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A ruler that slips and slides on the fabric as you’re cutting is super frustrating to deal with as a quilter. It leads to inaccurate cuts and can even be dangerous if your fingers accidentally get in the way of your rotary cutter. Accuracy is key when quilting so it’s important to minimize the slippage of your rulers.
If you’re dealing with this problem, you’re not alone! It’s such a common problem among quilters that there are dozens of notions to help solve this issue. There are also several homemade solutions if you’re looking for a quick fix!
Take your cutting skills to the next level with these 5 tips on how to stop your quilt ruler from slipping.
1. Adjust Your Grip
While there are plenty of gadgets that can help you keep your ruler in place, the first thing you should try is adjusting your grip on the ruler. Holding your ruler in place is the quickest (and cheapest) way you can ensure your ruler won’t shift.
If you are holding your ruler with your palm, you may notice that it’s easy for the ruler to shift around. Instead of placing all of your fingers on top of the ruler, you want to use them to anchor the ruler down.
To do this, place your ruler on your quilt fabric. Place your hand on the ruler palm down with your fingers spread open. Hook your pinky finger over the outside edge of your ruler.
Your pinky finger will act as a guide to help your ruler stay in place. If you don’t feel like your pinky finger gives your ruler enough stability, you can use your ring finger, too!
2. Add Adhesive Grips
Another way to help your rulers stay in place is to attach grip tape to the back of them.
If your rulers are not non-slip, the surface of the back of your ruler will be smooth and slippery. We need to create some grip on the back so the ruler won’t slip off of the fabric.
One way to add some grip is to attach small pieces of clear first aid tape to the back of your ruler. Nexcare is a brand that is widely available at pharmacies and supermarkets. Make sure to grab the clear kind so you will be able to see the fabric through the ruler!
There are plenty of brands available and you can ask your local quilt store or browse your favorite online quilting retailer to see what they offer. I purchased mine through Fat Quarter Shop.
3. Use a Hand Weight
You may think hand weights don’t belong in your sewing room but you’d be surprised how helpful they can be! Grab a 5-8 pound hand weight and lay it on the far side of your ruler. This weight paired with a proper hand grip on your ruler will keep your cuts accurate and safe.
Of course, if you don’t have a hand weight available, any heavy object will work. Try a 32 oz can of food or a gallon of water to add some extra weight to your ruler.
My only suggestion is to make sure that your weight is clean before you set it on top of your cutting surface or ruler. You don’t want to accidentally soil your brand new fabric!
I love this method because it’s so simple yet super effective. Plus, it’s free!
4. Use a Ruler Handle
Ruler handles have suction cups on them that grip onto the top of your ruler.
This gadget is great if you have a hard time properly gripping your ruler with your hand. It’s super easy to hold onto and you can apply a good amount of pressure when using the handle.
I do suggest using this method with the grip tape for a little extra ruler stability.
You can find ruler handles at any craft store and I found this one at Fat Quarter Shop.
5. Purchase Non-Slip Rulers
While this is definitely the most expensive option, it may be worth it in the long run. Creative Grids rulers are a favorite among quilters because they have a non-slip backing. They have a huge selection of non-slip rulers and templates available and it’s definitely worth the investment if you’re able to make it.
I am slowly working on transitioning my old rulers to Creative Grids rulers because I love them so much! If you can only purchase a few at a time, I highly suggest the 6.5″ x 24.5″ ruler and the 6.5” square ruler. These are the two sizes that I use the most often.
With these tips, you’ll be able to ensure your ruler will stay in place to help give you the most accurate cuts possible.
Of course, the other component to accurate cuts is rotary cutting. If you’re having issues with your rotary cutter or you’re wondering why it won’t cut, check out my blog post on rotary cutter troubleshooting tips.