Wooden Ruler

Length of Project:
Project theme:
Suitable for grades:
Tools & Materials
Material List
  • thin piece of wood, eg, paint stir stick
  • Acrylic paint
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint brushes
  • Permanent marker
  • Optional Extras

  • Square
  • Mod Podge or other sealant
Tool list
  • handsaw
  • Clamp(s)
  • Optional

  • table saw
  1. Measure 12 inches from the end of the piece of wood and draw a line. If you are only going to use metric (centimetre) units, then measure 30 cm instead.
  2. Clamp your wood to a solid work surface. Using a handsaw, cut the wood at the line. Cut carefully to avoid splintering the edges. Always have an adult help you when cutting with saws.
  3. Sand all edges and surfaces of your ruler until smooth.
  4. Paint your ruler and allow them to dry between coats. You may want to paint two or three coats to get a nice finish. Decorate it however you would like.
  5. Using a measuring tape, measure out and mark your wood piece with metric (centimetre), imperial (inch) units, or both. Make your marks in pencil, then ask an adult to use the utility knife to carefully mark your units with a shallow cut onto your rulers. Make sure you are on a work surface that won’t be damaged by the knife, and have an adult with you when using sharp tools.
  6. Mark the unit lines and numbers with paint or a permanent marker.
  7. If you like, you can finish with a coat of Mod Podge to seal the paint once it’s dry and protect your work from wear and tear.
  8. Your ruler is now ready to use. Go get measuring and make some more projects!
Extension Challenges
  1. Before you get started, use a speed square to make sure your cut line is perfectly straight and square.
  2. Experiment with using paints, a wood burning tool, chisels, etc., to make designs or words to customize your rulers.
  3. Make a giant version to hang on a wall as a growth chart to record heights. You can get wood cut to size at your local wood shop.
  4. Do you or anyone you know go crabbing or fishing? Look up the local regulations on minimum size requirements, and make a customized ruler to determine whether you can keep your catch or need to throw it back.
  5. Look through your math set and try making some of the other tools, such as a protractor or a square, or even design a giant-sized compass to draw big circles for future projects.
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