25 Handy Measuring Hacks All DIYers Should Know

Accurate measurements are essential for every DIY project. We’ve collected our top techniques and tips to help you increase your measurement skills to the highest level.

Measure to Mark

Making use of the tape measurement in tight areas often will require stretching the measuring tape and trying your best to obtain a reading. You can eliminate tape completely by drying-fitting it, or by keeping the tape in place while marking where the tape needs to be cut using pencil. Create your mark using an “V” rather than a single line to make a more precise mark. The edge in”V “V” points to the exact location of the cut.

Use Pencil Lead to Mark Kerf Width

A kerf is merely an expression that describes the width of the blade of a saw. It is important to know your kerf’s size for making precise multiple cuts in any project. If you’re unable to determine why your cuts on wood seem to be always shorter, it could be because you didn’t consider the 1/8 in. thickness of the blade of your saw.

The solution is simple -just cut your pencil of a carpenter to the size of the saw blade. If you measure, make sure all cuts are made to the outside edge of the mark. In addition, you’ll also be able cut multiple pieces of the same board without having to worry about cutting too close.

Story Pole

A story pole can be described as an aid to your project. It lists the measurements of the project in its actual dimensions, not numbers, which makes it an all-in-one resource that helps save time and helps eliminate headaches when designing and measuring. Story poles are commonly employed to carpenters to mark items such as the height of windows, siding, and doors. However, it can also be used to mark various other tasks including furniture construction to building masonry.

Hand Measuring

The most reliable tape gauge is one that’s always at hand in the event of need -in your hands!

Utilize a tape measure discover the measurements of your fingers, hands and arms. For some for instance two fingers are approximately 1 inch. Find the width and length of your hands and the distance between your fingertip and the forearm on both sides. When you require a ballpark measurement you can utilize your hands to determine lengths.

Synchronize Measuring Tapes

A time-saving tip is to keep several tape measures on your workstation. Affixing one to the table saw, and another close to the area where you install it will eliminate the annoyance of having to switch between them whenever you don’t take your tape measure with you. (Find how to figure out how to use a tape measurement in the correct way.)

While the markings on the majority of tapes are precise however, the hooks may become bent or warped with time. To check the precision you can pull the line of a straight edge using both tape measures and then compare the markings. It is best to have this carried out at the beginning of each task. However, at a minimum it is worth a couple of seconds to ensure that no major injury has occurred when an item gets mishandled or dropped.

String Measure

If you’re trying to find the diameter of an outside cylindrical or a sphere, you can use an elastic measuring tape. If you don’t have one opt for a less expensive and easy option using an elongated length of yarn twine , or string.

Wrap an entire loop of yarn around the object to be measured, then trace it with your fingers or a black marker then place the yarn over the ruler or tape measure to obtain the exact measurement. Make sure you apply the same force to the string when wrapping it over the item, and when you are measuring.

Don’t Trust Factory Edges

This trick has been used by professionals for a long time.

Even though lumber boards have edges that are factory-finished does not mean that they’re always square. Before making the cut, make sure to be sure it’s a solid edge. This can be done by using a speed-square on the other side of the lumber. If the edges look odd, simply move the speed square across and cut off a tiny fraction of an inch using the aid of a saw to create a square. This is a short amount of work that could help you avoid a lot of hassle in the end.

Secrets of the Tape Measure Hook

If you examine your measuring tape, you’ll notice that the hook on the end of the tape measure has some distinctive characteristics. One is that it needs to be loose around its rivets. This lets it move in and out to provide accuracy whether using an outer or inner measure. This signifies that the very first inch measured on the tape measure can be inaccurate because of the amount of move (usually one-quarter inch). If you must get the measurements of a tiny item you should use a different section than the tape.

Another advantage is the hole on the hook for the tape measure. Some tape measure models do not have such a feature. However, if it has it, you’ll see that it’s the perfect size to fit onto an end of a nail or screw. This lets you lock to the head of a fastener and then take measurements without having to worry about the tape breaking free.

