Monday, November 24, 2014

How To Make Acrylic Rulers for Quilting

This post could also be titled, "Where there's a will, there's a way."  Sometimes, it's just easier to do something yourself, and if you can save $$$ while you're at it, then there's more cash for stash, too!

When I found this lovely table runner video by Missouri Star; I knew it would be a perfect gift for someone special.   Christmas Tree Table Runner

I really wanted to make this runner.  I just didn't have the right ruler.  The ruler that is used is the Large Wedge Tool and it has a 45 degree angle at the apex of the triangle.  I could use my regular straight ruler with a 45 degree marking, of course, but I always seem to mess up the cut when I use my regular ruler.   

 I couldn't find the right ruler locally, and ordering one just wouldn't work for me.  For one thing, I hate to pay shipping charges, and for another, I'm just too impatient to wait for a package to come.  I wanted to start on this cute table runner NOW.

I happen to have a very handy Hubby.  (We'll call him HH.)  He and I come from a long line of do-it-yourselfers.  In fact, we were DIY-ing before there was even a term for it.  It's just what you did when you needed something done. 

We had a large piece of acrylic plastic (Optix brand) left over from some project about a decade ago.  I asked him to cut a ruler for me, and gave him a paper template.  He gave me 'the look' then he got a long metal straight-edge and a mat knife from the garage. 

Cutting the acrylic is not difficult.  Basically, you will score each side of the acrylic, then snap the piece off at the score line.  All it takes is patience, precision and arm strength.  I don't have any of those qualities, so I watched HH make the cuts!

Here are the steps:

1.  Using a ruler or your straight-edge, mark the line you want to cut with a fine point Sharpie.

2.  Set your straight edge on the marking, and hold the acrylic and the ruler FIRMLY.  You can use clamps to hold it if you need to.

3.  Score the line with a very sharp mat knife.  Score 5-10 times, pushing down firmly.

4.  Flip the acrylic over, and position your straight edge so you will be scoring directly over the line you already cut on the other side.  Score this side 5-10 times.

5.  Place the acrylic on a countertop or table, with the scored line about a half inch over the edge.  Push down on the overhanging piece of acrylic until it snaps off.

6.  Use sandpaper to smooth the edges so that there are no rough spots or ridges that might catch on your fingers or fabric.

This method will only work with straight cuts, and it's very difficult to cut a small piece off.  Also, if you accidentally miss your line while scoring, your acrylic may not break off cleanly.  We had a couple of mistakes, but these were solved by either re-doing a cut or sanding.  Your results may vary, of course, and make sure you use safety glasses and gloves.  Those edges are sharp!!