By contributing writer Jordon
We have moved a lot for my husband’s job, so the few times I would mark the growth of my boys on the wall of our house, I would end up painting over it before we moved out. My records of their growth came from the pediatricians office whenever they were seen, and I would write it down (when I remembered) in their books.
Yes, I have the record of their growing little bodies, but it is not much fun for them when they cannot see their previous height and compare it to their current height to see how much they have grown themselves. Well, now they can. And we can take their rulers to any house and have a permanent keepsake for all those years of growth. How exciting! Not to mention, the rulers really do look cool in their rooms!
So, you want to make one too?!
How to Make a Growth Chart Ruler
- 1 x 8 x 6
- Paint Brush
- Terry Cloth
- 150 Sandpaper
- Stain (I used Golden Oak)
- Bowl for stain
- Number Stencils
- Black Paint Pen
- Picture frame hanger hardware
Remember, I made two, so you would only need one board.
1. Put down drip protection. I put an old sheet down and my sawhorses on top to lay the boards across. You can use an old table, cardboard on the ground, or anything else you can think of. Just know the stain might drip, so you want to be cautious of that.
2. Lightly sand every inch of your piece of wood, including corners and edges. Take a piece of your sandpaper and fold it in half and then fold it in half again. This makes it easier to sand, and you can use all sides (you may have to refold to get to the fresh part).
Why is it important to sand before you stain or paint? Wood is a relatively soft, porous material, which is why we are able to change its color by applying a penetrating stain or a dye. But since it is soft, it can be scratched and dented between the time it leaves the sawmill and reaches our garage or basement workshop.
These dents and scratches actually absorb more stain than does unblemished wood, so unless we sand them out, these dents and scratches will appear even worse after staining. In addition, the final milling process often crushes the top layer of pores in the board, making it more difficult for our stain to penetrate the wood. A light sanding will open the pores so that we can achieve the color we want.
3. After you have finished sanding, grab your tack cloth. Wipe the folded tack cloth across the wood to remove dust. As each side of the cloth becomes saturated with dust, refold to expose a fresh surface.
Inexpensive tack cloths are available at hardware stores, or you can make your own by soaking a 12 inch piece of cheesecloth in a small amount of tung oil. Store tack cloths in a sealed plastic bag to prevent them from drying out between uses.
4. Stain the wood. Pour about 1/4 cup of stain into your bowl (you will have to fill up a few more times). Dab your brush in it and move with the grain, not against it. The longer you leave the stain on, the darker the finish. I used 3 coats.
5. Make measuring marks. Most homes have baseboards, so depending on the height of yours, you adjust your first foot. For example: I have 7 3/4 inch baseboards, so I started my ruler at the 8 inch mark, then I had only 4 inches until my 1st foot.
Mark the lines with pencil. You will have 11 lines in between each foot, the 12th line being the next foot. Each one is an inch apart. Lines 3 and 9 of each foot I made 2 inches long. Line 6 on each foot (half inch) I made 3 inches long. Each foot line I made 4 inches long and the smaller lines in between them all were 1 inch long.
After all the lines are made, go back over them with a black paint pen. Then stencil in each number.
6. Let the paint dry and put a coat or two of polyurethane on, remember to lightly sand the ruler in between coats. Once that has dried, attach the hanger piece, and put it wherever your heart desires!
That’s it! Happy Measuring!
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