5 Minute Guide To Quilting Rulers

Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

In this quick and concise 5 minute guide, you'll learn all about quilting rulers. We're covering our favorite rulers, the best tools for safety and accuracy, supplies for adding guidelines to rulers, and ruler organization. Does that seem like a lot to learn in just 5 minutes? Trust us when we say all the information in our 5 minute guides is short, sweet, and educational!

When we launched our first 5 Minute Guide on Quilting Pins, we were blown away by the response! You loved this quick information format so much that we're planning to do a new guide every month until we run out of topics. Upcoming guides will focus on marking tools, pressing tools, and cutting tools among other topics. (If you have a suggestion, tell us in the comments!)

But today, it's all about quilting rulers! Do you have your timer handy? Ready...set...go!

Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

Pictured above is our favorite rotating cutting mat. We use it every chance we get!

You May Also Like...

Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

The Essential Quilting Ruler — 6″ x 24″

Whether you're about to make your first quilt or you've been quilting for decades, this ruler is the best one to have by your side. With a ruler this size, you'll be able to make most of the cuts you need to piece a quilt.

The 6″ width is easy to move and work with and accommodates most cut widths, and the 24″ length means that you'll be able to cut width of fabric (WOF) strips when your fabric is folded in half. And it's great for marking fabric! If you only buy one ruler, make it this one!

Our Favorite

This Omnigrid 6″ x 24″ ruler is durable, long-lasting, and non-slip. The ruler has a black grid outlined with a vibrant neon green, meaning that you'll be able to easily see the ruler's markings no matter what fabric you're cutting!

Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

The Essential Square Quilting Ruler — 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″

This might seem like a big ruler if you're new to quilting, but here's what makes this size great. If you need to square up a quilt block, like the Shine block shown above, you'll be able to do large blocks. If your finished block is a square that's smaller than 12 1/2″, you can trim two sides then flip your block around and trim the last two sides down. 

Our Favorite

The Omnigrid 12 1/2″ square ruler is excellent too! In addition to their neon green rulers (which are their non-slip rulers branded as Omnigrip by Omnigrid), Omnigrid also makes rulers with grid marks outlined in yellow, which provides the same ease in seeing your fabric regardless of what color you're cutting. 

Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

Wide Quilting Ruler — 8 1/2″ x 24″

Even though this ruler is only 2 1/2" wider than our essential 6" x 24" ruler, those 2 1/2" make a big difference in quilting. I reach for this ruler a lot when cutting large pieces or even multiple strips.

Our Favorite

If you find that 8 1/2" still isn't wide enough for many of your quilting needs, upgrade to an even larger ruler with this 12 1/2" x 24 1/2". It's a little cumbersome, but really nice for squaring up quilt tops. Also, it's called the "Big Easy" which makes me laugh.

Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

Small Square Quilting Ruler — 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″

Big rulers are versatile, but when you're cutting smaller pieces for a quilt, they can be much harder to handle. A good small ruler to add to your collection is a 6 1/2″ square, which you can use to cut small pieces of fabric very easily or even to square up small blocks. 

Our Favorite

This little ruler is the perfect companion for your smaller cuts! 

Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

Easy to Handle Long Ruler — 3″ x 18″

I love having a long but thin rectangular ruler in my collection. Sometimes I need to make a quick cut while I'm at my sewing machine or trim down some fabric I've pieced to a block, and having a long ruler that's super easy to handle is so helpful. I don't often use this ruler when I'm working my way through cutting instructions in a pattern.

But I use this ruler to trim fabric while piecing almost every time I make a quilt and found it particularly helpful when trimming improv shapes in my Shining Star and Shine quilts. This ruler is also my go-to for slicing 4-at-a-time HSTs (shown above) or 8-at-a-time HSTs before I use my HST trimming ruler. 

Our Favorite

I couldn't imagine my ruler collection without this thin rectangular ruler! But note that a 6″ x 24″ ruler can do everything this can do, so only grab this one if you want similar functionality but something that's easier to move around your cutting mat.

Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

Half Square Triangle Ruler

Many of our most popular patterns use half square triangles in the construction. And with good reason! The HST is one of the most versatile blocks in all of quilting. You'll find HSTs in Triangle Jitters, Summer Haze, Voyage, Gather, and other popular Suzy Quilts patterns. Having a half square triangle ruler in your collection will help you make dozens of HSTs accurately and easily!

