measuring a board with measuring tape

How Big Is 10 Centimeters (CM)? (With Examples)

Ten centimeters, which is equal to about 3.94 inches, is a surprisingly common measurement. It can be used to estimate or describe the length of several small objects, so being able to visualize 10 centimeters can be quite useful.

The Width of Your Palm

When measurements first began to become standardized, body parts were often used to describe heights, widths, and distances. For example, a hand’s span was often used to measure the height or width of objects.

Most adults’ palms are about 4 inches or very close to 10 centimeters across, so you can still look at your palm to estimate 10 centimeters.

Hands are still used as a form of measurement in some areas. For example, horses are measured in hands, with each hand equaling exactly 4 inches.

You can also use your thumb to estimate 10 centimeters. Most adults’ thumbs are about 1 inch tall, so just picture four thumbs, or line your thumb up with an object, to visualize 10 centimeters.

open palm hand

A Credit Card

A credit card or ID is one of the best ways to estimate 10 centimeters because the shape and size of these types of cards are easy for most people to visualize. A regular credit card is about 3.5 inches long, so it’s just less than 9 centimeters long.

You can also use the height of a credit or business card to estimate 10 centimeters. A standard credit card is about 2 inches tall, so doubling this height should give you a height close to 10 centimeters.

You can also use your wallet to estimate 10 centimeters. Wallets must accommodate business, ID, and credit cards, so they need to be a little bigger than those cards. Most folding wallets are about 3.5 inches tall and around 4.5 inches wide.

credit cards on a keyboard

A Toilet Paper Roll

A toilet paper roll might not seem like an obvious measurement estimating tool, but it can be handy, as pretty much everyone is familiar with the size of a roll. A standard toilet paper roll is 3.7 inches or about 9.4 centimeters wide, so it’s an excellent visual aid for picturing this size.

toilet paper roll blue background

A Popsicle Stick

Popsicle sticks are another easy item to visualize. They can be used in popsicles, as their name states, or as crafting materials. Many people also use popsicle sticks as an inexpensive, disposable tool for other projects.

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One popsicle stick is just over 11 centimeters long, so it’s a good estimate for a width or height of about 10 centimeters.

multi colors popsicles

Half of a Pencil

A standard pencil measures about 19 centimeters long. This measurement is only true for pencils that haven’t been sharpened multiple times and still have their entire eraser. If you can picture a pencil and can then picture half of that pencil, you should have a length very close to 10 centimeters.

pencil with halfway mark

Four Quarters

Coins must be a standard size, so they make excellent tools for estimating the weight or size of an object. Quarters work well for estimating centimeters, as one quarter is 1 inch in diameter. This means that four quarters equal a length or height very close to 10 centimeters.

Pennies can also be used to estimate centimeters. One penny is 0.75 inches or just under 2 centimeters in diameter, so five pennies, lined up end-to-end, equal a distance very close to 10 centimeters. Using nickels will also work.

One nickel is 0.835 inches or just over 2 centimeters in diameter, so you would need five nickels to equal just about 10 centimeters.

group of quarter coins

Four Paper Clips

Most standard paper clips are 1 inch long, so you can easily line up or visualize four paper clips to get an idea of how 10 centimeters looks.

4 red paper clips

A Deck of Cards

Like credit or business cards, playing cards are about 3.5 inches tall. Their box must be slightly taller to accommodate their size, so if you can visualize a deck of cards in its paper or plastic box, you can easily visualize a height of about 10 centimeters.

deck of cards with ace face up

Two Baseballs

Baseballs always have a diameter of about 2 inches. All standard baseballs must have the same diameter, so you can use one baseball to visualize about 5 centimeters or picture two baseballs together to imagine 10 centimeters.

Golf tees can also be used to visualize 10 centimeters. One standard golf tee measures about 5 centimeters in length, so two tees equal just about 10 centimeters.

pair of baseballs

A Business Envelope

Business envelopes are a great visual aid, as you can use them to visualize 10 centimeters in a couple of ways. First, the shortest edge of a standard business envelope should be almost exactly 4 inches, so you can simply picture this edge to imagine 10 centimeters.

The long edges of a business envelope are double this size. You can imagine half the length of an envelope, or you can even fold a standard envelope in half to visualize a measurement that’s just over 10 centimeters.

business envelope on wood table

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