Because so many activities and projects depend on precise measurements, a good measuring tape is an essential item for any toolkit, sewing box, or sports bag. Not all measuring tapes are alike, however, so it’s also important to make sure the measuring tape is suited to the work at hand.

A measuring tape is a handy tool that allows you to measure the length, width, height, or circumference of various objects or spaces. Whether you are working on a DIY project, sewing, carpentry, or just curious about the size of something, knowing how to read a measuring tape correctly can save you time and hassle.

There are different types of measuring tapes available on the market, each with its own features and advantages. Some of the most common ones are:

**Standard measuring tape**: This is the most widely used type of measuring tape, which has markings in inches and fractions of an inch. It usually comes in lengths of 6 feet, 12 feet, 25 feet, or more. It is flexible and retractable, making it easy to store and carry around.**Metric measuring tape**: This type of measuring tape has markings in centimeters and millimeters. It is more common in countries that use the metric system, such as most of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It usually comes in lengths of 2 meters, 5 meters, 10 meters, or more. It is also flexible and retractable, making it easy to store and carry around.**Specialty measuring tape**: This type of measuring tape is designed for specific purposes or professions, such as sewing, tailoring, bodybuilding, surveying, etc. It may have markings in different units or scales, such as inches, centimeters, feet, meters, yards, etc. It may also have different shapes or features, such as curved, flat, rigid, flexible, etc.

In this article, we will show you how to read a standard measuring tape, a metric measuring tape, and a specialty measuring tape. By the end of this article, you will be able to measure anything with confidence and accuracy.

## How to read a standard measuring tape

A standard measuring tape is divided into inches and fractions of an inch. Each inch is further divided into halves (1/2), quarters (1/4), eighths (1/8), sixteenths (1/16), thirty-seconds (1/32), and sixty-fourths (1/64). The larger the fraction, the smaller the division.

To read a standard measuring tape, you need to follow these steps:

- Locate the zero mark on the end of the tape. This is where you start your measurement.
- Align the zero mark with one end of the object or space you want to measure.
- Stretch the tape along the length of the object or space until you reach the other end.
- Read the number on the tape that corresponds to the other end of the object or space. This is your measurement in inches.
- If the other end falls between two numbers on the tape, you need to read the fraction that corresponds to the closest mark on the tape. This is your measurement in fractions of an inch.

For example, if you want to measure the length of a pencil that is 7 3/8 inches long, you would do this:

- Align the zero mark with one end of the pencil.
- Stretch the tape along the length of the pencil until you reach the other end.
- Read the number on the tape that corresponds to the other end of the pencil. In this case, it is 7.
- Read the fraction on the tape that corresponds to the closest mark on the tape. In this case, it is 3/8.
- Your measurement is 7 3/8 inches.

Here are some tips and tricks for reading a standard measuring tape accurately and easily:

- To convert fractions of an inch to decimals, you can divide the numerator by the denominator. For example, 3/8 = 0.375, 5/16 = 0.3125, etc.
- To convert decimals to fractions of an inch, you can multiply the decimal by 16 and round to the nearest whole number. For example, 0.375 x 16 = 6, which is equivalent to 6/16 or 3/8, 0.3125 x 16 = 5, which is equivalent to 5/16, etc.
- To add or subtract measurements in inches and fractions of an inch, you can convert them to decimals first, then perform the calculation, and then convert them back to fractions if needed. For example, if you want to add 7 3/8 inches and 4 1/4 inches, you would do this:
- Convert 7 3/8 to decimal: 7 + (3/8) = 7 + 0.375 = 7.375
- Convert 4 1/4 to decimal: 4 + (1/4) = 4 + 0.25 = 4.25
- Add the decimals: 7.375 + 4.25 = 11.625
- Convert back to fraction: 11 + (0.625 x 16) = 11 + 10 = 11 10/16 or 11 5/8

- To measure curved or irregular objects or spaces, you can use a flexible measuring tape that can bend and conform to the shape of the object or space. Alternatively, you can use a string or a piece of paper to wrap around the object or space, then measure the length of the string or paper with a standard measuring tape.

## How to read a metric measuring tape

A metric measuring tape is divided into centimeters and millimeters. Each centimeter is further divided into ten millimeters. The larger the number, the larger the division.

To read a metric measuring tape, you need to follow these steps:

- Locate the zero mark on the end of the tape. This is where you start your measurement.
- Align the zero mark with one end of the object or space you want to measure.
- Stretch the tape along the length of the object or space until you reach the other end.
- Read the number on the tape that corresponds to the other end of the object or space. This is your measurement in centimeters.
- If the other end falls between two numbers on the tape, you need to read the number of millimeters that corresponds to the closest mark on the tape. This is your measurement in millimeters.