Circle Layout Tool

This technique will assist you in creating perfect circles and arcs each time! Begin by drilling a 1/8-inch hole through each inch marker on a yardstick or ruler. Put a pin into that first hole (at the 1-inch mark) and put the pin in the spot you’d prefer the center of your circle. Place a pencil inside another of the holes you made, based on how large you’d like the circle. Utilizing your pin to pivot point, turn the yardstick, moving the pencil along to draw the circle.

Water Level

If you don’t own a water level buy one. The water level can be a tried-and-true and inexpensive method to determine an equidistant height. It is particularly useful on floors that are irregular which make straight measurement difficult and the water level is an economical alternative to the laser level. It’s a basic tool made of clear plastic tubing. It comes with three vials that display levels, plumb as well as 45°.

Custom Spacers

Reduce the number of measurements you need to take and the possibility of errors by using spacers instead of tape measures. Spacers are particularly helpful when installing tiles, deck boards, or any other materials that require constant gaps to allow for expansion or grout. Spacers are available spacers that are available in stores or build your own using nails and lids made from plastic.

Use Your Tape Measure as a Story Pole

We’ve previously discussed how a story pole could make your job easier. This time, we’ve got a tip to help you carry one within your purse.

The same way lengths and measurements are recorded on a pole for story telling Mark the lengths and sizes of the project you are working on directly onto the tape measure with a permanent marker. Utilize a variety different colors in order to keep different pieces distinct. If you have to verify the size, take the tape out and find the correct color. After the project is completed clean the tape using acetone to take away the marker and keep the tape fresh, tidy and ready for the next task.

Borrow a Tape Measure While Shopping

There’s nothing more embarrassing than the moment when you’re looking for materials in a large box store, like Lowe’s and The Home Depot, only to realize you’ve forgotten the tape measurement. There’s a quick fix You can take a tape measure out of the aisle of tools. Most tape measures are placed on display with the tape readily accessible to potential buyers so they can test out their spring-action. Pick one up to make your measurements and then return it to the original location on the shelf.

Simple Math with Two Rulers

Let’s suppose you must add 1-13/16 inches. plus 3-3/8-in. This is normally a head scratcher, but see how simple it is to do with this trick. You’ll need two rulers or tape measures (here’s an suggestion for measuring using the old measuring tape).

In the tape you’ll, look for the 1-13/16-in. mark. Then, beginning at the point you are at, take 3-3/8-in off the second tape and lay it on top of the first. Then, on the first tape, observe that both measurements are equal at 5-3/16 in. mark. There is no math required!

Slant-Rule Board Divider

If you want to split material into equal pieces just tilt the ruler or tape measure across the surface. Once you have done that, adjust the tape until it is that is easily divided into the amount of pieces you need.

If, for instance, you want to divide the piece of wood into three parts, simply pull off the tape starting from top corner to any point along the side where it sets at an even 9 inches. Mark the distances at inches three and six inches. Be aware that these distances do not correspond to three inches. Once you turn the tape around it is not measuring distance anymore but instead spacing.

What’s in Your Wallet?

Things in your wallet can serve as a ruler when needed. The U.S. for example, dollars are 6.14 inches in length. Fold a dollar bill into thirds, then fold it cut it in half and you’ll end up with an approximately six-inch ruler long. The folds mark about every inch.

It’s not precise enough for precise cuts, but it is useful to determine the dimensions of fasteners and other objects that have odd shapes. Credit and debit cards are also common sizes and are easily marked by taking measurements. The size of a U.S. quarter is just less than one-inch in size.


A standard sheet of print paper from the US measures 8-1/2 inches. wide and 11 inches. tall. Since paper isn’t expensive and inexpensive, it’s a good measurer that you can make yourself as well as folding it in half can aid in focusing the precise dimensions. Fold a corner of the paper, as an example and you’ll end up with the diagonal line which is just under 14 inches. You can fold it into quarters or thirds in any direction to make shorter lengths.

