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DIY Ruler Growth Chart

There are a ton of tutorials on Ruler Growth Charts out there, I’m fully aware. I still decided to throw one more into the mix. I’m sure mine is no different than several others, but Brittany & I had a blast working on these bad boys and were so thrilled with how they turned out, I decided to share! So, if you’re interested, here’s what we did, along with a few tips we learned along the way!

Paint & brushes

The Process

1.       Buy a board. Mine is 9 inches wide.
2.    Cut your board to your desired height. We decided our kids would never grow more than 6’6” so we cut our board to 6 feet. It will hang 6 inches off the floor, allowing my ruler to go up to 6’6.” (Well, almost. You can blame my husband for the missing 1/2 inch.)

3.    Stain your board. I read somewhere that you are supposed to sand it first or the stain won’t stick. I’m sure this rule is specific to a certain type of wood. I did not sand and I was thrilled with just one coat of stain. We used this Dark Walnut stain.

4.     Decide on a stencil. We checked several stores and could not find what we’d envisioned so decided to make our own. We printed our numbers (1-6) using Century Font and sized it as big as a ½ sheet of computer paper. Then we went through the tedious process of cutting them out. If you can find a stencil you like, you’re going to save SO MUCH TIME. My advice: don’t settle on a stencil you don’t love just to save time! You’ll be glad you spent the extra time to get exactly the look you love. Your other option is to order vinyl online. There are several places you can order vinyl stickers specifically designed for this project. Just Google, “ruler growth chart vinyl.” I wanted the painted look, and also wanted to save money, so we decide against the vinyl option.
5.     Measure & mark your board. This is the important part! We are going to hang our board 6 inches off the ground, so our first foot mark was only 6 inches up the board.

First I measured each foot mark, starting 6 inches up and going every 12 inches from there. I used a piece of cardboard to make sure each line was the same length and sketched it with a pen.

Then I went back and marked the 3”, 6”, & 9” mark between each foot. I thought three lines between was enough (as opposed to 11 extra lines - one for each inch). I used the same process with a marked piece of cardboard to make sure each line was the same length, and used the 90 degree angle of the cardboard to make sure the lines were perfectly perpendicular to the edge of the board.

When it’s painted, with just three lines between the foot marks, it will look like this.

6.    Trace your Numbers. Place your stencils at the foot marks you’ve made. To make sure my numbers were evenly spaced, I folded my paper in half (horizontally) and made a mark on the fold.

Then I lined up the mark with the dashes. This way I knew the stencil was perfectly aligned with the corresponding dash.

I also used my same handy dandy cardboard I used before to make sure the numbers were perfectly spaced from the edge of the board. I lined up the right side of each number the same distance from the right side of the board. 

Repeat this step with all of your stencils!

7.     Paint your dashes & numbers. Obviously, if you have a stencil, you can just dab your paint into it and whiz through. We didn’t have this luxury so we carefully & painstakingly filled in each number and detailed each straight edge with a tiny paintbrush. IT TOOK FOREVER.

You can probably use any type of paint you have around. I used leftover wall paint from the endless renovations currently ensuing in my home. It is a high gloss bright white.

8.    Poly it! The final step will be to add a polyurethane finish. This will protect your wood & paint from scratching. Here’s the poly we happened to have laying around. {The photo above of the final product does not yet have polyurethane}.

And voila! You’ve got yourself a BEAUTIFUL ruler growth chart. This one is for Beckett’s first birthday. I can’t wait to mark it all up!
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