Thursday, March 27, 2014

DIY Ruler Growth Chart

It seems like these are all the rage! They are all over the blogosphere and honestly, I can see why. THEY ARE SO EASY! No really. E.A.S.Y. And they can be done over time without a lot of supplies, so you don't have to worry about your project junking up the dining room or garage or wherever you get your craft on.

  • 6'x6"x1" Board. You can find these at ANY home improvement store. Look for one with some fun knots. I got mine at Lowes for under $7.
  • Small Can O' Stain. The stain manufacturers want you to think that stain is like paint. It's not. Go small. You'll seriously thank yourself later for not dropping a nice chunk of change on a big can you'll never finish. I used Early American 230 by Minwax 8oz.
  • Brush and Cloth for Staining. I used a foam brush to apply the stain and then wiped excess with an old kitchen towel.
  • Pencil.
  • Scissors.
  • Black Sharpie Marker.
  • This FANTASTIC Template. (This is a Microsoft Publisher file. Every time I tried to convert it to pdf or xps, my page would shrink and not maintain the correct measurements. Since it is a tracing template, I assumed you'd want the template to be correct.)
  1. Stain your board. If you've never stained anything before, this is a great time to learn and make mistakes. Stain is pretty user friendly as long as you aren't in direct sunlight (the sun will warm your wood and make your stain a bit tricky to work with). Simply paint on and then wipe off the excess. I let my stain rest about 5 minutes before wiping. You might want to start with the sides or the ends to see if you like the color stain that you chose. Some woods suck up stain faster than others, so just make sure you are getting the color you want. If you aren't happy, try applying a wood conditioner first that will enable the wood to absorb a more accurate color. I probably applied 3 coats. And because I have 2 littles, I didn't wait between coats. If it felt dry, that was good enough for me. If you're planning to stain furniture, be a bit more picky! Out of my 8oz can, I probably have about 4oz left.
  2. Print out the DIY Ruler Growth Chart Template. The font for the numbers is Century 200pt (almost 2" tall). As for the notches, I used 4 different lengths and made them as chunky as the numbers so they would appear proportionate.
  3. Start with notches. Cut along the dotted yellow line. You'll need to decide where you want to start numbering. I started 6" up from the end of the board as my 1' mark. This will allow me to hang the board on the wall above the baseboards. It also allows me a few more inches above the 6' mark at the top (though I doubt any of our kids will come close to six feet tall). When you decide where you want your 1' mark, grab the notches print out! Turn it over on the back and scribble (with pencil) across each of the notches. Now turn the paper right side over and line up your desired 1' mark with the FOOT notch. The dotted yellow line should be flush with the edge of the board. Hold your paper steady and simply trace around each of the notches. This will transfer the scribbled pencil on to your board so that you can go back later and color them in with your Sharpie. You'll need to keep an eye out for HALF FOOT and FOOT notches, but the 5 shorter lines in between repeat just fine no matter what order. I found it easiest to simply mark all the HALF FOOT and FOOT marks first, then go back and fill in the 5 middle notches.
  4. Now onto the numbers! Each number has a solid line running through it. These solid lines divide up your number so that it aligns properly with the numbers above and below it on your board. For my board, I centered my numbers 3/4" away from the foot notches. I've marked those in red dotted lines. You could space them further at 1" away, noted in blue dotted lines. Turn your numbers over and scribble away. Turn the paper right side over, align end of foot marks with either red or blue dotted lines and the horizontal solid line, and trace.
  5. Finally, the most exciting part! Color in all of your traced lines with a nice Sharpie!
TADA! See, I told you it was easy!


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