Step 2: Mark the plates

Lay the plates face-to-face. If the walls aren't plumb, stagger the plates by the differences in the Step 1 plumb-bob measurements. Mark stud locations 15 1/4 inches from plate end, then every 16 inches.

Place header against sole plate in doorway; mark each end onto plate. Draw another line 1½ inches from the first. Draw an "X" between each pair of lines, showing king stud locations.

Remove the header. Draw parallel lines 1 1/2 inches in from the header. Draw an "O" between each pair for jack studs. Transfer the lines to the top plate.

At the first stud, draw a line across both plates. Work away from the end, drawing a line 1½ inches from the first. Repeat at each mark to indicate stud locations.

Set header against top plate between king stud locations. Transfer lines from the top plate to the header, showing where the cripple studs go.

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    More in Framing & Insulation

    Tools List

    • four-foot level
      for checking whether studs are plumb
    • sledge hammer
      for nudging the sole plate into position
    • framing square
      Framing square,
      for marking cut and layout lines
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • hammer
      20-oz. framing hammer
    • chalk line
      Chalk line,
      for marking location of wall on floor and ceiling
    • plumb bob
      Plumb bob,
      for aligning layout marks between ceiling and floor
    • speed square
      Speed Square,
      for marking plates, headers, and studs, and as a saw guide
    • circular saw
      Circular saw

    Shopping List

    1. 2x4s