In this blog post, I will walk you through how you can to draw a 3D house model in SketchUp from a 2D floor plan image. You can use a PDF version of a floor plan or a sketch you created of the field dimensions. I will be using the same floor plan from my the previous tutorials.
- Create walls using the Push/Pull tool.
- Use Guides to locate openings.
- Create window and door openings using the Push/Pull tool.
- Add ceilings & floors.
- Use layers to control visibility.
Create the Walls
Open your SketchUp model containing your floor plan. If you have Parallel Projection turned on, go ahead and turn it off now. Activate the Orbit tool. Click and hold down your mouse key as you drag the cursor to rotate the view into perspective.
(Tip: You can click on any image in this tutorial to make it larger)
If your Layers window and Entity Info window aren’t visible, go to the Window menu and select both of those options now.
In the last tutorial, we created a 2D floor plan with symbols for the windows and doors and put that plan on the layer Plan-2D. We also made copies of our plans without the openings and symbols. The exterior walls are grouped together on the Walls-Exterior layer, and the interior walls are grouped on the Walls-Interior Layer.
Click the radio button next to Layer 0 to make it the active layer. Then uncheck the box next to Plan-2D to turn off the 2D plan. You should now be able to see the walls without the openings.
In our next step, we’re going to use the Push/Pull tool to extrude the exterior walls into 3D. We’re going to assume our ceiling height throughout the house is 9′.
Double click on the exterior walls group to open it. Click on the Push/Pull tool in the top menu. Hover over the face of the exterior walls.
Click on the face and drag your cursor up. You will see the walls begin to become three dimensional. Without clicking again, type 9′ and hit enter. The walls will automatically snap to a height of 9′.
Click outside of the group to close it. Use your tape measure tool to verify the dimension. Now you should see your exterior walls in 3D at 9′ tall.
Repeat the process for the interior walls. Remember, there are two interior walls group – one for the majority of the walls and one for the fireplace. To open the first group, double-click on any of the interior walls. Then double-click again on one of the groups to open it. You’ll know it’s open if you see blue dots when you click on the wall face. You may need to rotate the plan in order to see the fireplace walls.
This is what the model should look like with all of the walls extruded to 9′.
Create Exterior Windows & Doors
Next, we’re going to punch openings in the walls for the windows and doors. This step is when all of the work we did with guidelines in parallel projection mode pays off. Because we used guidelines to ensure all of our walls were drawn at right angles on the red-green plane, we shouldn’t have any issues with our openings. If you are struggling with creating openings, one reason might be that your walls are slightly crooked.
Let’s start by creating the openings for our front door and windows. In this model, we’ll assume all header heights are at 80″ and that the window sills are 24″ off the ground (sill height), except for the window in the kitchen, which is 42″ off the ground.
If your Plan-PDF layer is not visible, turn it on now so you can see the underlying PDF. Use the orbit tool to rotate your model so that you are looking towards the south wall where the front door should be.
Double click on the exterior walls to open the group. Click on the vertical face of one of the walls to make sure the group is open (blue dots visible).
Activate the tape measure tool. We’re going to start with the left edge of this wall. If you need to, adjust your view so that you can see the left edge. With the tape measure tool, click on the vertical edge of the wall and drag to the right. Enter 21″ for the distance from the edge to the left edge of the window in the dining area.
With the tape measure active, click on the guide you just made and drag to the right 90″ to set the second guide for the window width. To make sure your guide is snapped to the red axis, you can hold down the right arrow key as you drag (green is the left arrow and blue is the up arrow).
We’re going to continue adding all of the vertical guides for the openings on this wall. Using the measurements, add the guides for the door and living room window.
Now we’ll add horizontal guidelines for the header height and the sill height. Click on the bottom edge of the walls with your tape measure and drag up 24″. Repeat and set a guide at 80″ from the bottom edge. As you drag, make sure you can see the blue arrow that means you are snapped to the blue axis (perfectly vertical). Hold down the up arrow key if you are having trouble.
Activate the rectangle tool. Starting with the left window, draw a rectangle for the window opening using the guideline intersections as the corners. Make sure the exterior wall group is open and you are able to select the wall face and see the blue dots before you draw the rectangles.
Once you’ve drawn the three rectangles for the windows and doors, click on the wall face but not within one of the openings. You’ll be able to see that the faces are now separate from the rest of the wall.
We’re going to use the Push/Pull tool to punch out the openings in the wall. With the Arrow (selection tool), click on the left window face. Then activate the Push/Pull tool. Click on the window face and push in towards the interior wall. You can create the hole in one of two ways. You can click on the top inner edge of the wall or you can type the wall thickness and hit enter. Both ways work equally well.
Continue creating the holes for the other two openings.
Orbit your view of the model so that you can see the wall with the kitchen window. Using the same method, create the openings for the sliding door and for the window (remember the sill height is 42″).
Delete the guides. Pan over to the other side of the wall and create the opening for the bedroom window. You can use the Hand tool to pan by clicking and dragging in the direction you want to move the model.
Rotate around to the other side and create the hole for the window in the other bedroom. Click outside the group to close it.
Create Interior Door Openings
If you remember from the last tutorial, we estimated the locations of the interior doors using the PDF. In order to make sure we set the interior openings in exactly the same spot as we did on the 2D plan, we’re going to turn on the Plan-2D layer to create the guides. If you have your PDF visible like I do here, turn it off or hide it by right-clicking on it and selecting Hide from the menu.