Our Favorite

There are many options for HST rulers, including the popular Bloc Loc, but our favorite HST ruler is the Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmer. Why do we love this HST ruler? It allows you to cut a large variety of HSTs with just two rulers (we don't like having too many specialty rulers in our collection!) and it is designed for trimming your HST before pressing which helps speed up a tedious part of the quilting process. 

Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

Triangle Ruler

The only other specialty ruler you might want to make Suzy Quilts patterns is a 60-degree triangle ruler. Our Mod Mountains and Perennial patterns use this ruler, but both patterns also come with a template you can print. So only get the ruler if you prefer the feel of cutting against a hard ruler instead of using paper as a template!

Our Favorite

The Clearview Triangle 60-Degree Acrylic Ruler is our favorite, but if you would rather skip trimming dog ears, opt for a flat top ruler like this Creative Grids 60 Degree Triangle 8-1/2in Quilt Ruler or the 6 1/2" Fons & Porter one used by Sarah in the Perennial sew along.

flat top triangle ruler for quilting
Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

The Best Pain Relief and Safety Accessory for Quilting Rulers

Anyone who has ever cut themselves with a rotary cutter will tell you that safety when cutting is incredibly important! This *ahem* handy suction cup handle that can be used on most rulers is a great way to get your fingers out of harm's way while cutting!

And best of all, if you have hand or wrist pain, this ruler accessory can help relieve that by allowing you to focus on applying pressure to your ruler with the strongest parts of your arm instead of through your fingers or wrist. Adding a handle to your ruler also makes it much easier to move around, which can relieve hand pain!

Our Favorite

The clean and elegant look of this Dritz Omnigrid Double Suction Cup Ruler Grip makes it visually appealing, but it also has the best suction cups I've used so far (the suction cups on some similar products do not hold for even a few hours after applying the holder to the ruler) and it's the most affordable!

Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

Ruler Grips

Ruler grips are small stickers you can apply to the bottom of your ruler to prevent the ruler from moving while cutting. Because you are applying pressure to the side of your ruler while cutting with a rotary cutter, it can be easy for that ruler to slip.

This can lead to frustration when fabric is wasted because it's cut incorrectly, or even land you in the hospital if you cut yourself with the rotary cutter. While ruler grips won't make your cuts perfect every single time, they set you up for the best success possible!

Our Favorites

Suzy likes these sandpaper ruler grips by Dritz, and Laura prefers these TrueGrips clear grips. You could even try out applying Omnigrid InvisiGRIP to the entire back of your ruler!

Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

Best Quilting Ruler for Repeat Cuts

Do you need to cut approximately 52 million strips for your next quilt pattern? Picking up your ruler over and over and realigning it can be a huge hassle. This is particularly true if you are a quilter with chronic pain. Reducing the repetitive motion of moving and adjusting your ruler can make a big difference. Here's a tool to help!

Our Favorite

The Stripology ruler by Creative Grids is a fan favorite for a reason! It may be the biggest ruler on this list, which can be a problem for storage, but it has a loyal following. 

Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

Guiding Tape

If you don't like the sound of a band around your ruler, you can also make the process of aligning your ruler with your fabric easier with a simple piece of tape. Place some tape along the guideline of your ruler so you don't have to search for the guide every time you need to make a cut. 

We placed basic masking tape on our rulers to help trim blocks in the Holiday Party pattern.

Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

Our Favorite

Washi tape! This tape can be found at almost any store, comes in endless colors and fun prints, is easy to remove with no residue left on your ruler, and is affordable. I love using Rifle Paper Co. washi tape to add a little quilting flair to my ruler!

Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

Washi tape is usually thick, so you'll have to align the edge of the tape with your ruler's guideline. Omnigrid Glow Line Tape is also a great option if you want to add color but still see through the other grid lines under your tape.

Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

Diagonal Seam Tape

Skip the marking and add a ruler to your sewing machine! If you've ever felt like you're making about fifty million billion HSTs, skipping the marking step could be a huge time saver. This clever washi tape creates lines on your sewing machine that extend beyond your fabric so you can line up your blocks and keep the whole block lined up as you sew your seams. Take a look!

Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

Our Favorite

Diagonal Seam Tape from Cluck Cluck Sew is accurate and comes off easily, leaving no residue on either the plastic or metal parts of your sewing machine. 

Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

Tabletop Quilting Ruler Organizer

Now that you've decided which rulers you want, how do you organize them? Rulers are long and flat and oddly shaped — what a mess! Don't worry, we have some great organization ideas! I personally love organizing my rulers using a tabletop organizer. I keep the organizer right next to my large cutting mat which means I can easily and quickly grab any of my go-to rulers as I'm cutting. 

