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How to Measure Center to Center and Why You Need to Do It!

Are you installing new drawer pulls or cabinet handles? Then you need to know how to measure center to center so you don’t drill holes in the wrong place!

This post is brought to you by Amerock. Thanks for supporting the brands that support this blog!

I’ve been dreaming about updating my dark kitchen for years now.

When we decided to stay in our home for the foreseeable future, we also decided the kitchen would get a makeover!

After all, it’s one of the most lived-in rooms of our home.

Not to mention I take lots of photos and videos there for the recipes I create for the blog.

We’re slowly working our way through the house to give the builder-basic spaces some style.

Last year the laundry room got a glow-up and I fell in love with the handles we installed on the cabinets!

So when I began planning the kitchen update, I knew I wanted to use similar handles on the cabinets.

And cup pulls on the drawers.

After all, what better way to brighten up cherry cabinets than with a little bling?

Kitchen with cherry cabinets, white counters, white backsplash, and nickel cabinet knobs

This kitchen makeover is in the home stretch now.

We’ve refinished the floors.

Removed the dark and busy mosaic tile backsplash.

Installed new counters and a white tile backsplash.

Added trim and legs to the kitchen island.

Painted the kitchen island to compliment the cherry cabinets.

And now it’s time for new kitchen hardware on the cabinets and drawers!

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Why Choose Amerock Hardware?

The very first thing that I considered when choosing new kitchen hardware was style.

I knew that I loved the look of the Sea Grass line of hardware by Amerock!

The narrow ribbed design adds a little something extra to the look of the handles and cup pulls.

My style is best described as transitional: a blend of traditional and modern decor with lots of natural textures.

The Sea Grass line gives me the perfect amount of fancy.

But.

Amerock offers a huge variety of hardware! You’ll be able to find something perfect for your style too in a variety of modern finishes.

I chose Golden Champagne for my laundry room, and the kitchen hardware is Satin Nickel.

The handles come in three sizes. I chose the 6-5/16″ (160 cm) size.

The cabinet pulls have a gorgeous pattern and are 3″ (76 cm).

Their prices are affordable and you can find their hardware everywhere from Home Depot to Amazon to Wayfair.

I’m also really impressed by the quality of their product line.

You wouldn’t believe the weight of the cup pulls!

They’re so sturdy.

I was so excited to install the new handles and drawer pulls!

Why Do You Need to Measure Center to Center?

I’m still fairly new to doing DIY projects so when I heard that I needed to measure the hardware “center to center” I didn’t really understand why.

And I also wasn’t really sure what it meant either…

The back side of a cup pull showing the holes where screws go

I always thought that when you saw the length of a handle or cup pull, the measurement was the overall length of the product.

Guess who was wrong?

That would be me!

The measurement that you see is the distance from the center of one of the holes to the center of the other hole.

Why do they measure from the center?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to measure from the outer edges?

The answer to that is a resounding no!

Let’s take a look at why.

Close up of a drill bit to show why you need to measure center to center for hardware

When you drill holes, you need to know where to place the center of the drill bit!

After all, when you drill, the drill bit will be removing wood (or whatever you’re drilling) equal to the width of the bit.

If you measure from the outer edges of the holes and then put the center of the drill bit on that spot, your holes will end up too far apart.

So you measure from the center of one hole over to the center of the other and your holes will be perfectly spaced.

How Do You Measure Center to Center?

Hand holding a cup pull and a tape measure to show how to measure center to center

It’s super easy to get the right measurement.

Simply place your tape measure or ruler in the middle of one hole and then measure to the middle of the other hole.

Hands holding a tape measure and a cabinet handle measuring center to center

S2M Tip: Sometimes the end of a ruler gets worn away and the edge of a tape measure gets bent. For the most precise measurement, place the 1-inch mark in the center of the first hole. Just remember to subtract one from the overall measurement!

How to Make a Custom Jig Template for Drilling Holes

When you’re drilling holes into cabinets, you don’t want to drill a hole in the wrong place!

Especially if you aren’t painting the cabinets.

Filling a hole and getting the color to match the stain perfectly is hard.

If you’re installing a lot of new cabinet handles and cup pulls, you’re potentially drilling twice as many holes.

