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Saturday, 12 August 2017

Make Your Own Ruler Grips in 5 Minutes

DIY Ruler Grips by eSheep Designs
Hacking my own set of ruler grips...grippers... holders!
One of my favourite sayings is "necessity is the mother of invention". If you need something and it doesn't exist, create it. Or in my case recently, if you need something and it costs too much to ship, hack it.

Last week, I presented a project featured on Laura Coia's SewVeryEasy YouTube channel.

On another of her videos, she shared some of her favourite small sewing tools and I was immediately taken with her ruler grip thingamajigs. (Truly, I'm not sure what to call these!)

She had purchased them online from a company stateside, but when I went to place an order, a message came up informing me that one of my items could not be shipped to my address. (I had put two other small items into my cart because I figured there I may as well shop while I was there.) Not entirely helpful of the site just to say "one of the items in your cart", because I ended up removing them one by one and it turned out that none of my items could be shipped to me!

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image courtesy of SewVeryEasy.com...
Because I abandoned my shopping cart, the site owners contacted me and it was soon established that I could place an order directly with them via email. A couple of messages later, it was clear that shipping would cost way more than these ($2.99 USD) items, so I dropped it and decided to make my own.

As you can see here, the item itself is just a suction cup attached to a knob. That is, very simple to hack...

I began by going online to Canadian Tire to search out some suction cup hooks. I found some on clearance for $1.43. (I'm sure any basic discount store would have these things too, but I needed to go to Canadian Tire that day.)

When I went to the store to pick them up, I found a set of plastic table/chair leg protectors for 93¢ in the same aisle. I was originally going to search out some drawer knobs, but figured these would do for my purposes.

DIY Ruler Grips by eSheep Designs
Basic supplies needed to purchase...

What else is needed? A couple of small screws (and screwdriver) and some glue. All of which you probably have at home.

DIY Ruler Grips by eSheep Designs
A couple of screws and some glue and you're set...

The process is ridiculously simple. Remove the hook from the suction cup, poke a screw through a plastic leg piece, squirt some glue down the centre of the suction cup tip and join together.

DIY Ruler Grips by eSheep Designs
Way easier than pie!

Yes, that's all there is to it.

But in actual fact, you don't need to do anything but get yourself some suction cups; they work perfectly fine by themselves, as long as you don't mind their "naked" look. (If you're concerned about them being transparent and therefore potentially hard to find/see, I guess you could hot glue a button on top of them.)

DIY Ruler Grips by eSheep Designs
Done in about five minutes!

Allow the glue to dry completely before you start playing around with them, but your ruler grips are now done and ready to be used.

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The whole project involved less than $2.50 (taxes in) worth of materials and maybe an hour of my time to search out supplies, go get them, and then make it.

DIY Ruler Grips by eSheep Designs
They work and that's what matters...

A few years ago, I wrote up a blog post about making your own sewing tools. Apart from a pin cushion, I never did make any of them, even though I've often thought about the pattern weights. (And I still resort to a rolled up towel when I need a sewing ham!)

In terms of these ruler gripping appliances, I've seen those big "bathtub handle" things (the ones that look like an old fashioned telephone receiver) that quilters use and I assume they do the job quite well. However, I have no need for such a large item and the cost would be prohibitive.

I also saw this on Vicsew.com:

image courtesy of Vicsew.com...

You could definitely try this with a drawer handle to come up with a smaller version of the above. (Although for those of you who live in Australia, I'd suggest you just buy it: it's $5 and free shipping with a minimum $10 order. The single knob version is just $3.)

So whether you buy it or hack it, it's cheap. The only problem for me was that I couldn't find an easy way to buy it without incurring unreasonable shipping charges.

Combined with the hack of using transparent surgical/first aid tape on the underside to prevent slipping, my ruler is now perfectly "grippy" both top and bottom!

Do you have any small sewing tools that you just can't do without?


  1. I was given one of those bath telephone looking handles for my quilt rulers several years ago and I tried it, but I didn't like it at all. Clumsy to deal with and I couldn't see my ruler markings because it cover it up and I found myself bending my head own to see the measurements! So it got donated. I also was given a one suction cup one for small rulers and again I couldn't read my ruler, so what is the point of those suction cup gizmos other than to keep fingers up and away from the cutters. I have a glove that I can wear that you cannot cut through for saving fingers. I am sure you must find them useful and that is why you created your own and that is great if it works for you. I don't see any quilters using them anymore or for sale either, so I figure others didn't find them useful either.

    1. It's funny that what seems obvious to one is sometimes not to another! I don't actually use them to press down on the ruler when cutting or to protect my fingers. The purpose of these grips for me is to be able to move and reposition the ruler more easily. Because the underside of the ruler has been "grippifed" - LOL - with the tape, I can't just slide it easily on top of fabric. With the grips on, it's just quicker to pick up and move the ruler without disturbing the fabric.

      But now that you mention it, I can see how those "bathtub" handles would be a bother to use if they cover up the ruler measurements. These ones are mostly transparent and quite small by comparison.

  2. Thanks for the link to VicSew - new to me. I'll have no trouble spending $10 to get the free shipping. I'm going to try the drawer type handle. Maybe it'll cover markings, but for $5 it's worth a try. The first aid tape is also something else I'll try. Thanks!

  3. I use the chair leg/cane/crutch tips as pattern weights. I filled them with pennies, glued on a circle of felt, and have used them for oh....about 25 years now, I'd guess.

  4. I'm so glad I came across this post! I have tried using handles to press down, but with the arthritis in my hands pressing down with a flat hand is much more comfortable. But I really like the idea to use one to move the ruler. I will definitely give that a try. And just to add icing to the cake . . . I love Barbara's idea for pattern weights. That is another tip I will be trying. Thank you!

    1. Glad to have been of assistance to you, and thank you in return for leaving a comment. (My ruler grips have been permanently stuck to my ruler since I made them.) By the way, Barbara's idea was apparently an award winning submission to a sewing magazine "many years ago", so you and I are not the only ones to love it!

  5. I can't wait for a trip to the hardware store! Picking up my rulers and small templates has become increasingly hard because of arthritis. I can relate to your ordering online, you finally find just what you are looking fore and.... you want how much to ship it!?!

    Have a wonderful sun filled creative fall.
    Zuzannah in Canada

    1. Happy to have been of assistance, Zuzannah. Who would have thought this simple little idea could go over so well?? (And yes, I can't tell you how many times I've been virtually KO'd by shipping costs!)

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving your comments and well wishes... enjoying some sun right now, in fact!


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