Our Favorite

This wooden quilt ruler stand is such a simple organizational solution! At almost 17″ long, it easily accommodates your longest rulers. And it has enough slots to hold almost every ruler included in this guide!

Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

Wall Quilting Ruler Organizer

If you have limited table space or just prefer to organize your rulers vertically on a wall (doesn't everyone have more space on their wall than any table used for quilting anyway?), we've got you covered! Quilting rulers typically come with a small hole towards the top so that they can be hung for storage and you can free up that valuable table space.

Our Favorite

Command 3M hooks! These wire hooks seemed like they would work best because the wire looked like it would fit inside a standard quilting ruler hole, so I tried them out myself. I was able to hang 3 rulers from this one hook! There is a risk that they could fall down, but these hooks hold up to 2 pounds, so you should be safe. Using these damage-free hooks means you don't need to make holes in your wall and you can customize your organization. Plus they're super affordable! 

Want to store ALL of your threads, cutters, rulers and notions in one place? Try a basic peg board from a hardware store and hooks! I prefer white because it blends with my white walls.

Store your thread and notions for quilting on a beg board
Learn about all the best quilting rulers, plus handy tools and accessories, in our 5 minute guide! #quilting #sewingdiy suzyqilts.com

What's Your Favorite Quilting Ruler?

Is your go-to ruler on our list? Or do you have a ruler or accessory you love that you want to tell us about? Let us know in the comments!

Our first 5 Minute Guide was so popular that we've decided to do one every month! Which topics do you want to see us cover in future guides? 

42 thoughts on “5 Minute Guide To Quilting Rulers

  1. Ashlan says:

    My go-to rulers are a 5×15 and a 2.5×8. They are great sizes for my hands and I find that I can make most cuts with them easily. I do love my stripology ruler for repeating cuts, and I have a 6×24 for those wof cuts. I love the 5 minute guide!

  2. Erin says:

    OMG! So helpful! I have been self teaching for around 2 years & to have all of this information in one spot and concise is priceless. I recently got the stripology & it’s a game changer. Just added the diagonal seam tape to my cart. THANK YOU! 🙂

    • Laura Hopper says:

      Oh I love to hear that! That’s the big idea behind doing the 5 minute guides — to be able to provide information all in one place that’s easy for beginners and advanced quilters to access. Glad you found something new to try in this guide!

  3. Cynthia says:

    Very nice and concise information and I must have been shopping with you at some point as my ruler collection is similar in size and function as well as the wooden ruler organizer. I really like the Quilters Select rulers. I find their markings easiest to see. I use a 3 lb (dumbbell) weight to secure the ruler to the fabric and table before cutting which relieves the extra pressure I have to apply in the cutting process as well as slipping especially at the bottom of a long cut. I also use a sharpie to make marks on my ruler for particular cuts. I use nail polish remover and it wipes away easily. I found lining up the washi tape (on the rulers) can be slightly off when applying long lengths to get it precisely on the measuring lines.

    • Laura Hopper says:

      Hahaha, it definitely seems like we went ruler shopping together! We love using a Sharpie to add marks to a ruler too, it’s an excellent tip! That weight tips is absolutely excellent.

  4. Kristy says:

    I cannot live without the Creative Grids Big Easy and Stripology XL rulers. They were the best notion investments I have made.

  5. Bailey says:

    Great guide! I love my O’Lipfa 5 x 24″ because it has a lip that lines up with the edge of my cutting mat. Other than that, I use my 4.5″ x 4.5″ square omnigrid the most. I tried the stripology and returned it, because it just didn’t work well for me. I recently ordered a pack of diamond (45′ and 60′) and a hexagon ruler, so I’m excited to try those out. I may try a suction holder next – I use grippers now and carefully move my hand up as I cut to hold the ruler in place.

    • Jayne Asplet says:

      Your guide made interesting reading. My 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ square and my 6 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rulers would be my go to/ most used. I have quite a few creative grids rulers and while they are good I find (for me anyway) that all the black markings on them can interfere with lining up some measurements which is why I am getting one or two clearer rulers, either omnigrid or olfa, I fear that I may have to invest in another peg board at this rate my current one is getting kinda full.

