How to Build a Drywall Stand

Hanging drywall by yourself is a pain.
It’s hard to lift the board up into place while simultaneously attaching the drywall panel to the ceiling. If you can’t get a few friends to help out for the day, and you don’t want to waste money renting a drywall lift from a tool outlet, you can always build a “dead man. ” It’s a stand-like device that professional drywall hangers often use to prop up a board of drywall and hold it against the ceiling.

Step 1

Measure the height of your ceiling with a measuring tape. If the height of the ceiling varies significantly in different places, you may need to build several dead men, one for each ceiling level.

Step 2

Cut a 2-by-4 with a saw to the height of the ceiling, less 4 inches. For example, if your ceiling is 96 inches, cut the 2-by-4 so that it is 92 inches long.

Step 3

Cut a second 2-by-4, this time to roughly 3 feet.

Step 4

Lay the small 2-by-4 on top of the large one to form a large T.

Step 5

Attach the small piece to the large piece, using long wood screws and a screw gun.

Step 6

Attach braces to each arm of the T if the dead man seems wobbly. To do this, cut two small sections of 2-by-4 and attach them to the underside of each arm with screws. If you only need the dead man for one small job, this is probably unnecessary.

Things You Will Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Saw
  • 2-by-4s
  • Long screws
  • Screw gun
  • Drywall panels
  • Hammer
  • Drywall nails
  • Drywall screws


  • Hang drywall with the dead man by leaning it against a wall, then laying a panel of drywall on top of it. Lift up the opposite end of the drywall. The dead man should support one end of the drywall while you support the other. With your free hand, hammer in a few nails to temporarily attach the drywall. Once it is secure, use drywall screws to permanently attach the board to the ceiling studs. One drywall screw every 4 to 6 inches should do.
  • Before lifting the drywall, poke a few nails into it around the edges. That way, all you have to do is swing the hammer with your free hand to bang in the nails once the drywall is in place.


  • A dead man may be inexpensive, but a drywall lift is the best way to hang drywall by yourself. They are more stable and considerably easier to use.

About the Author

Stan Mack is a business writer specializing in finance, business ethics and human resources. His work has appeared in the online editions of the "Houston Chronicle" and "USA Today," among other outlets. Mack studied philosophy and economics at the University of Memphis.