Friday, February 5, 2016

DIY Growth Charts


I have been sick on and off for the past month, so I've been MIA. Isn't that the joy of having a kid in school? I spent yesterday disinfecting my keyboard, mouse and every door knob in the house. Today's project was a good distraction from the cold weather and germ fest. Years ago I made my daughter a growth chart from a piece of scrap wood I had laying around. It did the trick for many years. I just hung it a foot off the ground, and it covered her growth from baby until 5 years later.

However, now she's getting even taller  so it was time to make a large growth chart. My son has never had one. The curse of the second child, I suppose. I've been slipping post it notes into a drawer to track his height.

DIY Growth Charts


6 foot boards(mine were pre-cut pine boards from the hobby wood section of Lowe's)
Paint or Stain
Vinyl or Paper Numbers (either hand cut, cut with a Silhouette or prefab numbers from the hardware store)
Optional: Paper Shapes, Router, Mod Podge


1. Prepare Wood Surface.

So the first thing to do was get a nice piece of 6 foot pine wood. The great thing about this project is you can easily find pre-cut pieces of wood, so if you're not that handy, you can get away with using minimal power tools. I had my husband route around each board to make a fancy border. If you don't have a router (or struggle to use one like me...I have short arms and small a T-Rex), you can easily round the corners with a sander. Once you're done routing, sand the board to create a nice smooth surface.

2. Finish Boards

I did two different finishing methods.

Method One

My son's room has a "vintage hunting lodge" theme, so I did one like a big manly giant ruler. That chart got a coat of dark walnut stain by Minwax. After the stain dried, I simply added the vinyl (more on that below).

Method Two 

My daughter didn't want a boring ruler (her words). She liked the Mod Podge method I did with her old one, so I stuck with that. The first step was painting the board. The kids helped with this step. I just covered up a 12 area, gave them paint brushes and let them have at it. I came in and cleaned up the lines when they had painted most of the board in blue and green then I added the tree last.

3. Add Finishing Touches.

I have a Silhouette cutting machine, so I used that to cut my vinyl and paper. I didn't have that machine when I made my daughter's old growth chart. It's very easy to cut the paper into shapes by hand. Channel your inner kindergartener..or use one that happens to be standing around looking for something to do. If you're using method one, you could easily pick up the number stickers from a scrapbook section or a hardware store near the house numbers.

With my daughter's chart, she decided what shapes she wanted (an owl, a bird, a sun, and a boy and girl to represent her and her brother). I found the shapes in the Silhouette studio store and used my machine to cut them out. Once I had all the shapes cut out, including leaves and a catapillar, I used Mod Podge to attach all the shapes to the board. I did a final coat of Mod Podge over the top so everything was protected and glossy. For shapes that blended in, I went back and added a sharpie marker border around the shape.

With my son's chart, I simply cut the number and dashes out of vinyl using my Silhouette. To add the measurements to the board, I used a tape measure and taped it down to the board with some painters tape. I had to adjust the tape when I needed to see what was underneath, but it worked really well to accurately place the dashes and numbers.

4. Add Measurements and Hang.

After each growth chart was completed, I went in and put their previous measurements on each board with a black sharpie marker. To hang the boards I have large alligator picture hanging pieces. I'll either use that or just drill one hole in the top to attach the boards straight to the wall. They should sit flush with the floor, so they just need something to keep them from falling over, not take the weight of the board.



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