Tips and Tools Tuesday – A Cure for Slipping Rulers

With your rotary cutter in one hand and a quilt ruler in just the right position on your fabric in the other, have you ever been right in the middle of a cut when your ruler shifted?

I just heard a collective, commiserating groan! So, either you are a seasoned quilter who has had that happen, or, you are a beginner who has never rotary cut fabric, but you can imagine how you would feel if that had happened to you.

It’s irritating enough if that happens when you are cutting fabrics to be sub-cut and sewn into units, but, what about when you are trimming a pieced unit to be sewn into a block and that ruler slips? Or, trimming a block? Not only, UGH! But, probably some %$#&%@#$&!!!!!!!! as well.

Been there. Just saying. :/

Years ago, I applied some “sticky” dots to the back of my 6″ x 24″ acrylic ruler. They were designed to be put on the backs of rulers to help keep the ruler in place while cutting.

Did they work?

Well, yes, and no.

They reminded me of the clear, rubbery dots that you can purchase to put on the backs of picture frames to protect walls, or inside kitchen cabinet doors to cushion them so they won’t make such a racket when you close them.

They certainly held the ruler in place on the fabric, but, because they were rather thick, only the fabric under the dots were held in place. The fabric between the dots now shifted as the rotary cutter moved across the ruler because the ruler wasn’t touching the fabric! UGH!, again!

I peeled those stupid things off! However, the double-sided tape which held them on, remained on the back of my ruler! I tried scraping them off, but the sticky tape just left a gummy residue. That stuff actually held the ruler and fabric in place pretty well! Haha! But, it eventually lost it’s stick-ability, and I was back to a slipping ruler. GRRRR!

Last weekend, I was browsing through the notions rack at a wonderful little quilt shop in Huntsville called, Patches and Stitches. Hanging among the treasure trove of quilting goodies, was a little packet with the words, “True Grips” on it.

The picture on the front makes the product inside appear to be white circles with a hole punched out of the middle. I know I’m going to age myself here, but it reminded me of those little white rings that we used have to wet to activate the glue and then put it on one of the torn holes of our piece of notebook paper so that it would stay in our three-ring report binder. Yeah, buddy, I’m old. Hahaha! Well, when I got home, I opened the package, and to my surprise there was a thin, clear sheet with 3/4″ doughnut-shaped circles punched in it. And, tiny center circles.

I placed 6 of the larger circles on the back of my 6″ x 12″ rotary cutting ruler and placed it on some fabric. The moment of truth had arrived!

Would they hold the fabric in place? Would they hold the ruler too far above the fabric to grip it properly, therefor letting the fabric shift underneath?

Oh, happy day! The fabric did not shift! I was able to make a perfect cut because the ruler stayed exactly where I had placed it! Happy day! Happy day!

The package of TrueGrips cost $5.95. Which I though was a bit pricey for grippy dots. I was gun-shy after the first encounter with grip-type dots, so I almost didn’t buy them. But, after using them, I am so glad I did.

I placed the “doughnut hole” dots on the back of a Quick Quarter ruler that I use for marking. I placed one dot at each intersection along the ruler.

Now, when marking lines, this little ruler, too, stays right where I place it!

If you notice, on the sheet of grippy film, there is a lot of film left between the punched out dots. It’s the same sticky-backed, grippy material as the circles, just a different shape. I plan to cut that apart and place those square-ish shapes on more of my rulers. And, any remaining “doughnut-hole” dots can be clustered together on rulers larger than the Quick Quarter, as well. Nothing needs to go to waste. That $5.95 price just keeps getting more and more reasonable!

If you have any slipping issues while rotary cutting, consider giving TrueGrips, or some other product like them, a try.

Today is a good day to NOT cut something wrong. A ruler that stays in place will help with that!

If you have these dots or a product like this that has helped you, leave a comment telling of your experience with them. Sharing information helps us all!

Have a great day!


P.S. Check out the Lookout Mountain Quilter group page on Facebook. Join the fun and share what you’re working on. You never know who you may inspire!

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