May 6, 2012

giant ruler growth chart!

<<< psst! you can see a full list of my diy projects here! >>>

see our giant ruler growth chart featured on disney's spoonful.com

time : minutes...hours
difficulty : ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
hazards : headache from stain fumes, frustration at inability to draw straight line
would i do it again? : yes!

this giant ruler growth chart was fun and easy to do. best of all -- since we don't think this will be our forever-house -- we can take it with us wherever we move!

...but NOW i've got to get hopping on painting the upstairs hallway before i can hang it. just another thing to add to my to-do list...urg!

   > 6' x 6" x 1" board
         ...or whatever tall, thin piece of ruler-esque lumber you have laying around!
   > sandpaper: 220- and 120-grit
   > stain: we used minwax golden pecan
   > pencil
   > ruler or measuring tape
   > paint pen
   > number stencils: i used 2" stencils
   > scotch tape
   > black acrylic paint
   > paintbrush or stencil brush

01. sand the board: we first used 220-grit, then followed with 120-grit.

02. wipe the board down to remove any residual dust from sanding.

03. stain: we did two coats of minwax golden pecan. each layer was left on for 15min before wiping down.

04. use a ruler and pencil to mark 1" increments up the left side of the board. i started at 6" because i planned to hang the board 6" from the floor.
i imitated an actual ruler in that the quarter-foot marks (3", 6", 9") are a bit longer. i made each foot marker the longest.

05. trace over the pencil marks with a paint pen. i went over them again after they dried to make them nice and dark.

06. scotch tape the number stencils next to each corresponding foot marker.

07. using your brush, dab the paint over each stencil.

remove stencils, let dry, and...TA-DA! 

be sure to let me know if this inspired you to make a growth chart - i love to see the tweaks people put on their own diy projects!

p.s. we finally hung our growth chart!
you can see the post about it here!

* mari

reader submission:
take a look at how fantastic rachel's ruler growth chart turned out!

Kiwi Crate Craft Kits


  1. Thanks for this tutorial....I am gathering ideas to make a ruler for my grandson!

    1. hi anne, thanks so much - i'd love to see it when it's completed!

  2. Hi there! Stumbled across your blog and love it, especially love how your DIY growth chart turned out!
    A few months back I asked my husband to help me make one for our boys and we had fun preparing the board, but got stuck on creating a neat, professional way to put on numbers and tick marks. We tried numerous methods, and weren't happy with any of them, so decided to design a DIY vinyl decal that you can just transfer onto the board and were finally happy with it!
    Since then, knowing how popular this project is, we actually opened a shop on Etsy to sell the decals for other DIY-ers who wanted to make a board but didn't have the creativity or time to hand draw out or stencil numbers and tick marks. If you'd like to take a look, or recommend the shop in your post to others who might be frustrated by the same step as an option, it's: www.etsy.com/shop/LittleAcornsByRo
    Maybe it will be a help to others out there!
    Thanks and best wishes!

    1. thank you ro! great shop, i added it to my favorites. :)

  3. Am following your tutorial but also adding my sons name. I love seeing Adonis all over everything.

    1. great idea, anonymous! i'd love to see it when you're finished!

  4. Love this! It looks pretty easy too. I was just wondering what size stain you used for two coats of that sized board. I cant imagine that I'd need a full gallon. I love the tutorial and can't wait to try it (hopefully in the coming week)!

    1. I'd also like to know how you mounted it! Thanks so much!

    2. hi shannon! no, no, don't get a gallon! we didn't even get a quart. we got the tiny tuna-can sized container. you don't need much stain at all.

      as for mounting, fish used four L-brackets. after measuring the correct spots to drill, he screwed two L-brackets into the wall at the top of where the ruler would hang -and- two L-brackets at the bottom. The four brackets (two at top, two at bottom) extended from the wall to kind of "hug" the ruler at top and bottom. then, when the ruler was in place, he screwed up *into* the ruler and the bottom and down into the ruler at the top.

      ...does that make sense? i can try to draw it out, if needed. :)

      please let me know when you've finished, i'd love to see it!

    3. I just found your tutorial. I would love the illustration on how you hang it. I plan on doing this over the Thanksgiving holiday. Thanks for the detailed explanation.

  5. Awe, I don't know how to post pics on in the comment section but I made a ruler using your tutorial as a reference. Turned out really cute!! I used mustard colored stain for an old school look. I love it. Thanks.

    1. hi rene, i got your picture and included it in my post -- it turned out fantastic! i love the mustard stain. :)

  6. I have recorded my son's growth from birth to adulthood. I have intended to transfer the markings to an oak board. Now I record my granddaughters growth on the same chart only in bright pink sharpie instead of black. She loves seeing how close she comes to his mark for each birthday. She may be a little taller this year!

  7. thats not a 6x6x1, its longer...hence the extra length above the 6 foot mark

    1. Hi there, the board is 6 feet long. The measurement doesn't start at the bottom at 0". It starts at 6" because we hung it 6" from the floor. Because we started the ruler's measurement at 0.5 feet, the ruler extends to 6.5 feet.


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