Just like we did for the exterior openings, we’re going to create the vertical guides first and then the horizontal guide for the header height. We’ll do one together – the opening into the hallway. If you need to, orbit your model and zoom in so that you can see the wall clearly.
Double click on the interior wall two times to open up the group (check that the group is open by clicking on the face so that you see the blue dots).
Using the tape measure tool, click on the vertical wall edge visible to the left and drag towards the opening, which you should be able to see because we’re in X-Ray mode. As you get close to the edge, hover over it with your cursor, and you should see a green dot indicating the intersection. Click to set the guide.
Click on the guide and drag to the right to set the second guide for the opening. Then create a horizontal guide 80″ from the bottom edge of the wall.
Use the Rectangle tool to create the face for the opening and then use the Push/Pull tool to create the hole. Delete the guides.
Repeat this process for all of the interior openings, deleting your guides as you go. Your model should look like this when it is finished (X-Ray mode off).
You have now learned how to identify the opening locations two ways: from the PDF dimensions; and from the openings we previously located on the 2D Plan. You could have also used the second method for the exterior openings.
You have learned how to create openings using guides, rectangles, and the Push/Pull tool. If you are having issues creating openings, double check to make sure that the correct group is open before you draw the rectangle and try to push/pull.
We have two last elements to add to our basic 3D house model – the floor and the ceiling. Before we draw either, create two new layers – Floor and Ceiling. Turn off the Plan-2D layer if it’s still visible.
It’s possible that some of the lines making up the walls are on the Plan-2D layer. If, by chance, you notice some of your edges are missing, double-click twice on the main interior walls group. Triple-click on one of the walls to select all of the faces and edges in the group. Then in the Entity Info window, select the Walls-Interior layer from the drop-down. Click outside the group twice to close it.
Add the Ceiling
Click the radio button next to the Ceiling layer to make it the active layer. Then use the rectangle tool to draw ceiling planes over each room, from wall corner to wall corner. In some rooms like the living room and bedrooms, you’ll need to draw multiple rectangles to create the ceiling. Use the Eraser tool to create a single face from multiple faces by erasing the shared edges.
Faces in SketchUp have a back and a front, and depending on the style you have applied to your model, they may be different colors. If you see any faces that are dark gray, right click on them and select Reverse Face from the menu.
Double click on each ceiling you created and turn them into a group. Then make the Floor layer active. Toggle the visibility of the ceiling layer off. Then orbit your model so you are looking at it from the bottom.
Add the Floor
Instead of multiple rectangles for the floor, we’ll just draw one rectangle from corner to corner and then two rectangles for each door opening. Erase the shared edges to make a single face and then create a group of the face and edges.
If you are working on a different plan that isn’t a simple rectangle, you can trace the outline of your walls with the line tool to create a face. Or you can create multiple rectangles like we did with some of our ceiling planes and then erase the shared edges until you have a single face.
Orbit your model so that you are once again looking down into the house. If your floor is gray, double-click on the floor group to open it and reverse the face. Activate Layer 0 and save your file.
Friday 3rd of August 2018
Hi Jillian, I am completely a novice but good with computers. Need help choosing a software and if possible can you do a sample 3D from a 2D house plan I have since I can see the house on the ground and relate it to what you have done and I can pick up from there. Should I send the pdf file to you please? Thanks
Monday 4th of September 2017
I made some mistake in the previous tutorial and now the layer "interior walls" disappeared. After unchecking "2d" only the exterior walls are visible. I deleted by accident interior walls layer. Is it possible, at this stage, to create such a layer? I tried to select the group of interior walls and make the layer but it seems now to be connected to the 2d layer. I would like to proceed with the tutorial. What do you suggest?
Monday 4th of September 2017
My advice would be to right click on the interior walls and select explode until all of the interior walls are no longer grouped. Then I would select all of the interior walls - faces and edges - by triple clicking and using the Entity Info window to move them onto Layer 0. You can now group the walls. The group should be on Layer 0. Then you can create a new layer for interior walls (Walls-Interior) and move the group you just made onto this layer. A big mistake people have been making is putting the faces and edges on the different layers instead of the groups. The individual faces and edges have to be on Layer 0 if you want to use layers to control visibility.
Tuesday 14th of February 2017
Thank you so much for this tutorial. I am having issues coping - and pasting in place - a group of walls onto another layer. I was able to do it from Layer0 Originally with my existing drawn walls. now that I have another group of walls, it won't paste the copy onto a new layer, it just gives me the blue outline of the group, with none of it's elements. Any advise for why this is not working? I have tried it 50 times, rewatched your video, and it's just not working. I can not get the elemnts of the group (really just the group) to paste a copy onto this new layer.
Also, there no longer is a box to 'name' the copied group, only to name an 'instance', so I'm wondering if thats whats causing the issue? I have no idea, this is so frustrating and none of the forums address it.
Sunday 23rd of April 2017
Jen, hmmm...that's a tricky one. I'm sorry it's taken so long to respond to your comment. I haven't been getting any notifications for months now! I would make sure you only have the one group selected when you check Entity Info. You can copy and paste in place (that will put it on the same layer as the original). Then, with the new group selected, you should be able to change the layer on Entity Info. You can send me your file if you are still having trouble. firstname.lastname@example.org
SketchUp Tutorial: How to Model a Simple Window - Design Student Savvy
Saturday 19th of March 2016
[…] In our last tutorial, we used a PDF floor plan of a small house to create a simple three-dimensional model of the walls with openings for the doors and windows in SketchUp. And, in a previous tutorial, we had created a 2D floor plan with symbols for windows and doors. […]