My parents have little lines penciled all up and down the molding beside their pantry with coinciding names and dates. My mom started charting my brother’s height, (my short self had already stopped growing, darn it!) but soon there were lines for cousins and then friends and then even grown adults! When people come back to their house, they look for their little place on the wall. It makes them feel at home there.
I would love to replicate something like this at our house for the kids — and cousins and friends and even grown adults.
Somehow we lost our last growth chart in the move. I kept thinking it would turn up, but it hasn’t and now I’ve missed a couple more years on the chart. Oops. Oh well, all the more reason to get my crafty on and make a better one in time for Luca’s fifth birthday!
I had a 1x4x6 board in the garage, so I decided to experiment with that. By the way, a 4-inch board is actually 3.5 inches! I figured that out the hard way and had to adjust all my printables to accommodate.
Anyway, I whitewashed the board and was pleased with the result, but I wasn’t sure of the best way to get the numbers onto the board. That was until I saw Hannah’s clever idea on her blog We Lived Happily Ever After.
She printed her image in reverse on a plastic binder sleeve and simply placed it on the wood. That’s it! She’s a genius. I tried it and it worked perfectly. You have to check out her blog for so many smart ideas. Thanks, Hannah!
Here’s how I made our ruler in under 2 hours:
- Board 1″x4″x6′
- White paint
- Paint brush
- Jet ink printer
- Plastic binder sleeves
- Piece of letter size paper
- Clear enamel spray
- Staple gun
- Whitewash the board with paint/water mixture. I used a ratio of about 2:1. I painted the whole board one area at a time, wiping it with a paper towel as I went to let the grain show through. One coat worked for the look I wanted and took no time at all.
- Cut the edge with the holes off a plastic binder sleeve. Insert a piece of paper to make it go through the printer easier, and put it in the jet ink paper tray. Please note, a laser printer will not work for this and could melt the sleeve.
- I didn’t want the ruler to go over the baseboard, so I designed it to hang 6 inches above the floor and be flush against the wall. For this reason, it’s important to remember to skip the first six inches on the ruler. You’ll start by printing the “1” image first.
- Then, take the paper out of the plastic sleeve so you can see where you are placing it. (Another reason the transparent sleeve is so smart.) Carefully lay it ink down on the bottom of the board. Pressing lightly on each mark so it transfers to the wood.
- Wipe the extra ink off the plastic, put the paper back inside and print the next image — the one with no number. Print in this sequence: 1, no number, 2, no number, 3, no number and so on. I had to use a second plastic sleeve halfway through because it had gotten a bit wrinkled and caused a paper jam.
- After all the ink transfers are finished, you can spray some clear enamel on to ensure the ink won’t smudge.
- Staple the twine to the back of the board to hang it.
- Hang the ruler 6 inches above the floor.
Here are the printables for your own transfers:
It’s hard to imagine one day my little ones will get close to the top of this ruler! Someone recently told me the days are slow but the years go fast. That seems to sum things up very well for me at this stage.
Growth stencil chart
And if this DIY project seems like too much work, check out these stencils (affiliate) that make it easy by Stencil Revolution. This a great shortcut that you can use for multiple charts. I can see myself making a few charts at the same time with stencil for baby showers and Christmas presents. It’s inexpensive and mamas will be delighted!! Or stencil it right on the wall! I kind of wish I would have seen these first.
There’s been some trouble printing the numbers, so I’ve done some experimenting on my printer and here’s what I’ve learned. You have to:
- Download images to your desktop.
- Make sure horizontal orientation is selected.
- Choose fill entire image OR fill entire paper. Otherwise the printer tries to make the image fill the whole paper.
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