customised tape measure

by craftapalooza on 09/03/2006

in Green Crafting, Whip Up Tutorials

Don’t like the look of your cheap plastic tape measure? Wanna pretty it up? Here’s one solution that you can customise and be creative with.

materials for tape measure

You’ll need:
– Tape measure approximately 2inches (51mm) in diametre

– 1-2 pieces of wool felt approximately 2.5inches in diametre (64mm) – depending on how you choose to decorate your tape measure. (You really do need to use 70-100% wool felt for this to work, “craft” felt will not hold up to being stitched so tightly by hand.)

– A yoyo, made with a starting circle of approximately 5inches (130mm).

– Embroidery thread and a little bit of stuffing for the top of the measure.

OK, you ready?

Grab you measure and the two pieces of fabric you’re going to use to cover it. With your needle and embroidery thread start a nice, tight whip stitch around the edge with the measure wedged in. It’s a little tricky. In the past I have put a little glue tape on the side of the measure with the button on it to keep the felt from moving (you don’t want glue tape both sides as you’ll be stuffing one side). Also note that you want the bottom of the measure to be the side with the button, so don’t put your decorated side on the button side, it can make using the button difficult. You’ll also want to make sure that the tape measure pull is positioned at the beginning of your whip stitching, so that you finish at the pull and don’t enclose it!

whip stitchin the edges

Once you’re about an inch from finishing enclosing the measure grab a little stuffing (ie polyfill or craft filling of your choice) and put it between the top side (decorated side) and measure, squish it around to get it even and as puffy as you like or flat, your choice.

stuff it

Then continue to whip stitch the edges together until you come back around to the pull. Leave the pull sticking out and fasten off your thread.

Now you can also decorate the pull if you like. I use a bit of felt and just slip it through the pull top and fasten it at the end of the pull with embroidery thread.

tag it

The one you see below is decorated with a yoyo and a vintage button. However you could decorate your tape measure with buttons, fabric, ribbon, felt beads, embroidery, you’re only as limited as your imagination. Here’s a link to some that I’ve previously made.


Finito. Enjoy!

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Wannietta March 9, 2006 at 6:56 pm

Totally awesome, very clever!!


2 Gisela March 9, 2006 at 7:04 pm

so pretty! a simple idea with just a beautiful result…


3 zib March 9, 2006 at 7:16 pm

Hey what a cool walk-thru! Great idea, thank you!


4 jen March 9, 2006 at 7:47 pm

love this! yo-yos rule and this is the perfect application. can’t wait to make one.


5 Jennifer March 9, 2006 at 7:50 pm

This is such a great idea. For those of us unfamiliar, how do you make a yoyo? I do sew, and the simplest guidelines would be most appreciated! Thanks!


6 melissa March 9, 2006 at 8:54 pm

Oooh! I love this. But… I don’t know how to make a yo-yo. :o(


7 feli March 9, 2006 at 9:24 pm

Wooohooo thanks for that!! I love it. Another one in my to do list.


8 Mel March 9, 2006 at 9:28 pm

I’ve been waiting for this since you mentioned it last week. Too cool!!


9 Keri March 9, 2006 at 9:44 pm

I love this! Very pretty.


10 *jenny March 9, 2006 at 10:21 pm

How clever! Thank you!


11 laura March 9, 2006 at 10:26 pm

wow! for the great tutorial. i’ve wanted to make one of these ever since i saw yours and the one at 6.5sts that she made for back-tack2. now i can make my own – Yeah! Any thoughts as to where one can find that type of tape measure online? I only see the square ones locally – Thanks!


12 gleek March 9, 2006 at 10:47 pm

cute! i’m confused about the yo yo bit though. is that the decorated bit of fabric?


13 cally March 10, 2006 at 1:10 am

What a great idea, I love it when someone comes up with something i’ve never seen and never thought of.


14 Samantha March 10, 2006 at 1:47 am

Your round pincushions inspired me to make a batch. I shall have to give these a go as well.

Thanks for the tutorial!


15 rem March 10, 2006 at 2:24 am

I’ve never heard of a yo-yo before! Is there somehwere I could go to learn how to make one? :)


16 boogaj March 10, 2006 at 2:35 am

So cute!! I’ve been meaning to find a little project using yo-yo’s since I saw the great pillow on turkey feathers blog ( Can’t wait to try this out!