      • Laura Hopper says:

        Really glad to hear that you enjoyed this guide! Definitely try out using Command hooks if you only add a few rulers to your ruler stash 🙂

    • Laura Hopper says:

      The grip stickers are one of my very favorite tools! I also find that my suction cup grip helps me apply more even pressure to my ruler and I don’t have to move my hand up my ruler when I cut. It’s hands-down my favorite ruler accessory!

  6. Michelle says:

    Sew many to choose from!!!! Now I know what to use them for ! Somehow ,I have an Equilateral Triangle which I have never used, and don’t know what it is for.
    I love my 6 x24 ruler and my hand grip! Best purchase! Thank you for the washi tip!

  7. Katie K says:

    I have found my 8.5×8.5 is my go to little ruler. Your teaser about the rotating mat made me want to know more! Any chance you can do mats? Big ones, little ones, two sided with ironing board…

  8. Susie Monk says:

    I Love my Stripology XL. Then Krista Mosers 60 deg diamond ruler . My first ruler was a 6x 24 and is most used too. My wish list has a couple of Deb Tucker. Just which ones changes from week to week!

    • Laura Hopper says:

      It can be hard to choose a favorite! But I definitely think my 3″ x 18″ wins for me. I use it with every project!

  9. Doreen says:

    My favourite ruler marking tool is a WET erase marker (ie: Expo Vis-a-Vis marker). For repetitive cuts, I will put dashes along the measurement line I am cutting. For squaring up blocks, I put dashes along the horizontal and vertical measurements and an L in the corner to outline the trim size. I also put a circle or an X to mark the center of the block. Using a WET erase marker makes it quick and easy to line up my ruler. The marks don’t rub off and stay on the ruler until they are wiped off with a damp tissue (or licked finger, lol).

    I’ve been using this trick since seeing it done by Cindi Rang.

    P.S. DO NOT use a dry erase marker because it can rub off onto your fabric.

    • Carol says:

      I used to be a teacher so I love the vis a vis markers and still use them at home. I’ll be trying this tip to mark a ruler with them Thank you!

  10. violet_stitchery says:

    I constantly have a 1” x 12” ruler by my machine. It hangs on my pegboard instead of sitting on the shelf with my other rulers. I constantly use it for marking, measuring etc as I do a lot of no -quilting sewing too. It’s soooo handy!!

    • Laura Hopper says:

      Love that you keep your favorite ruler in a special spot! I keep my favorite (my 3″ x 18″) right next to my sewing machine at all times too!

  11. Marsha says:

    I think the rulers you mentioned are all excellent basics. In addition, I wouldn’t be without my Creative Grids 2 1/2″ x 36 1/2″ ruler. A hint I learned at a retreat some years ago is to use a hand weight to anchor a ruler at the far end of your cut. I now keep a 3# weight on my table as it’s a great aid in keeping a ruler in place as you cut.

  12. Tracey Filicietti says:

    Awesome article – Thank you!!
    My go to rulers are definitely my Stripology (I have all 3 sizes), the 6 1/2 x 24″ and the add a quarter for when I do Foundation Paper Piecing 🙂
    Looking forward to next months 5 minute guide 🙂

  13. Jodie says:

    My favorite 18×24 is made by Quilter’s Rule. The measurement lines are raised on one side of the transparent ruler. The lines keep the ruler from sliding as I cut all my WOF cuts. I’m constantly choosing it.

  14. Cathy MacDonald says:

    Thank you so much. I am a brand new quilter and found your article and the comments from readers so helpful. Thank you to everyone!

  15. Kathi Casey says:

    Love this guide. Now can you visually show how to use them. I am new at this & have trouble figuring out where I lineup ruler for squaring or making sure I lined up correctly.
    Love the visuals for the diagonal tape. I have received this in subscription boxes & didn’t know what to do with them. I will be looking for future 5-minute guides.

  16. Marilyn Burnett says:

    I have a wooden mobile phone stand which once I put a cover on my phone couldn’t be used but it’s great to put the 3 rulers I use in x

  17. Gigi says:

    Hi, thank you for this. I’ve been researching big square rulers and I’m between the 16.5” and 12.5”. Any particular reason you chose the 12.5 one?

    • Laura Hopper says:

      12.5″ is a relatively common size to trim blocks down to if necessary, like the Shine block shown in that section of the blog post, so it’s very helpful with that!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GET A FREE QUILT PATTERN INSTANTLY!

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get free tutorials, product reviews, sew along updates and more. Oh, and yes, a free quilt pattern!