If you are looking for a special keepsake to track your kids’ growth, consider making your own wooden ruler growth chart! This DIY project is so easy and is a fraction of the cost of already made growth charts!
Growth Chart Family Keepsake
If you have been following me awhile, you know that my kids are all school age and I don’t have any babies around the house! So why now have I decided to make a growth chart? Up until now, we have been plotting our kids’ height progress on the door frame of my daughter’s closet. I don’t even know why we started using this spot! Recently, my daughter and I talked about painting her room, and I realized that her doors could use a fresh coat of paint too.
It got me thinking, that while I love this little spot we have to measure the kids, it is not something permanent. Whether we move or whether we add a new coat of paint, this spot will not be forever. I have heard of some people taking doors that have their kids heights on them! But that is not really a realistic option with a door frame.
While there is certainly something sweet about having your kids heights measured on a piece of your home, it is nice to be able to have a movable record should you ever move or need to paint!
Once I started thinking about making my our own growth chart, I realized that this could be not only a keepsake for our family, but something that could be a part of the family for a long time! I envision being able to mark the grandkids heights on the very same chart! This growth chart can be a VERY special family heirloom!
Ruler Growth Chart Ideas
Ruler growth charts are very popular and you can find them at higher end stores like Pottery Barn and often times at craft fairs and festivals. I love the look of the ruler charts especially ones made with a wood stain as they have a vintage, farmhouse feel! The possibilities are endless on where you can keep a ruler growth chart including one of your kid’s rooms, a playroom, entry way etc!
The instructions to make a wood ruler growth chart are almost the same whether you decide to do a wood stain or a painted ruler. I even saw this idea for a chalkboard ruler over here at Pottery Barn Kids, which would be so fun to make!!
Materials Needed to Make a Wooden Ruler Growth Chart
It doesn’t take a lot of materials to make your own wooden ruler growth chart. You might even have some of the items on hand!
First, you need to get a piece of wood. I went into my local Home Depot and I was thinking I would need to have a piece of wood cut. I’ll be honest, I have never been in the lumber section of Home Depot! Little did I know, that there is already some pre-cut wood available. Depending on what type of wood you want, you can get a piece for very cheap!
I first looked a piece of oak and realized it was 7 dollars a foot which would have been $42! So, instead, I went with a piece of Poplar Wood that was only $7 total!!
Next, you will need to gather up a few additional supplies.
DIY Growth Chart Supply List
6 Foot Piece of Wood
Piece of Sandpaper
Wood Stain (or paint if you want a colored ruler)
Paint suitable for wood or Sharpie Paint Markers (White or black is recommended)*
Measuring Tape and a Ruler
**I found that a Sharpie Paint Pen is so much easier to work with then paint and a paint brush. I learned this the hard way after I started with regular paint. So, I ended up getting a sharpie paint pen for painting in the stencils.
Step-by Step Instructions for Making a Growth Chart
Once you have gathered up all of your materials, it is time to get started! As someone who likes to stick to easy home projects, I can assure you that this project is easy even for the novice DIYer.
Step 1: Sand the Wood.
Use a small piece of sand paper to smooth out any rough spots on the wood. You do not need to sand the whole piece of wood unless it is in bad shape.
My particular piece of wood just had a few jagged edges but otherwise it did not need a lot of work. Step 2: Stain the wood.
Once you have sanded, you can stain the wood piece. Dip a piece of an old rag (I like to use cut up shirts) into the can of stain and brush all over the wood.
The stain dries REALLY fast, so once you are done with one side of the wood, you can immediately flip it over and stain the other side. You do want to stain both sides of the wood even though you will only see one side.
When choosing what color of wood stain, consider if you will plan to write on the wood. Since I knew we would be using our ruler as an actual measurer (instead of just as a decor piece), I did not want to go with too dark of a wood. Otherwise, you could have a hard time seeing the writing through a dark stain!
I selected this Early American Wood stain and I think it is the perfect color! It is not too dark but has enough color to give it a vintage, farmhouse look!Step 3: Measure and Mark 1 Inch Lines
As I mentioned, the wood stain dries very fast, so you can almost immediately get to working on the next step. If you have a little time to spare, I’d suggest waiting about 30 minutes before you make the lines (or you might get a little stain on your hands as you work).
I will admit that I did not wait very long before starting on this step. The easiest way to measure is with a measuring tape. Make 1 inch lines (just dark enough for you to see) along the left side of the ruler.
At this point, you will want to decide what measurement you want the ruler to start off with. Take some time to think this over!! If you are hanging this, you will not want the first measurement to start 0! I started at 6 inches because I knew we would hang the ruler 6 inches above the ground. You should take into account any baseboard trim you have! If you have a 6 foot board, you will want to start above zero, so that your ruler goes up to 6 + feet!
Step 4: Paint the measurement lines
Now that you have marked the lines, you can use paint, or a HIGHLY recommend a sharpie paint marker to color in the lines. I had the lines go out one inch and then every foot line went out 3 inches.
I used a ruler to make sure the lines were straight and to measure out the 1 inch and 3 inch distances.
Initially, I started with regular paint and a paint brush and let me tell you it was a little tricky. I had a hard time making straight lines.
So, I stopped at my local craft store and picked up this Sharpie Paint Marker and I would never to this project without this pen again! It was so easy to use.
Step 5: Stencil the numbers onto the board
You could certainly find free printable numbers online to use for this step. But it would be a little time consuming cutting out the numbers to be just right. My craft store had stencils on clearance for $1.50, so it was most certainly worth it to buy them! I picked the 4 inch size numbers like this set. It was the perfect size!
Decide if you want your numbers horizontal or vertical. Then stencil each on with the Sharpie paint pen.
I found it easiest to lightly color in the letter with the stencil and then remove the stencil and color in the letters a little darker.
Step 6: Add a light layer of wood wax to the wood board.
The ruler is almost done! Now, you just want to add some wax all over the board. Wax will give it a little shine and also help to preserve the life of the board. I already had some wax on hand that I was able to use.
Let the wax cure on the wood a bit and then you are ready to hang your ruler!
Step 7: Hang the ruler!
This step is probably the hardest and most tedious part of the entire process! You have to get the ruler on the wall at exact the right height. Decide where you want the ruler to go and be sure you have measuring tape handy!
You need to measure and measure some more before you put any nails in the wall! We have this picture hanging kit and it has everything you need to hang most things on the wall! My husband used the push in picture hangers. But he said if he were to do again he would use the braided wire that is in the kit!
You will need to measure from the floor to the ruler and then from the ceiling to the top of the ruler. If you have carpet, make sure to press down on it when you measure from the floor. While no one will be checking to make sure you are exact, it is nice to have the ruler as accurate as possible.
Now for the fun part! Everyone in the family takes turn getting measured! We will use a regular sharpie to capture everyone’s measurements.
My next step will be to transfer over all of the kids’ measurements from our original growth chart spot! It will be worth it though to have this family keepsake! The kids love this wooden ruler growth chart and I am so happy to have this project finished!
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