How To Cut Drywall With Just a Tape Measure and Utility Knife

Your guide to mastering that slick-looking method the pros use to save time.

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I once saw union carpenters cutting perfect pieces of drywall with only a tape measure and a utility knife. How do I do that?—Jarett R., Oakland, California

First thing you should do is that Fine Homebuilding did on this technique in its “Mastered in a Minute” series. After that it’s just practice.

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People trying this method will sometimes overlook the obvious: You don’t hook the end of the tape measure over the end of the drywall, as you would when measuring. Instead, you place the tape’s hook where you’ll be making the cut. Put the tip of the knife blade against the hook and pinch the blade there with your thumb. Your other hand goes at the end of the drywall, pinching the appropriate-length measurement on the tape.

From there you move both hands at the same time, drawing the knife and tape down the drywall with consistent downward pressure. Crack off the piece of drywall and cut the paper on the other side to release it. If a guy like me with two left thumbs can do this, you can too.

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