Well, I can’t call my blog I Watch Them Grow without having a tutorial on these gorgeous and popular wood growth charts, now can I? I originally found this idea for the ruler style DIY wood growth chart on Pinterest, and I read a few great tutorials on how to make them. So I gave it a try and it turned out great! I couldn’t be happier.
What I love about this project, there are so many things:
- it’s easy to record your child’s growth over time
- provides a great visualization for comparing your child’s growth
- is portable – can easily be moved to a different room or different house if you move
- it’s not expensive to make it yourself
- a simple design that can be customized to suit your home
- it’s so easy to make! no power tools or carpentry skills required, anyone can make one of these!
If you like doing DIY projects, this one costs $25 and takes a couple hours of your time (plus drying time), for something that I think is both a functional and stylish keepsake of your kid’s childhood.
Or if you prefer there are many crafters who make these custom order for sale. You will want to find someone local to you though because shipping would be pricey.
I have seen so many different versions of these – some are painted in colors and designs to match a baby’s nursery or child’s room, others have the child’s name or the family name painted on it.
What I love about the simple ruler style of the one I made is that it won’t become dated after a few years, or not match when we decide to restyle the room decor. Also it’s not babyish, which, if you are using this thing as your child grows into their teens, why would you want to be stuck with their nursery colors and cutesy animals and such all those years? That’s why I chose this design which is simple, classic and versatile.
I love that I can put all my girls’ measurements on the one chart, so we can compare each of their growth over time as well as comparing to each other just for fun.
I will give you a recap of the process I used to make this and the cost (unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of the process), and I will also give you links to the tutorials that I found helpful.
I went to my local hardware store and bought these supplies:
- 6 foot long wood board $10
- wood stain in American Heritage color $5
- clear varnish $5
- paint brush $3
- sandpaper $2
I also used a measuring tape, pencil, ruler, and permanent marker.
The first step is to sand the wood board, wipe the dust off with a cloth, and apply the stain. After that dries, decide if you would like to apply a second coat of stain.
Once the stain is all dry, lay the board down and get your measuring tape, pencil and ruler to start putting the measure lines on the board. Before you put any lines, make sure you know how high from the floor you will be hanging your board. If you have baseboards, or don’t want to mount it touching the floor, then you have to adjust your measure lines on the board accordingly. I decided to hang mine 6 inches above the floor, so I started my measure lines on the board at 6 inches (instead of zero). That is why the 1 foot line on the board is only 6 inches from the bottom of the board.
In my opinion, measuring and marking out all the lines is the most meticulous and tedious part of the whole project. I suggest using pencil in case you accidentally move your measuring tape and put the line in the wrong place (which I did once, and was able to just erase it).
If I had a square measure I would have loved to use that for drawing the horizontal lines perfectly perpendicular to the edge of the board. I only had a regular ruler so for each line I had to be careful that it was straight and even.
Once you have all the measure lines on there you can add the numbers for each foot. If you are a very neat writer, or going for a handwritten look, go ahead and the write the numbers free hand with your pencil.
Myself, I am too much of a perfectionist and write too crooked, so I printed the numbers off my computer in the chosen font and size, and then traced the numbers on the paper with a pen over the board. That put an impression onto the wood, which I went and filled with pencil after. This ensured that all the numbers were the same size and font. You could also use number stencils if you have them the right size.
Now go back and write over all of your pencil markings with a black permanent marker.
The final step is to seal the marker with a coat or two of clear varnish.
Hang it Up
For hanging, you could install a wire/rope/chain at the top to hang it, however it could be nudged askew when the kids are standing at it. I opted to just drill 2 screws right through the front of it into the stud of the wall, to keep it from moving while measuring or even falling down (as it is quite heavy).
Measure and Mark
That’s it! It’s ready for you to add your child’s height. If you have their previous year’s measurements, go ahead and fill them in too. I even put my kids’ height at birth on mine, and because I have 3 kids on the same board, I put the initial letter of their name with their age at the time of being that height (I think age is easier to track than putting the actual date of measure, but it’s up to you how you want to record it).
Ok so since my tutorial doesn’t show any photos of the process I will direct you to the tutorials that I read if you want to check them out:
- Rita @ Suburbs Mama has a great tutorial
- Debbie @ Painted Therapy has another great tutorial
If you do take on this project, be sure to let me know how it turned out!