On my first trip to Nashville many years ago, I picked up a few unusual trinkets as souvenirs. My Lynn Anderson pill box fell apart long ago but my City of Nashville keychain tape measure is still going strong. You wouldn’t believe how many times that little thing has come in handy while I’m shopping.
But the skinny 60-cm tape measure has its limitations, especially at home. And there are times when a standard metal tape measure can’t do the job, especially when I’m alone and trying to get the length of something that doesn’t have a lip on it to grab the other end.
Enter a new Canadian-born product called Measure It! Invented by a London builder and inventor who saw first-hand how difficult it was to get an accurate measurement while working alone.
The tape feels like a smooth, thick masking tape and works in the same way, coming off the roll without a backing. It’s marked off with repeating intervals of imperial measurements, with metric coming out in early 2015. And unlike regular tape it won’t stretch, so the readings are accurate.
It can also be repositioned as you follow Dad’s old adage to measure twice and cut once. It has just the right amount of tack to stick flat on the wall but it also comes off easily. The tape has centre hole-marks for drilling and indications every 16 inches for locating studs in walls. You can even write on it.
Eyeballing a room is no match for an accurate calculation showing whether or not your furniture will fit. Measure It! has been featured on CityLine three times, including a demonstration of how it’s used for an entire room’s furniture layout. Rob Botten, president of Bronto Marketing Group Inc., hears from customers who are hooked on the practicality of it, for reasons that even he couldn’t have predicted.
“A model boat builder in Halifax told us he uses it for building his 16th Century ships. We had an inquiry from a maker of rocket ships to develop a custom product for them. A police officer sent us a message asking when the metric version will be available. He wants to measure and take pictures at crime scenes and the dents in peoples cars from where someone has been hit.”
I’ve found a bunch of uses for it myself. I’ve taped off a pattern to paint on a table top, used it on a wall where I put up a perfectly spaced photo gallery and on fabric while making curtains. It came in very handy in my master bath when I installed a large frame around a small medicine cabinet.
I painted the space between the frame and the cabinet the colour of the frame to give the illusion of a much bigger, fancier cabinet. There was no way I could have held the heavy frame and a measuring tape at the same time and gotten accurate measurements. I also keep a foot of it taped to the top of my desk for those moments when I wonder how long something is, which happens more often than you might think.
Measure It! is now available in hardware and some paint stores across this country and in most of the United States, with plans to ship overseas in the coming months. A roll has lasted me through several projects but it’s almost time for a refill. Visit www.measureittape.com