Life Hacks: Paper Ruler in a Pinch

Sometimes you need to measure something and if your house is anything like mine, there’s never a ruler around when you need one!  All these kids and all these years of school supplies and we don’t have one cotton pickin’ ruler, for crying out loud!

But you know what we do have tons of?  Paper.  There’s paper everywhere.  So when you need a ruler, grab a sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper, used or unused – doesn’t matter, and make yourself a ruler.  You’ll also need a pen – or some kind of marking device (pencil, crayon, quill and ink, smudge of dirt – whatever you can find.)

Here’s how!

  1.  Fold one corner up to the top of the page diagonally to make a triangle.  There will be some left over on the side because it’s a rectangular piece of paper and we are making a square.paper ruler DIY hacks_1paper ruler DIY hacks_2
  2. Trim off that extra strip so that you now have a triangle (or a square if you unfold it).  Chances are, if you can’t find a ruler, you also can’t find scissors (in my house I look in the sofa cushions, there’s usually 5 or 6 pairs of scissors hidden in there for some reason) so just fold that little flap back and forth and tear it off.  (Also be careful when you sit down on the sofas at my house.)paper ruler DIY hacks_3
  3. The longest edge of your triangle is the base for your ruler.  That edge is approximately 12 inches long.  Pretty cool, right! Fold your ruler in half, mark your 6 inch line.paper ruler DIY hacks_3 markedpaper ruler DIY hacks_4
  4. Fold each end of the ruler in to meet at the 6 inch line and crease.  The creases will be your 3 and 9 inch marks. And it also looks a little bit like a puppy!paper ruler DIY hacks_5paper ruler DIY hacks_6
  5. Now it gets a little more involved, but still easy.  We need to be able to mark 1 inch intervals, so now we take the edges of our triangle and fold them in and up so that the edge meets up with the 3 and the 9 inch marks.  We have what looks kind of like a cat or an autobot if you have an 8 year old boy.  Make sure you crease that fold.paper ruler DIY hacks_7
  6. Mark that crease with a little dot when you open it back up.paper ruler DIY hacks_8
  7. Now we’re going to fold again matching that little dot we just made with the number 3 on the left, and the same on the right but matching the right dot with the 9 inch mark. Crease again on that fold and make a mark on the crease.paper ruler DIY hacks_9
  8. OK!  Last time, we are going to match up our two little dots, fold and crease.  Halfway between these dots (where our new crease is) will be our inch mark.  It will mark inch 10 on the right and inch 2 on the left. Fold and crease.  paper ruler DIY hacks_9paper ruler DIY hacks_13
  9. That was the hard part.  Now all we have to do is fold our ruler to mark the rest of the inches.
    1.  Fold with inch 9 as your crease and inch 10 will match up to inch 8.
    2. Then fold inch 8 to match inch 6 and the crease of that fold will be inch 7.
    3. Fold the tip on the very far right to meet inch 10 mark and the crease of that fold is inch 11.
    4. Do the same on the left to mark inches 1, 4 and 5.
  10. There you have it!  Your makeshift ruler!  I wouldn’t go measuring anything that needs to be super precise with this ruler, but it will give you a pretty close measurement!paper ruler DIY hacks_14paper ruler DIY hacks_15You see…I never did find a ruler, I had to pull one up on the computer!


Don’t toss that ruler when you’re done measuring.  Fold it over, tear it off and stick it in your wallet for a handy measuring tool!

paper ruler DIY hacks_17paper ruler DIY hacks_16paper ruler DIY hacks_18

Tell me how your ruler turned out in the comments!


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