Reduce the risk of error by creating a custom jig template.

Ryobi drill and tape measure, speed square, pencil, block of wood, and Amerock seagrass cabinet handle on a table

What you’ll need to make a jig template:

Find the center of the block of wood and draw a line down the center. Use the speed square to make sure it’s straight and level.

Hands using a tape measure to mark where to drill holes for a jig template

Mark the location for the first hole along the center line with a straight line to create an X.

This is another reason we recommend placing the 1-inch marker in the center of the first hole.

hands measuring location to drill holes for a DIY jig template

Now measure the distance to the center of the second hole and mark that on the template with another X.

Remember, it’s always good to measure twice to make sure your mark is in the right place!

Measure twice, drill once.

Hands holding a screw over a container of drill bits to find the right size bit

Use one of the screws that came with the handles to select the correct sized drill bit.

The flat end of the screw should be the same size as the end of the drill bit.

Hold one end over the edge of your work surface and drill the first hole, placing the center of the drill bit at the center of the X.

Be sure to keep the drill perfectly straight.

Then repeat the process for the second hole.

Hand holding a homemade jig template with a cabinet handle attached to it

Now, test the template!

Attach the handle to the jig template to make sure the holes are in exactly the right spot.

If it fits, you’ve got a template to easily install the handles.

Two homemade drill jig templates to install cabinet handles and drawer pulls

How to Create a Jig Template for Drawer Pulls

Repeat the process to create a template for the cup pulls.

To make it easy to line up the jig template on the drawers, consider using a piece of wood that is the same height as the drawer fronts.

If the drawer had a knob, drill a hole at the center of the template where the knob is located.

You’ll be able to use this hole to line up the jig at the exact center of each drawer.

Use the speed square to draw a line through the center of the template.

Measure the distance, center-to-center, for the cup pull.

Now, measure the same distance onto the template so that the middle of your measurement is lined up over the center of the hole you drilled.

Double-check your measurements, then drill the holes by lining up the center of the drill bit and the spots you’ve marked on the template.

Before drilling into any drawer fronts, make sure that the cup pull attaches correctly to the jig.

How to Install Cabinet Hardware Using a Jig Template

Now that you’ve got your templates made it’s time to start installing the cabinet handles and drawer pulls!

Homemade jig template clamped onto a drawer front to install new drawer pulls

For the drawers, use a screw through the center hole to position the template properly.

Use a ratcheting hand clamp to hold the template in place.

You can use a level to make sure the template is straight, but I just lined up the top edge of the template with the top panel of the drawer.

Woman using a jig template to drill holes for new kitchen drawer pulls

Carefully drill the holes through the template.

Be sure to keep the drill straight and at a 90-degree angle.

Cabinet door with a drilling jig clamped on and a speed square held up to the edge

To drill the holes for the cabinets, place a screw through one of the holes to position it.

Then line up the template so it’s straight either with a level or you can use the speed square and eyeball it.

Use the ratcheting hand clamp to secure the template, and then drill the second hole.

Woman using a jig template to drill holes for new kitchen cabinet handles

I found that I needed to pull on the template a bit on the upper cabinets.

I guess gravity pulled the template down a little on the screw?

But this wasn’t an issue at all on the lower cabinets.

Woman using a shop vac to clean up sawdust after drilling holes for new drawer pulls in the kitchen

Be sure to keep your shop vac handy throughout the installation!

It’s amazing how much sawdust you’ll be making.

I found it was best to vacuum after each drawer or cabinet door.

Kitchen with cherry cabinets, white counters, white backsplash, and satin nickel Seagrass cabinet handles and drawer pulls

The new cup pulls and handles look so much more up-to-date in my kitchen!

However, their style is classic enough that they’ll look fantastic for decades to come.

I can’t wait to share the rest of the updates with you, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on the final reveal!

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Collage of product photos of all the tools used to install new cabinet hardware

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me or leave a comment!

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Stacy

Monday 18th of April 2022

Great job!!! It looks amazing!

AnnMarie

Tuesday 19th of April 2022

Anne's kitchen has had such an amazing transformation. It makes me want to do ours now!