Acrylic rulers are used for rotary cutting. They come in many sizes and shapes. Probably the most popular size for beginners is the 6 inches x 12 inches ( or 6 1/2 x 12 1/2). When purchasing a rotary ruler, make sure the grid is correct. Use other rulers to check its accuracy. Most of the major brands (Omnigrid, Fiskars) are OK.
In the photo below there are 3 rulers. The 3 inch by 18 inch acrylic ruler (bottom) is nice for cutting long strips of fabric. The 6 inch by 6 inch acrylic ruler (top right) works well for cutting out small squares and rectangles. The 6 inch by 12 inch acrylic ruler (top left) is used for cutting both.
If you look closely, you may notice the different grid patterns on the rulers. Some people prefer every 1/8 inch marked while others prefer minimal markings. The color of the markings is also a decision based on the quilter’s preferences.
Learn about different acrylic rulers in this short video.
NOTE: to enlarge the video, click the PLAY button, then click the full-screen icon at the bottom right of the video.
TRANSCRIPT: Acrylic Ruler – Encyclopedia
As you can see, there are many different types of acrylic rulers available on the market. Each one of these are rulers will cut your fabric using a rotary cutter and a rotary mat. However some of these rulers are made to do certain jobs better than others. For example, these small square rulers I like to use when I’m cutting out small pieces of fabric like rectangles and triangles. These long skinny rulers- they’re about 3” by 18”- I like to use when I’m cutting out strips of fabric. You’ll also notice that while both of these are the exact same size ruler, they are marked differently.
This one had little black thin lines at ever 1/8 of an inch. And this one, while the 1/8’s are marked on here does not have all these thin lines. It’s a matter of preference which one of these you like better.
For example, I prefer these thin lines because it makes it easier for me to figure where I’m at and to cut accurately. Many of my friends find these tiny lines very confusing and they prefer a ruler that looks like this. For them, this is easier to use.
Aside from size, you need to look at the way the rulers are marked. So we have 2 square rulers here. I lie to use these square rulers when I’m cutting out larger squares or when I’m “squaring up” some of the quilt blocks.
There’s also specialty rulers available. This is a hexagon and as you can see different sized hexagons are marked on this ruler that help you rotary cut these out; these shapes out.
On this diamond, the same thing. It cuts out a large diamond but other sizes of diamonds are marked on here so you don’t have to figure this out in your head when you’re trying to cut these out for you’re quilt.
I also have a triangle ruler and I have got tape on it as you can see. This triangle helps you; once again, cut out triangular shapes with out having to figure out what size you need.
But I have the tape because I’ve made sort of a jig out of this. I’ve made it so I can cut out these trapezoid shapes for my quilt. So any of these acrylic rulers that you have you don’t have to use than specifically for the shape that they’re in. You can use them for other things.
So what ruler do I recommend for beginners? I recommend a 6 by 12.
The 6 by 12 is a great ruler because it’s easy to handle. It’s easy to get used to.
You can cut out small shapes with it. It’s not too big to maneuver.
You can also cut out long strips with this.