Tim Holtz Design Ruler

Reported by Susan Reidy
I hate measuring. In fact, in 12 plus years of scrapbooking/papercrafting I’ve never had a real ruler among my tools. But as my crafting started getting more complicated, and I was using my craft knife more, I decided it was time to buy a ruler. But it had to be cool. So naturally, I chose the Tim Holtz Design Ruler, because anything by Tim is cool, right? Right.
Aside from Tim’s name, what sold me on this ruler were the holes for punching. The more I used, the more useful I found it to be for more than just the dreaded measuring.

The clear acrylic ruler is 12 inches in length and has a grid printed on the surface. One side has is numbered 0 through 12. It has metal edge, making it perfect for use with a craft knife.

The other side has a tapered edge, which makes it easier to draw lines. That side is a centering ruler with a zero in the middle and numbering from 1 to 5 on each side of the zero. That same side includes the piercing holes, which are spaced 1/8th of an inch apart.

Check out this video where Tim talks about the ruler.

Let me share my experience. First up I did some old fashioned measuring and cutting. The metal edge worked great, and thanks to the grid printed on the ruler, I made a straight cut. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time lining up rulers so they’re straight. And no matter how straight your ruler is, if it’s lined up crooked, your cut will be too. I used the grid to make sure I was level from the top to the bottom of my paper.


Next up, I did some piercing.



Now, I don’t have the Tonic tool Tim used in his video. I have the piercer from Stampin’ Up. I found it was a little thick for the holes. While it did go through, it didn’t go very far, and it would stick slightly in the holes. Pulling it out, coupled with the slickness of the ruler, caused it to shimmy a little.

You can see how the bottom row of my piercing goes a little crooked. Still, I really like this feature of the ruler. It can be so hard to get holes evenly spaced; the ruler is a great help. Plus, you can skip holes to put your piercing as close or as far apart as you want.

The ruler also made it super simple to line up two rows of pierced holes next to each other to do some stitching, like on the left side of my card.

Next up, I decided to try the centering part of the ruler. You use the grid to line up the zero in the middle of your paper. Then you can precisely space embellishments, doodlings, journaling boxes, etc.

I decided to give it a try for spacing my bling. It was super simple to find the center and adhere my gems in an orderly fashion.

Here’s my simple finished card.

Overall, I’m glad I chose the Tim Holtz Design Ruler as my first ruler purchase. Even better, since it’s so multi-functional, I’m pretty sure it will be the only ruler that I will buy.

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $6.99. It is available at major craft retailers and online.

  • It looks cool.
  • Multi-functional with a metal edge for cutting, a tapered edge for drawing, holes for paper piercing and a centering ruler for precise placement.
  • It’s see-through, so you can see what you’re doing. Plus it has a handy printed grid to ensure you line it up straight.


  • The piercing holes where a little small for my piercer, which meant my ruler shifted a little when I wiggled it out of the holes.
  • It’s a little slippery, so hold on tight when using it for cutting with a craft knife.

Have you tried the Tim Holtz Design Ruler? What do you think? Leave us a comment and let us know!


20 Responses to Tim Holtz Design Ruler

  1. Avatar
    Melanie October 14, 2010 at 7:36 am #

    I love mine … one of the best investments I have ever made. The only complaint I have it I can’t use the metal side for cutting … for some reason I end up cutting crooked … I do not know why! But I use the tapered end for cutting. I do wish he made them longer too … maybe 18 inches?

  2. Avatar
    Patchi October 14, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    I really like this ruler, primarily because it is see-through. I bought it for the piercing holes, but I mainly use it for centering. It slips a bit, so alternate using it and I use my magnetic ruler for cutting with a craft knife – the latter is not so easy to align though.

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    Elaine A October 14, 2010 at 8:40 am #

    I love Tim’s ruler. A great product for under $10. I use it all the time for cutting with a craft knife, perfect. I don’t have any problems with it shifting. I love that it is clear and I love the grid marks, both of which make lining up for cutting super easy.

    Elaine Allen

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    Sandy O October 14, 2010 at 9:51 am #

    I bought one of these a while ago and the metal part fell off almost right away. I would not purchase another.

