Measuring tips for your DIY garden shed


Accurate measurement in any DIY garden shed project is essential. A 25-ft steel tape measure with a blade that is ¾” wide is most commonly used and is the type I recommend. Most tapes have a retractable blade so that the blade returns easily and it should have a locking device so that it will remain extended at the desired length. Its usually best to use a tape measure with a belt clip to keep it on you at all times.

When selecting a tape measure make sure it is easy to read the numbers. They are generally set at 1/16″ increments along the top of the tape and 1/32″ along the first six inches of the bottom of the tape.

For people that have difficulty reading measurements calculated with dash marks there are easy reader tapes made that feature a fractional readout. For the purpose of marking for studs most measuring tapes feature numbers that are marked or labelled every 16″. To ensure your measurement is as accurate as possible most good, high quality tape will have a two or three rivet hook to control the amount of play in the tape.

Now for accurate measuring for people with little experience, this next little nugget of information is a gem and should be one of your golden rules of measuring whenever you build a shed.

It is good practice when an extremely accurate measurement is needed to measure from the one inch mark (called burying an inch) on the tape. The reason for measuring from the one inch mark rather than using the hook is that the hook might be loose and there will be a certain amount of play. It is crucial to remember to subtract an inch from your reading. Use a sharp pencil to mark the wood at the point you want to cut, and take your time here – accuracy is everything!

Once your DIY Shed is finished, if you are not accurate there will be gaps in the joins. If this is the case, gather some sawdust and mix with PVA glue to fill them in to give your outdoor shed a better finish. You go through a lot of effort so it is well worth it when the end result is neat and tidy.

Try to use only one tape measure when working on a project. If more than one tape measure is needed make sure they record the same measurement. One tape measure can measure differently than another and a slight difference in the end hooks can equate to a difference of 1/16″ or more even when they are the same brand and style.

A neat way to make straight horizontal cuts in wall board is to lock your tape measure at the desired width.

Position a utility knife blade under the tape hook and then hold the tape body in one hand and the tape hook and knife in the other hand and run the blade along the wallboard. This method works every time.

Shed building is not an art, but ending up with the neat and tidy finish takes a little more control and patience and is hugely satisfying when the shed is finished. I am not kidding here, the last thing you want is for your completed DIY garden shed to look different from your original shed design.

So in summary, regardless if you are building a tree house, a garage shed, a bike storage shed or a large grand corner shed – Accurate patient measurements are king!! It is vitally important to your finished article.

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