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Growing up…Do you remember when your parents made you stand up at the door and wrote/etched your height every so often? If your parents still live in the home you grew up in then you may be able to go see it and recall fond memories of holding your breath and gently rising on your tippy toes in the hopes that mayyyyybe you grew another eighth of an inch…
…No? Just me? Look people, it’s not my fault that I’m vertically challenged 😉 .
Anywho, if your family no longer lives in the home where you grew up, chances are you don’t have the opportunity to go back and see it. And it may even be covered up and painted over by those who live in your home now. Hmf!
Since we know that our current home is not our forever home, we wanted a way to measure our kiddos and then take it with us when we eventually move. After all, those are memories! I do not want them painted over!
Enter the growth chart ruler! You can pay a premium for one of these bad boys at Pottery Barn ($99+) or Land of Nod ($59) OR you can go to Home Depot (or Lowes), buy a wood board, and make one for yourself.
If you’re unsure of how to go about making one then keep reading to see how I did it PLUS alternatives you can use for each step to personalize your own chart! Ready? Let’s get started!
- 5-6 ft pine board (or other wood board)
- Wood stain
- Tape measure
- 150 grit sandpaper or sanding sponge
- 220 grit sand paper or sanding sponge
- Tack cloth or other clean lint free cloth
- Scrap cloths
- 3″ height number stencils
- Small angled paint brush
- Foam brushes
- Polyurethane (I used matte)
- Screws (and screwdriver) or industrial strength velcro
1-) Prepare the wood
Gently sand the wood with 150 grit sand paper and wipe off the resulting saw dust with a tack cloth or lint free rag.
2-) Stain the wood
Apply the stain with a foam brush going along the grain. Let the stain sit for a minute or so and use a clean rag to wipe off excess. Let stain dry for a minimum of 1 hr or until it no longer feels sticky.
Note: I generally recommend using a lighter color stain so you can see the marks when you measure your kids. If you opt for a dark stain you may have to use a bright marker in order to see the marks.
Alternatives to stain:
- Whitewash (or gray wash, or any other color wash!)
3-) Measure and mark the board
Use a tape measure and mark where you want to place the measuring marks. I placed one every inch, but you could do every 4 inches, 6 inches, or just every foot if you want! Then draw in your ruler lines. You can use a straight edge for this or do it free hand. I’m lazy, so I went free hand. I also made the half foot and the foot marks longer than the other inch marks for clarity.
Note: If you have base boards you may want to start the board at 6 inches. If you start the board at zero but can’t mount the board flush with the floor then it will be inaccurate!
4-) Stencil in the numbers
Once you have the ruler lines ready, stencil in the numbers at the foot marks with a pencil. I like to press hard when I do this to make indents (this will only work if you’re using a softwood like pine). This makes it easier to stay in the lines when you paint.
- Attach metal or wood numbers (a super simple and neat alternative!)
- Wood burn numbers (more time consuming, but no risk of paint chipping. You can buy a wood burner here.)
Go at it! I like to paint with a small angled brush because I feel more in control, but use whatever makes you comfortable!
6-) Sand down the grain
Once the paint is dry, gently sand the wood again with 150 grit sandpaper to sand down the grain and help the detail in the wood pop! You’ll also end up sanding out some of the paint. You can either do a second coat of paint or keep it for a fun distressed look.
7-) Apply a second coat of paint
Skip this step if you want the distressed look. Otherwise it’s time for painting round two!
8- ) Brush on a coat of polyurethane finish
Make sure you have no dust on the board, and apply a coat of polyurethane to your board with a foam brush. Let dry at minimum 1 hour!
Gently sand the board with 220 grit sandpaper. Then wipe off the resulting dust with tack cloth or lint free cloth as usual.
10-) Repeat steps 8-9 twice
To build an even finish, repeat the steps of applying the polyurethane, letting it dry, and then gently sanding two more times. If desired, you can use 320 or 400 grit sand paper for the last sanding to give an ultra smooth finish! Isn’t it beautiful?
10-) Mount your chart to the wall!
You can mount your new masterpiece to the wall with either screws or industrial strength velcro. If you use screws, preferably mount the chart to a stud. If that’s not an option, be sure to use wall anchors!
Ta da! You did it! Now go ahead and measure your kids! Let’s start some memories with your new growth chart!
Want more fun project ideas? Of course you do! Head over to the super cute mug/measuring spoon holder for more inspiration.
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