If you thought 1 yard was equal to a meter, you’re not too far off.
1 yard, which is 3 feet or 36 inches, is the same as 0.9144 meters.
While these figures may help you solve mathematical problems in school, they won’t help you much in measuring things in the real world. That’s why it’s a good idea to use objects at your disposal to gauge measurements by eye.
So, if you’re interested in learning what 1 yard looks like, take a look at the 10 objects listed below.
3 5-Gallon Paint Buckets
As you can imagine, a 5-gallon paint bucket holds around 5 gallons of paint, which weighs close to 40 pounds. When cracking open a brand-new bucket of paint, make sure you mix it with a paint wacker or a long stick with a broad end. When unagitated, the ingredients in a bucket of paint can separate, which can affect the final appearance.
The exact dimensions of a paint bucket will vary from brand to brand. However, some buckets are exactly 12 inches tall, meaning that stacking 3 of them would get you exactly 36 inches or 1 yard.
3 License Plates
The dimensions of a license plate vastly differ from country to country. For instance, in Indonesia, car license plates measure 15.4 × 5.3 inches, whereas those in Switzerland are a mere 11.8 × 3.8 inches.
In the United States, as well as a handful of countries in Europe and the Persian Gulf, license plates are exactly 12 inches wide. To get to a yard long, you would have to imagine placing 3 car license plates side by side in a straight line.
A fat quarter is virtually a quarter-cut of a yard-long piece of fabric. You can use fat quarters to make anything from quilts, tablecloths, and even coin purses. The added benefit of purchasing fabric by the fat quarter is that you can get multiple motifs in a single transaction.
The dimensions of a fat quarter are dependent on how the fabric retailer cuts it. For instance, a fat quarter can measure 1 yard × 12 inches. Another common size is 18 × 22 inches—in which case, you would need 2 of them to get to exactly a yard long.
I can’t mention measuring 1 yard without bringing up the yardstick. A yardstick is exactly what it sounds like—a measuring tool that you use to measure a maximum of 1 yard, 3 feet, or 36 inches.
While yardsticks also come with markings that denote fractions of an inch, most people will stick to using standard 12-inch-long rulers for measuring short distances. The term “yardstick” may also be used to refer to a moral or philosophical standard.
The marketed length of a TV, computer monitor, or even a smartphone screen does not refer to the device’s physical dimensions. For instance, if you take a look at a 16:9 40-inch TV, you will find that it measures 28.2 × 15.7 inches, which is far off from the 40-inch distance from one corner of the screen to the opposite corner.
If you apply the same mathematics to a 16:9 42-inch monitor, you will get a length value of 36.60 inches. An ultrawide (21:9) 40-inch TV, on the other hand, would measure 36.76 inches from left to right.
3 Sheets of Letter Paper
In North America, offices, schools, and homes rely on letter paper for their printing needs. Letter-sized paper measures 8.5 × 11 inches. The dimensions are slightly different from A4 paper (8.3 × 11.7 inches), which is the more commonly used paper size in Europe and Asia.
If you have 3 sheets of letter paper on hand, placing them horizontally lengthwise will give you an overall length of 33 inches—just 3 inches shy of 1 yard. You can refer to my guide on 7 things that are 3 inches long to add the missing 3 inches to reach a full yard.
Pencils can come in all sorts of lengths, shapes, and even girths. There are also different types of pencils, including mechanical, charcoal, grease, and watercolor pencils. However, the standard No. 2 pencil, which we used in school to mark standardized test answer sheets, will measure 7.5 inches long when unsharpened.
So, taking aligning 5 of them end to end in a straight line will give you an overall length of 37.5 inches. That’s about the width of 2 pennies beyond 1 yard.
5 Dinner Forks
Here’s something many of you will most likely have on hand right now: dinner forks. Like every piece of silverware, the exact length of a dinner fork will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. The length range is typically 6 to 9 inches, but the average dinner fork from the bottom of the handle to the tip of the tines will measure 7 inches.
So, a total of 5 7-inch-long dinner forks would give you 35 inches or approximately the width of a hockey puck short of 1 yard.
3 PlayStation 3s
The PlayStation 3 is the third generation of the classic PlayStation video game console. It was released in 2006, and production of the console was ceased in 2017, with a total of 84.4 million units sold worldwide.
If you still have your original PS3 around, you can use it as a tool for measuring 1 foot. Technically, the PS3 measures 12.8 inches in length. So, 3 of them provide a total length of 38.4 inches.
2 Basketball Rims
Whether you play basketball professionally, as a hobby, or haven’t touched a basketball in decades, you’re probably familiar with what a basketball rim looks like. It’s a ring-shaped object that a basketball of any type goes through for a team to score a point.
According to the NBA, the standardized basketball rim should measure exactly 18 inches in diameter. So, placing 2 of them side by side will give you 36 inches, which is equal to 3 feet or 1 yard.