Have you ever tried to do a level and measured layout for hanging a picture or the hardware for a towel rack? You can do it with a box level and a tape, but it can be difficult. If you have to do multiple layouts over and over, it can be downright frustrating. Empire Level makes a unique straightedge that can be a big help in this type of situation.
The Bubble Stick incorporates a built-in level and plumb vial into a four-foot, plastic straightedge. Because it’s not as bulky as a box level and the measurements are on tapered edges, you can see your pencil tip and the gradations easily. The edges aren’t hard or sharp, so it won’t mar painted or wallpapered surfaces.
In my personal experience as an art installer, I made a few modifications to make the Bubble Stick the perfect hanging-hardware-layout tool. The stock Bubble Stick has a left-to-right reading side and a right-to-left reading side, but I converted one side to a center-finding rule by relabeling the inch gradients. This made it easy to lay out the hardware based on the center of a painting. I also put some rubber non-skid on the back of the rule, so I could easily hold it against the wall without it sliding. Finally, I put clear tape over the vials to insure they didn’t pop out on the job, one of the Bubble Stick’s few flaws.
With a street price of $8 dollars, you don’t get a lot of fancy features — but sometimes the right tool for the job doesn’t have to be so fancy.