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    Tamikko October 14, 2010 at 10:21 am #

    I love mine! Love all the things you mentioned. I also use a quilting ruler when I need a wider base, but I really don’t ever need another. It does the job for all the measuring I need.
    It’s one of those things that you knew you needed because embellishments and measurements were off on many occasions but I never knew it existed until I saw one of his video’s and had to get it. Of course I never want to go without ever again. 🙂

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    Kim October 14, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    I love mine too!! I love that it’s versitle, has the metal edge for cutting and is sturdy.

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    amy dame October 14, 2010 at 11:32 am #

    i use my quilting rulers for pretty much everything (because i use a rotary cutter for cutting paper), but this ruler sounds like it would be an awesome item to have! for quilting, a lot of people suggest punching dots out of very very fine sandpaper and adhering them to the bottom of your ruler. it’ll grip the fabric slightly to keep it from shifting, but it won’t damage it. i think it would work just as well for paper.

    re: the metal part breaking off immediately, i’d return it. i got a “lemon” big punch crop-o-dile and returned it, and had no problems, so i’d hate to think that it sucked just because i had bad luck, ya know?

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    SuZeQ October 14, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    Haven’t tried it yet (gasp! since I have all of his other products) but I’m itchin’ to!

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    Tina October 14, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    I have mine for some time now and love that it is clear and has these grid lines all over. It´s always in use and I mainly need it for measuring and centering, not cutting. Piercing works fine, but you have to get it under good control. But that works fine after a little practicing.
    The only thing I don´t like is the fact, that on one end the lines fade away. I don´t now why but I use it a lot every day and it is not a big problem to me if it will not get worse.

    Hugs from Germany, Tina

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    MelissaS October 14, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    I love my ruler! I use it all the time. Of the 4 rulers in my pencil holder, this is the one I grab more times than not. The centering measurements are the most used on mine!

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    Karla Anderson October 14, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    I can NOT craft with out it. If I can not find it(due to me using it for everything around the house) I do not start crafting til its on my craftdesk. I should just buy a couple more to keep in the kitchen and in the toolbox. Yes it IS that great.

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    Jan Castle October 14, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    Great ruler…especially the centering feature. Tim, are you listening….how about the same ruler with some non-slip pads on the back!!!!!would be a great help!
    Jan Castle

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    Tona October 14, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    I’ve had this ruler for a couple of years & love it.

  14. Avatar
    Jen October 14, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

    I bought this ruler earlier this year. Overall I’m glad I did, but I still find I need a completely metal ruler for cutting most of the time.
    My other issues are:
    – I need metric!
    – the grid/numbers scratch off the ruler in a way that doesn’t happen from metal rulers
    – more slippery than a metal ruler
    but I do like the features that you mentioned on Tim’s ruler, so I’m happy to have both.

  15. Avatar
    Amy K October 14, 2010 at 5:59 pm #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Avatar
    Trina Leeson October 14, 2010 at 6:50 pm #

    LOVE LOVE LOVE my ruler and highly recommend it to everyone I know 🙂

  17. Avatar
    Dawn October 14, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

    I absolutely love my design ruler. I use a rotary cutter for many items and the metal on this ruler is perfect. I can also use it to set up lines for journaling. In regards to the slipperiness, I have found that if I put pressure on the center of the ruler rather than the opposite edge it stays in place nicely.

  18. Avatar
    Amy K October 15, 2010 at 4:12 am #

    I bought my ruler based on a recommendation from another scrapbooker, and have not been disappointed. Love mine! It has replaced the two rulers I used to use (one for measuring & a centering one).
    I also read on Christie’s blog an AMAZING tip on using the design ruler on your Cricut cutting mat. She also includes a video. Head over and check it out…

  19. Avatar
    Anne October 15, 2010 at 9:36 am #

    I used my ruler all the time but it got gummy from glue, adhesives, etc., so I cleaned it w/Un-du and most of my lines rubbed off also. Wish that they lines/markings were more permanent.

  20. Avatar
    My life N My books July 10, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    I bought my ruler about a year ago but did not use it until recently. I am new at card/stamping and decided to basic supplies as I go. Anyways I just noticed that my Tim Holtz ruler leaves markings/stains on my white cardstock. At first I thought it was my mat, work area, stamps/ink, and I could not figure out why I had to end up cover the stains on my cards with other paper until…I decided to make a complete white card and indeed it was the ruler. I looked everywhere online for same problem and none so far. Yes I cleaned it examined it in case something what stuck and nope nothing so far other than the ruler and the black rubbing off on my paper. I am very disappointed since I really love the ruler. 🙁