How to Go About Building a Church Steeple

The classic steeple is an icon featured on churches of various denominations, usually Christian, in large cities and small towns across the globe, primarily in American and European countries. Whether classic white on a traditional clapboard church or an imposing stone spire on a towering cathedral, this architectural feature is an easily recognizable religious symbol. Constructing your own steeple is a two-man job that requires precise measuring and access to power tools. These instructions detail how to construct a 16-foot-tall steeple.

Quaint church in winter
credit: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Building the Top Section: The Four-Sided Pyramid

Step 1

Using the table saw, cut the luan into eight pieces: four triangle pieces measuring 2 feet at the base and running 8 feet tall, and four trapezoid pieces measuring 3 feet at the base, 2 feet at the top and 4 feet tall. Premeasure carefully and draw out your cut lines prior to cutting or you might need an extra sheet of luan.

Step 2

With the nail gun, attach one triangle piece to one trapezoid piece with two of the 8-foot-long 1-by-2 inch boards, making sure the 2-foot base of the triangle is flush with the 2-foot side of the trapezoid. Tack the 1-by-2 inch lumber on the outer edges of your triangle.

Step 3

Cut another 1-by-2 inch board into four 2-foot pieces and, with the nail gun, tack one piece along the seam where the trapezoid and triangle meet for added strength. It may be necessary to trim the 2-foot piece down an inch or two in order to fit it between your outer framing.

Step 4

Repeat Step 2 and Step 3 to create a second 12-foot-tall framed-out triangle.

Step 5

Lay one framed out triangle down, with the framing facing up, and, with the nail gun, tack the third triangle on the outside edge of the 1-by-2 inch framing. Temporarily brace the triangle up in the air while you attach the third trapezoid below it. Then repeat Step 3, adding a trimmed down support across the seam of your newly attached unframed side. Temporarily brace this unframed side, so it will remain upright while you attach the other side.

Step 6

Repeat Step 5, attaching the fourth unframed triangle and trapezoid on the opposite side. Temporarily brace this third side so it remains upright.

Step 7

Lift your second framed-out triangle--the fourth side of your pyramid--above your unframed sides, with the framing facing down. Fit this fourth side snugly between your unframed sides and attach with your nail gun.

Step 8

You have now completed a 12-foot-tall wooden steeple.

Weatherproofing Your Steeple

Step 9

Lay your steeple on two sawhorses and coat the top and both sides with fiberglass resin (following mixing instructions on the can) and fiberglass cloth. Wait for the fiberglass to cure.

Step 10

Give the steeple a one quarter turn and again coat the top and both sides with resin and cloth.

Step 11

Repeat Step 1 and 2 two more times. Your steeple now has coats of resin and cloth on all four sides.

Step 12

Stand upright and coat the entire steeple with one more coat of resin and apply fiberglass matting on all four sides.

Step 13

Sand the matting smooth and finish with one more layer of resin and cloth. Your steeple section is now weatherproofed.

Building your Steeple Base

Step 14

Using the table saw, cut your 3/4-inch plywood into four sections 3 by 4 feet.

Step 15

Cut the two remaining 1-by-2 inch boards in half, creating four 4-foot pieces. Frame out the 4-foot sides of two of the 3-by-4 foot pieces of plywood, much like you framed out two sides of the pyramid.

Step 16

Affix the two unframed pieces of plywood to one of the framed-out pieces, then top off with the second framed-out side, attaching them together with the nail gun. You now have a base that is 4 feet tall with sides of 3 feet.

Step 17

Measure the pitch of the roof you would like to attach your steeple to and cut a notch in the bottom of your base to match the angles.

Step 18

Weatherproof your base by repeating the steps outlined in Section 2.

Step 19

Attach the 3-foot base of the steeple to the 3-foot end of your base for a total height of a 16-foot steeple.