwood ½ “ ).

Write out dimensions for your plans

You’ll need to write out all the dimensions now for each room, the doors, the windows, closets, cabinet depths, etc.

Create window and door schedule

After labeling all your doors and windows with a number or letter, make a list in the blank space of your design page with two columns. In the first write the labels and in the second the specifics for the type of doors and windows desired.

Elevation Plans and Cross Section Plans

Now that you’ve finished your floor plan, you will want to create an elevation plan, as well as a cross section plan. With these various views of the house, you will have a complete design that you can take to your builder and local planning department for approval. These pages will make a nice little blueprint compilation that you can hang on your blueprint hanging rack. But first, you’ll want to run them through a blueline machine to turn them into proper blueprints.

Blueline Machines

Once you’ve created your blue print sketch or computer mock up, you’ll be wanting to transform your vision into an actual blue blueprint—that is, a handsome white on blue reproduction of the sketch that is easy to read. Through a use of a special blueline machine, architect drawings can be easily and inexpensively reproduced to create the classic blueprint.

But how does the machine work?

Similar to developing photographs, a blueline machine uses various chemicals, including ammonia, and light to create a stable, well preserved (and blue!) copy of the original print.  A blueline machine relies on the ability for light to pass through a document for it to work. Therefore whether you are using a CAD print or a manually-produced drawing, you’ll need it to be printed on a vellum or another medium that is transparent enough that it allows light to pass through.

Do note that if you make your drawing or CAD print on a non-transluscent paper or medium, you won’t be able to put it through the blueline machine. You will, however, be able to use a large format copy machine to make a black on white copy of your design.


How to use a blueline machine

To start with, you’ll want to take one page of your original drawings and one sheet of diazo paper. Place the diazo paper on top of your drawing and match all the edges until the two sheets appear as one.

Now, feed the sheets into the machine on the lower roller sections. As the sheets move slowly through the machine, they’ll be exposed to ammonia and a black light. When they come back out of the machine, you will peel away your original drawing/print and put it aside.

Next, you’ll want to run the diazo paper back through the machine on the top roller section. You can continue to run your diazo paper through the machine as many times as you like, depending on how fresh your ammonia is, the speed at which you exposed the first run, and how blue you want your print to be.

Repeat this process for each sheet in your design set. After copying all your designs, you may like to create a binder for your blueprint. You can do this by running a single sheet of diazo paper through the machine by itself. This will expose the entire sheet, turning it dark blue. You can staple this to your drawing set to hold your blue prints together.

The final step is to hang your beautiful new blueprint on your blue print hanging rack!


The Best Blueprint Hanging Rack

It won’t be difficult to find the perfect blueprint hanging rack because Big Blueprint Hanger has a variety of hanging racks to fit any space and budget. The Glide-Out Rack, for example, enables easy access to your blueprints since they can be mounted beneath work surfaces. The drawer-like slide in/out action makes accessing your blueprints super convenient while also saving you space.

glide out blueprint storage rack

The shelf conversion racks, on the other hand, make use of space you already have but are not fully utilizing. All you need to do is furnish the inside dimensions of your cabinet, and Big Blueprint Hanger will manufacture custom racks to fit your needs.

blueprint storage rack

However, perhaps the BEST blueprint hanging racks are the two tier storage racks which allow you to store more blueprints in less space than any other system. This compact but industrial strength storage system has various sizes available, but Big Blueprint Hanger can manufacture a rack to fit any space.  Beam levels adjust on 1 ½“ centers to fit numerous plans on the same rack. It can even be put on wheels to make it easy to move around based on your needs.

All of the storage racks at Big Blueprint Hanger are made from recycled steel and covered with environmentally-friendly paint, so you can rest assured you are using the most conscientious racking product available.