How Big Is 12 Inches?

When you don’t have access to a ruler or measuring tape, it can be hard to gauge how big a certain distance is.

While you might need to measure the size of something for a DIY project, not all methods of measurements will show the entirety of the metric system. 

If you don’t have a way to discover the length of 12 inches, you can use a ruler or measuring tape to measure out the same length in centimeters.

12 inches in the same as 30.48 centimeters, which is the equivalent of half a meter or a foot in length. 

If you’re still wondering “how big is 12 inches?” (see also ‘How Big Is 3 Inches?‘), you’ve come to the right place.

Here’s everything you need to know about the length of 12 inches, including some objects that are 12 inches long. 

How Big Is 12 Inches?

Let’s get into it. 

12 inches is the equivalent of 30.48 centimeters. It is also the equivalent of roughly a foot, half a meter, and 0.33 yards.

If you have access to a regular ruler, then this will be the exact length of 12 inches – which is very handy for making quick measurements during a DIY project!

Alternatively, if you have a shorter 6-inch ruler, then you’ll just need to double the length of this ruler to make 12 inches.

Both rulers should show the length in both centimeters and inches on one side of the ruler to make it easier for measuring. 

Common Things That Are 12 Inches Long

Common Things That Are 12 Inches Long

If you don’t have access to a ruler or measuring tape, then you might be able to use a common object in your home that is 12 inches long.

This is also handy for getting a visual idea of how long 12 inches is if you’re not needing to necessarily know the exact measurement. 

Here are some common things that are 12 inches long! 

Paper Clips

Paper clips are 1 inch long, so if you attach 12 paper clips to one another in a line, this will amount to 12 inches!

Everyone has a bunch of paper clips lying around in their home, so this is a quick and easy way to measure 12 inches without a ruler or tape measure. 

2-Liter Soda Bottle

2 liters is the most standard size for a family-sized soda bottle. The reason for this is that the bottle can easily fit on the shelves in grocery stores as well as refrigerator doors. 

Did you know that a 2-liter soda bottle is the equivalent of 1 foot in height, and therefore is the length of 12 inches?

If you’ve got a 2-liter bottle of soda lingering in your kitchen, you can use this to measure 12 inches. This is a good way to visualize 12 inches, too. 

Zip Ties

Also referred to as cable ties, zip ties are long pieces of sturdy plastic that are used for tying objects together – most commonly cables and wires – to keep things more manageable in one place.

They’re also used for holding together luggage, attaching plants to an outdoor trellis, and are super useful for keeping objects together while moving house. 

Guess what – while zip ties can come in a range of lengths, the most standard length for a zip tie is 12 inches!

So, if you’ve got a random pack of zip ties hiding in the house, you can use this as a frame of reference to measure 12 inches. 

Foot-Long Sub

As mentioned before, 12 inches is the equivalent of 1 foot in length.

So, if you’re a fan of sub sandwiches, you’ll be happy to know that you can imagine a foot-long sub to measure the length of 12 inches.

(Alternatively, we recommend buying a foot-long sub purely for measuring purposes.)

Two Ballpoint Pens

Every household has at least one ballpoint pen lingering around somewhere.

In the majority of cases, the average ballpoint pen is about 6 inches long (including the lid), meaning you can use two ballpoint pens to measure 12 inches. 

Six Lemons

While probably the most random way of measuring 12 inches, you can also arrange 6 lemons into a horizontal line.

This is because the average lemon has a diameter of 2 inches, so with 2 inches per lemon, you’ll have a line of lemons measuring 12 inches. 

Of course, this only applies to lemons that have a similar diameter, as it’s not the most accurate way to measure 12 inches.

Still, this is handy if you’ve got lemons in your fruit bowl!

Two Dollar Bills

While most other countries will have varying sizes of paper money depending on the denomination, dollar bills in the US are all the same length.

So, if you’ve got a couple of dollar bills in your wallet, you can line them up lengthways to measure 12 inches, as each bill is just over 6 inches long!

However, keep in mind that dollar bills are slightly longer than 6 inches, so the overall length of two dollar bills will be just a bit longer than 12 inches.

While it’s not the most accurate measurement, it’s still an accessible one. 

As dollar bills are arguably the most accessible object on this list, this is probably the easiest and quickest way to measure 12 inches without a ruler or tape measure. 

Loaf Of Bread

While the length of a loaf of bread will depend on the length of the pan it has been baked in, the average loaf of bread is 12 inches long.

This also applies to the average length of a loaf baking pan – though this only applies to the interior pan rather than the whole pan itself. 

So, if you’ve just bought a loaf of bread from the bakery, or even if you’ve got a loaf pan at home, this is a good way to visualize the length of 12 inches. 

Men’s Size 14 Shoe

Do you wear a men’s size 14 shoe? If so (or if someone else in your household does), then you might not know that the length of this shoe is the equivalent of 12 inches!

However, it’s important to remember that this only applies to the inside of your shoe rather than the whole shoe itself.

The exterior of the shoe will inevitably add several centimeters to the overall length, especially with bulky and chunky shoes. 

Alternatively, if you or someone else in your household wears a size 14 men’s shoe, you can measure the length of their foot to get a general idea of how long 12 inches is. 

Wall Clock

Another common household object that can be 12 inches long is a wall clock.

Wall clocks come in all shapes and sizes, but the most generic ones (such as ones that you’ll find in an office) will have a diameter of either 6 or 12 inches. 

While this isn’t exactly the best way to reliably measure something that requires drawing a straight line, this is still a good frame of reference for visualizing 12 inches. 

Twelve Hockey Pucks

Hockey pucks are generally exactly one inch wide, so if you place twelve hockey pucks on top of each other, this will amount to 12 inches.

While hockey pucks aren’t exactly the most commonly found object in a household, this is a useful frame of reference for those in a gym or those who play hockey. 

Five Zippo Lighters

Another unlikely but somewhat reliable form of measuring 12 inches is to place five zippo lighters on top of each other on a flat surface.

Zippo lighters are generally about 2.38 inches tall, so if you’re an avid collector of the vintage lighter, then you can use this to measure 12 inches. 


So, there you have it! Hopefully, this guide has given you an idea of how big 12 inches (see also ‘How Big Is 8 Inches?‘) is in comparison to common household objects.

Nick Spieth