How to measure an inch without a ruler

Written by nicole byerly
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How to measure an inch without a ruler
An adult thumb is 1 inch in length from tip to the first knuckle. (girl with thumb image by Maciej Mamro from

There comes a time in every person's life when they need to measure a small object but they do not have a ruler to do so. By using your thumb, you are able to measure an inch at a time to determine the overall length of an object. Since nearly every person has hands, measuring with a thumb is a relatively simple job.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Thumb

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  1. 1

    Place the object that you intend to measure on a flat surface.

  2. 2

    Place the tip of your thumb at the edge of the object and measure back to the first knuckle. The 1-inch mark is established by the line on your palm side of the thumb.

  3. 3

    Hold the 1-inch mark with the tip of your index finger on the opposite hand and slide the tip of your thumb to the mark to continue measuring inch by inch.

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