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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11 thoughts on “Easy DIY ruler growth chart”
I love this idea and really want to make it. I tried printing out the downloads that you posted but they are not the correct scale when I print them; instead of being 6 inches each, they are just under 4 inches each. Would you be willing to email me your templates instead to see if that will work? Thank you!
I’m sorry the printables weren’t working. I’m curious, did you try printing them directly from the internet or downloaded from your desktop? I’m wondering if they need to be saved to the desktop to print correctly??
I can’t get these to print to scale. This growth chart is so cute, I would love to make one! I have tried saving it to my downloads, and it wants to print super tiny. Could you email the templates? I would appreciate it so much!
Yes. I’m experimenting with printing right now! It looks like you must 1) download images to your desktop 2) make sure horizontal orientation is selected and 3) choose fill entire image OR fill entire paper. Otherwise the printer tries to make the image fill the whole paper.
I commented on a previous post of yours saying that one of my goals in my daughter’s first year was to make this growth chart before her 1st birthday. My husband and I finished this week together, with 6 weeks to spare! We also had problems with the images, when we downloaded them, they were ever so slightly off the measurement (my husband is a tech head, and he couldn’t get it right either) so we ended up just putting the downloaded image into word and resizing it so slightly there using the ruler. It didn’t take that long extra and worked a treat, much quicker than making a template myself! We also added our last name to the small gap at the top of the ruler. The finished product looks just like your pictures!
Thank you so much for providing these templates and instructions for us to use.I LOVE the growth chart and it will be such a special family keepsake.
Hi Emily! You’re SO sweet for sending me an update! I’m sorry that the measurement was slightly off. I’m not a very technical person, so it’s no surprise that I have no idea why! I’m glad you figured it out though and are happy with your finished product. Thank you so much for the encouragement. It really motivates me and keeps me going. xoxo
Looks so amazing! will have to try it soon. How do you mark the height of each kid? Directly on with a permanent marker? Do you put the name and date? What suggestions do you have to mark the heights and keep it looking neat? TIA
I just use a pen or marker with the kids’ heights. I didn’t make them look neat at all, lol! I guess I had in mind marking everyone’s heights like my parents did at their house. We marked my best friends’ son and family too. It’s fun to look back at visitors and family who lives far away over the years on my mom’s trim in the kitchen.
Our precious Grandson turned 1 year on 30th May, my daughter measures his growth with a tape measure [very clever I thought!] and weighs him also on the same day, I am going to tell her to get the growth chart ready, they grow so quickly. I loved the loose rug on Instagram I see the toe nails and sandle’s brought some color to the beige rug, it is very lovely, enjoy it. The smokey background in your garden is cool a lovely photo. So, you will have a double Father’s Day celebration, Marcello and Dino! You all have a great day ahead of you make the best of it.
Very helpful! Thanks!
Great! I hope you like it!