Measure By The Foot (Your Own!)

If you’re ever without measuring tape and are required to determine a middle-sized distance an easy solution could be to pacify it. There’s usually too plenty of variation in a normal walking pace, which is why it’s more precise to employ the heel-to-toe technique. Don’t rely solely on your foot or the size of your shoe, because that’s a measurement of the inside of your shoe. A shoe that is size 10 for work will be much bigger than a size 9 sneakers for instance.

Use the Ballpark Method for Landscapes

Instead of spending the time to obtain exact measurements for a huge space , such as your yard you can use this method of ballparks. Create a mental image of the space you’re familiar with. It could be a different project that you’ve been working on or any other consistently-sized area, like the football field.

A American soccer pitch (without the end zone) is less than one an acre. A total of two field (including ends zones) are about one hectare. Of course, this technique can be applied to any sport with an official size field. Major baseball fields in the league are around 2 1/2 acres. It’s not the best way to go if your goal is precise measurement.

Quick Cabinet Pull Measurements

They are square in shape that’s why making a series of lines across the drawer from one corner result in an intersection that is in the center of the face of the drawer which makes the installation of hardware an easy task. When you’ve installed pulls you’re now ready to drill the hole. When you’ve installed handles utilize a combination square measure the distance from the center of the handle to the edge. You can then drill holes on either side, at an angle that’s in line with the handle set.

A Pint’s a Pound

The old adage “A Pint’s a Pound, the World Around” isn’t completely accurate however it’s a good enough statement to approximate measurements. The weight of a pint is around 1 pound, which means a one-quarter pound quart weighs about two pounds and a gallon weighs around eight pounds. Similar to most ballpark estimations the farther away you go the more you increase. However, if you only need an easy calculation of the water’s weight, it’s a good general rule of thumb.

Know the Width of Your Tape Base

The majority of measuring tapes have the size of the tape shell on the base. You’ll notice that the majority of bases for tape measure are flat. They’re designed to help you make measurements inside.

If you’re measuring the length of an opening for a door such as a door, then bent tape won’t give you a precise measurement. Instead, you should insert the entire tape measure inside the opening, and take the measurement from one end to the otherand add the width of tape measure.

DIY Marking Gauge

If you’re looking to draw lines on your project material A marking gauge can allow you to lay out your project without the hassle in measuring multiple markings and connecting them using straightedge. But what happens if you don’t have a marking tool? There’s a great DIY solution!

Make a square with a square combination and drill a 1/8 in. hole in the 1 inch mark. Be sure to place it precisely at the one-inch mark, and don’t extend far beyond 1/8 inch. diameter. The combination square should be set to measure 1 inch more than your desired measurement. Then, place pencil inside the 1/8-in. hole. Then, slide the square across the edges of your material and let it trace a neat line.

Tape Measure Scribing Tool Hack

Pay attention to the hook at the edge of the tape measurement. It’s constructed from strong metal. Additionally, the majority of models feature an edge with a serrated design. This isn’t an mistake! It’s a deliberate design feature that allows hooks to be used as the Scribing tool.

If you are unable to locate your pencil for a carpenter you can simply insert the pencil’s end of the tape measure into wood or another material. Its serrated edges will make a trace that allows you to draw a ideal cut. No pencil required!

DIY Marking Gauge

The hack takes first two options on our list and merges the two to move this hack to the next step.

Instead of writing the short line, you should hold the tape measure to the surface using your index finger. Then apply pressure lightly to the hook. When you move the material the hook will draw an arc of cut lines. This gives you the convenience of using a scribing instrument and the precision of marking gauges. If you’re working with drywall , or another material that could be cut using a knife, just use a knife that’s pinned to the top of the hook on tape and direct the knife straight down cutting lines. If you’ve been working on the job site for a big drywall job or other large-scale project, you may have experienced professional hangers using this method to avoid the marking-and-cut phase of the installation