For example, if you want to measure the length of a pen that is 14.7 centimeters long, you would do this:

- Align the zero mark with one end of the pen.
- Stretch the tape along the length of the pen until you reach the other end.
- Read the number on the tape that corresponds to the other end of the pen. In this case, it is 14.
- Read the number of millimeters on the tape that corresponds to the closest mark on the tape. In this case, it is 7.
- Your measurement is 14.7 centimeters.

Here are some tips and tricks for reading a metric measuring tape accurately and easily:

- To convert centimeters to millimeters, you can multiply by ten. For example, 14 cm x 10 = 140 mm.
- To convert millimeters to centimeters, you can divide by ten. For example, 140 mm /10 =14 cm.
- To add or subtract measurements in centimeters and millimeters, you can either convert them to millimeters first, then perform the calculation, or perform the calculation separately for centimeters and millimeters, and then combine them. For example, if you want to add 14.7 cm and 12.3 cm, you would do this:
- Convert both measurements to millimeters: -14.7 cm x10=147 mm -12.3 cm x10=123 mm
- Add them together: -147 mm+123 mm=270 mm
- Convert back to centimeters: -270 mm /10=27 cm

- Add centimeters together: -14 cm+12 cm=26 cm
- Add millimeters together: -7 mm+3 mm=10 mm
- Combine them: -26 cm+10 mm=26.1 cm

- To measure curved or irregular objects or spaces, you can use a flexible measuring tape that can bend and conform to the shape of the object or space. Alternatively, you can use a string or a piece of paper to wrap around the object or space, then measure the length of the string or paper with a metric measuring tape.

## How to read a specialty measuring tape

A specialty measuring tape is designed for specific purposes or professions, such as sewing, tailoring, bodybuilding, surveying, etc. It may have markings in different units or scales, such as inches, centimeters, feet, meters, yards, etc. It may also have different shapes or features, such as curved, flat, rigid, flexible, etc.

To read a specialty measuring tape, you need to follow these steps:

- Locate the zero mark on the end of the tape. This is where you start your measurement.
- Align the zero mark with one end of the object or space you want to measure.
- Stretch the tape along the length of the object or space until you reach the other end.
- Read the number on the tape that corresponds to the other end of the object or space. This is your measurement in the unit or scale that is indicated on the tape.
- If the other end falls between two numbers on the tape, you need to read the fraction or decimal that corresponds to the closest mark on the tape. This is your measurement in the unit or scale that is indicated on the tape.

For example, if you want to measure your waist circumference with a sewing measuring tape that has markings in inches and centimeters, you would do this:

- Align the zero mark with your navel.
- Wrap the tape around your waist until it meets the zero mark again.
- Read the number on the tape that corresponds to where it meets the zero mark. In this case, it is 32 inches or 81 centimeters.
- Your measurement is 32 inches or 81 centimeters.

Here are some tips and tricks for reading a specialty measuring tape accurately and easily:

- To convert measurements from one unit or scale to another, you can use a conversion factor or a conversion calculator. For example, to convert inches to centimeters, you can multiply by 2.54. To convert feet to meters, you can multiply by 0.3048. To convert yards to meters, you can multiply by 0.9144. To convert miles to kilometers, you can multiply by 1.6093. Alternatively, you can use an online conversion calculator such as [this one].
- To measure body parts such as the chest, waist, hips, arms, legs, etc., you can use a body measuring tape that is flexible and curved. You can also use a standard measuring tape or a string or a piece of paper and then measure it with a standard measuring tape.
- To measure distances such as height, length, width, depth, etc., you can use a surveying measuring tape that is rigid and flat. You can also use a standard measuring tape a ruler or a yardstick.

## Conclusion

In this article, we have shown you how to read a measuring tape in different ways. We have explained how to read a standard measuring tape that has markings in inches and fractions of an inch. We have also explained how to read a metric measuring tape that has markings in centimeters and millimeters. Finally, we have explained how to read a specialty measuring tape that has markings in different units or scales for specific purposes or professions.

We hope that this article has helped you learn how to read a measuring tape correctly and confidently. Measuring tapes are useful tools that can help you measure various objects or spaces with ease and accuracy. Whether you are working on a DIY project, sewing, carpentry, or just curious about the size of something, knowing how to read a measuring tape can save you time and hassle.