How to use a tape measure correctly

Let me give you a very quick overview of how to use a tape measure correctly. This will then allow you to measure your bay window for a new custom made bay window curtain track with ease.

This article with short video guide is aimed at anyone who hasn't used a tape measure before. Or maybe not very often and isn't feeling very confident about it. 

How to use a tape measure correctly when measuring your bay

Step 1.  Only use full centimeters when measuring your bay to place your order. We don't use millimeters or inches on our order forms, or final measuring forms. We like to keep things as simple as possible. This saves any confusion when we start making up your new bay window curtain track.

When it comes to completing the final measuring form. You can use fractions of a centimeter. For example you can use 86.3cm, or 112.7cm. Only enter the numbers and not "cm", as I added just for clarity.  I know technically these fractions are millimeters. However, we don't want your overall sizes in millimeters. I don't know about you but I find it a lot easier reading cm's rather than mm's 😂

As the video shows you above. You will be using the smaller number on the bottom of tape measure. Not the larger numbers on the top as these are inches. 


Step 2.  As I advise in the above video having 2 people when measuring your bay is highly advisable. Doing this means you can hold each end of the tape measure exactly at the template measuring points. When you try to do this on your own. The free end is hard to keep in place on wider stretches.

Also, the tape measure starts to bow the wider you wind it out. This will slightly affect the final size. The other problem especially when measuring the full width of the bay. Also, the diagonal template points on big bays. Is that the tape measure has a habit of collapsing. just at the point you are trying to read the size. Very annoying 😢

So it the first person pulls out the end of the tape. Then places it at the first measuring point. Then the second person winds out the tape measure to the second measuring point. Then reads off the size between the measuring points. This way the tape stays straight.

All the measuring points are located using letters of the alphabet. These letters are found on your bay shape template on the final measuring form. This is located either from the button on the order confirmation page you are directed to after placing your order. Or via the link in the order confirmation email that you will have received as well.


Step 3. Enter each size into the box marked with the measuring points on the form. There are a few other things you will need to tick that help up understand. Such as where you took your sizes from. Also, how your curtains are going to hang. These things help us make sure the bay track you have ordered ordered. Will do what it needs to do. Then press the "Send us your details" button at the bottom of the form. You will get an email with all the form details. This way if you have second thought about anything. you can double check.


Step 4. While you are waiting a few days for your new bay track to arrive (you will get an email update with tracking details). You can watch the bay track fitting video for your chosen curtain track style. Then you will be ready to fit it in no time at all. 😊

If during the placing your order or measuring process. You have any questions then please feel free to get in touch.

Some more useful things to consider!

The mind is a funny thing and often it can trip you up. This goes double when you are dealing with numbers. These things below are a couple of the biggest things to throw a spanner in the works.

Transposing numbers:  You have just measured from point B to point D for example. You got a size of 87cm and then you write it down so you don't forget. However, real life kicks in and you momentarily get distracted. You then go back to writing the B to D size down as 78cm. 

Did you spot what just happened there??

Yep the dreaded transposing of the numbers. I'm sure some of you are thinking no way I would do something that silly. Well I've been using a tape measure daily for more than 30 years and it still occasionally happens to me.

So as talked about in the video and the above guide. Having 2 people to measure and the second person to check the first persons sizes. What we call this a sanity check 😂

Number confusion: Another big one is getting confused and mis-reading the numbers on the tape measure. As I talked about in the video. A biggie is measuring between 2 points and reading the tape measure as 101cm. When it was really 110cm. Or the opposite you read the tape as 110cm. when it really was 101cm. 

When it comes to how to use a tape measure correctly. Other common mis-read numbers are as follows.

102cm as 120cm, or 120cm as 102cm

201cm as 210cm or 210cm as 201cm

We have also seen 102cm instead of 202cm.

The great thing about measuring a bay window for a new curtain track

Having talked about all the mis reading and mis measuring issues. You may be thinking I feel too nervous to do the measuring myself.  Well the good news is measuring a bay has a great built in safety feature.

Believe it or not it's almost impossible for you to measure a bay window incorrectly. That is for you to measure incorrectly. Then us to use those sizes to make a bay window curtain track that won't then fit your bay correctly.

How is that you ask, well it's down to the fact that if you give us one or maybe (very occasionally) 2 wrong sizes. When we draw out your bay shape on the workbench. It very quickly becomes obvious something is not going right. We then can pretty quickly work out which size is not correct. 

We look at the shape on the workbench. Then compare it to the bay photo you sent with your order. We then know what the template shape should look like. This means we can get back to you and query that one strange looking size.

Very often we can see what the size should be. Such as when you have given us a size of 201cm. Then from all your other sizes. we can see it should have been 210cm. 

If we are still not 100% sure then we simply get in touch. We won't just blunder on regardless with your order. I hope this article on how to use a tape measure correctly. Has given you some useful tips and you are feeling confident enough to measure your own bay.

Take a look at all our custom made bay window curtain tracks here. You can use the simple calculator on each page to work out a price for one to fit your bay in no time at all.