17 admin March 10, 2006 at 4:15 am

oooh i think there may be a yoyo tutorial in your future!


18 cindy2paw March 10, 2006 at 4:59 am

We were discussing how we would make something like this at our Knitting Coven on Tuesday!!! I call a Yoyo a Suffolk Puff. You just turn under and stitch a tiny hem on a circle of fabric and end off, then run a gathering thread around the edge and pull it tight. I put a Suffolk Puff tree on my Christmas Quilt and there is a Humpty Dumpty from the English Women’s weekly with his arms and legs made entirely from them too. OK, that made me sound really sad, but children really like Humpty!!!!


19 craftapalooza March 10, 2006 at 6:20 am

Hey – thanks everyone! Via Turkey Feather’s here’s a link on how to yoyo.
Might do a photographic tutorial soon. Get creating, if you post your pics on flickr, tag them “tape measure” so we can find them! Depending how many start appearing I might start a flickr group.


20 keri March 10, 2006 at 7:43 am

Last week when you posted the pincushion it was so inspirational I had to go make one right away! I love the tape measure as well, very pretty! I’m a little confused on the yo-yo part, since a few people know it, it must be a common sewing technique. If you had the time, tutorial, please, pretty please, with a cherry covered tape measure on top??? :)


21 Alicia March 11, 2006 at 1:57 am

That is one of the most original and creative things I’ve ever seen. Adorable.


22 angrychicken March 11, 2006 at 6:59 am

thank you-thank you-thank you!!!
so amazing and clever and cool. you are the best!


23 Sandypter March 13, 2006 at 2:04 am

That is just adorable! Thank you for the great step by step photo’s.


24 ~vicki March 13, 2006 at 3:30 am

i just saw this, what a great use for a yo-yo! i love it when someone takes an old idea and turns it into something fresh and fun. perfect!


25 Ghada May 20, 2006 at 6:52 am

Really I like it, I will buy those tape measure to do it. thanks. Really a creative and great job.


26 Brenda July 4, 2006 at 10:50 am

these are so cute they look like flowers.


27 cecile January 11, 2007 at 12:47 am

I love it ! Very good idea.


28 Ros May 12, 2007 at 7:48 pm

I was a little confused by the mention of the yoyo – I was imagining how you were going to convert a child’s toy into a tape measure! But I love this idea and now I want to make one (or three!).


29 SueQ August 27, 2007 at 4:17 am

This tape measure cover is adorable. What a cute idea for a sewing basket filler. I usually do a few for the church Christmas boutique. This will fit in perfectly. Thanks SueQ


30 Dianne October 8, 2007 at 2:22 am

What a great idea for a gift swap! I am in two quilt guilds, and always in the need for gift or bazaar item. Thanks so much for the inspiration….Dianne


31 Emily September 2, 2008 at 7:03 pm

I’ve started making some of these (as prizes for a swap I am running), and I have a question about there the tape measure comes out. I can’t really tell from the pictures what that is supposed to look like – I end up with a sort of pinch (or maybe a tuck – there is a triangle bit that sticks out). Is that right or am I missing something?


32 the6oclockstitch March 4, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Thank you so much for adding your tutorial to “Make & Tell Monday”. It was so nice meeting you. Feel free to jump right in every week!



33 Aunt LoLo March 5, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Love it! Now, I just have to buy me one of those tape measures. Mine is just rolled up in my drawer…and my toddler LOVES to unroll it. *sigh*


34 M January 12, 2010 at 6:48 pm

but… how does it roll back up


35 graciela February 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Hola , me encantó este tutorial muchas gracias, pasa mañana por mi blog y lo verás publicado porque ya lo estoy terminando , thanks again


36 cedaracrelady December 19, 2010 at 7:31 pm

I have been making these all year, as door prizes for the Kiss My Stitch, our local crochet guild. They are so fun!


37 Tammy July 28, 2011 at 9:07 am

LOVE this idea! Hope it is ok that I shared it with our readers on our blog today…with full credit to you! SOOO CUTE!


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