How to Build Your Own Level Tool

What You'll Need
30 inches clear surgical tubing with 3/8 inch inside dimension
2 clamps
Silicone caulk
5-gallon bucket
Food coloring

A level tool is a staple tool in most toolboxes. Ideally, you should have a few types in different lengths. They’re vital in building, repairing and remodeling projects to ensure that the parts are truly level or perpendicular. However, you can make your own level using water. It makes perfect sense since water will always try to make itself level.

Step 1: Tube Level

There are two types of level tool you can make. One simply uses a tube while the other involves both a tube and a bucket of water. The tube level tool is excellent for horizontal surfaces while the bucket level tool is better for vertical surfaces.

To make a tube level tool, all you need to do is fold over and clamp one end of the surgical tubing to ensure it won’t leak. Mix water with some food coloring and pour into the tube, leaving about 2 inches of air at the top. Fold over and clamp the other end after making sure that there are no air bubbles in the tube.

Step 2: Bucket Level

There’s more involved in making a bucket level tool but not a great deal more. Drill a hole in the side of the bucket down near the bottom. The hole needs to be slightly smaller that the outside dimension of the surgical tube. Pull several inches of the tube through until it reaches close to the center of the bucket. Caulk around the hole in the bucket, both inside and out, to make it waterproof and allow it to dry.

There should be a long length of tubing outside the end of the bucket. Apply a clamp over the end and stand the bucket on the kitchen counter with the tubing trailing into the sink. Fill the bucket with water that’s been colored by food coloring. Now, unclamp the tube and allow water to flow through into the sink until you see no more air bubbles before clamping again.

Step 3: Using a Tube Level

The waterline in the tubing of the level tool will be a little lower than the top of the tubing. To use the level, hold it so that the waterline on one end is at the mark you need to read. The water at the other end will be at the same level so you can mark it accordingly and make any adjustments if they necessary. Because of the length of this tube, it’s best used by two people working together.

Step 4: Using a Bucket Level

Rest the bucket on a surface close to the vertical surface that you want to level. Hold the tube against the vertical surface and give the water a moment to settle. The water level in the tube will look a little concave but that’s perfectly normal. All you need to do is mark where the level is to carry out the work.

Step 5: Warnings

It’s very important that you make sure there are no air bubbles in the level tool to have proper accuracy. With the bucket level tool, allow time for it to come to the temperature of the water already in the bucket if further water is added.