How to Read a Tape Measure

Rulers and tape measures are tools to help determine accurate mathematical accounts of the width and height of various objects. A tape measure differs from a ruler in that a ruler is not flexible. A tape measure can be used to measure things that are not necessarily straight edged objects with no problem. A ruler cannot bend and will not accurately measure things that have bends and curves.  A tape measure is a much better tool for jobs like these. If you need to measure around objects, a tape measure is the best thing to use. It’s easy to use and learn to read a simple tape measure. It’s only takes a few moment and some patience. Here is how you can read a tape measure. Read on for more information on how to read a tape measure.



  • Dollar Bill
  • Tape Measure
  • Quarters (4)
  • Half Dollar (2)
  • Picture of Caterpillar
  • Picture of Octopus

Step 1

Take a look at the tape measure in its full length. You will notice that it’s sectioned off  by increments of 16ths, 8ths, 4ths, 1/2’s and inches.

Step 2

Increments of 16 can be compared to a caterpillar that has sixteen legs. Use your tape measure to measure out the exact length of the legs on the picture. Be careful to line the edges up with the indications along the tape measure itself.

Step 3

When you are measuring in increments of eighths, think of an Octopus. Octopi have eight tentacles. Place the tape measure against the tentacle in the photo. Make sure you bend the flexible tape measure around the bends and curves of the Octopus. This will ensure that your measurements are accurate. Record the numerical information of each tentacle.

Step 4

To grasp the concept of quarters, use four quarters. Measure the diameter of each single quarter. Record the value. Then, stack all the quarts on top of one another in a vertical column and measure the height of the stack. Write down the value for this as well. You will begin to notice that the more you use a tape measure, the easier it becomes to read it and use it.

Step 5

To teach the concept of halves, use half dollars. Measure the diameter of the coins and record the number for these. Then, stack them vertically and measure the height.

Step  6

Use a one dollar bill for this next step. Use your tape measure to determine the value of the length for each side. Measure the width and the height. Record the value for both sets.

Step 7

You now have fully mastered how to read and use a standard tape measure.

Filed Under: Home & Maintenance


About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.