I’m going to start off by saying that I think I came up with this on my own. However it is a pretty simple idea, and may have been thought of before.
When I was finishing my basement I wanted to have recessed lighting. What I did not want to do is spend a fortune to cut a few circles into drywall. Looking at the hardware store every circle cutting tool was at least $25, I’m way too cheap to spend that much on a tool I will use only a few times… So I looked at some things in my shop. I had shims, rope, tape, glue, etc…
The traditional method is to use string, however finding the center point is a pain, and if it twists the circle is off. I wanted something fool proof that while spending a long day hanging drywall would allow me to keep up the pace of my helper/drywall trainer (thanks Hank!)
What I came up with is extremely simple, and practically has zero costs. It will cut perfect circles as long as you follow some simple steps.
Project: Self Centering Drywall Circle Jig
Materials: Shim, Awl, Pencil
Difficulty: Easy (to make) Medium (to measure and cut)
Awesomeness: Really Awesome
In order to make this a simple, cheap tool I used shims. They are easy to come by and are made of soft wood. As I use an awl for part of this it ensures I can drive the awl through the wood and have it stay in place.
This is all that is required to make the jig, I told you it was simple!
Now the hard part, and this is up to you. Make sure to measure if you are not certain… What you need to do is establish four “corners so you can draw a square. Use whatever edges you feel comfortable with. Just make sure you are really close as there is only a little room for mistake.
Once you have all of the circles drawn, you will have a center point. Now just put the awl where all the points meet and draw a full circle.
WOW, THAT WAS EASY! Now you know where you light should go.
To remove the drywall I do the following:
Gently trace around the circle, cutting the paper and some of the rock.
Cut lines across the 4 points and between those points (like a pizza)
Gently hit with a mallet to remove the front.
Cut out the back paper.
And that is it, a simple way to cut circles in drywall. Hopefully this helps!