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DIY Wooden Growth Charts for Kids

DIY Wooden Growth Charts for Kids

The Quest for the Elusive Inch

Did you know it’s scientifically proven that kids grow an inch every time you blink? Okay, maybe that isn’t actually a fact, but I think my kids are out to prove it’s true. I swear they each grew a foot over the summer, so I decided to tackle a project that’s been on my to-do list for a while – a wooden growth chart.

I chose to make it out of wood rather than on a wall or door frame so that it can grow and adapt along with us and all of life’s stages. It was actually very simple to pull together, and all you need are a few materials and a little bit of time.

Preparing the Canvas

Before we can get to any of the fun stuff, it’s important to properly prepare the wood. First, I sanded it in the direction of the grain to even out any rough spots. Then, I wiped it down with a rag to remove the sawdust.

I laid out a drop cloth if you need or chose an area where I could apply the finish without worrying about dripping. I placed the board on top of a few cans so it was easier to paint the sides. At this point, you can choose to apply a paint color, but I like the look of the natural wood. If you decide to paint, apply a couple of coats and allow them time to dry. Then, seal it with a layer of polycrylic.

I applied two coats of polycrylic on the top and all sides, then let it dry for 72 hours to fully cure before applying the decals. Patience is a virtue, right?

Marking the Milestones

After waiting a couple of days, it’s time to apply the vinyl decals to create the ruler appearance. Before you begin sticking them on, we have to do a little measurement math. Take into consideration how much clearance you need from the floor to the base of the wood on your growth chart and alter the vinyl tick marks to match. Mine will start six inches from the bottom.

Measure six inches from the bottom of the wood and then mark every 12 inches up. Each strip of decals measures exactly 12 inches to make application easy. Simply peel off the backing of the decals and line up the biggest vinyl tick mark at the one-foot line, which is technically six inches from the bottom of the board. Lightly press the decal on and continue up the board in one-foot increments until the top. Cut the last decal strip in half to use for the top and bottom six inches. You can remove the very lowest strip if it is right on the edge of the board.

Press every vinyl piece down with a plastic card and remove any bubbles. Then, peel off the white paper. Next up, the numbers. Choose how you want to orient the numbers – I like them vertical – and then repeat the same process to apply them. I marked the center of the number on the backing to make it easy to center on the tick mark.

You can also apply another thin layer of polycrylic on top to really secure the decals in place. This is optional, but I want this to last forever.

Hanging the Chart

Once that is dry (no need to wait 72 hours this time), turn it over to attach a sawtooth hanger at the top. Find and mark the center of the board two inches down, then line up the center of the sawtooth hanger with the center mark on the wood and tap the nails into place.

Time to put it on the wall! Find a stud to put the nail into or use a drywall anchor. It isn’t very heavy, but you don’t want it crashing down if it’s bumped because, you know, kids are kids. This is a two-person job – have one person measuring six inches up from the bottom and another person marking the top. Then, measure the hanger placement and tap the nail into place. Don’t forget to double-check your measurements and make sure it’s accurate.

Preserving the Memories

Now for the fun part – adding your kids’ measurements! If you’ve done regular well-visits at the doctor’s office, you’ll have a yearly record of their height. Even if you lost the printable they give you, call your pediatrician’s office and ask for another. This means you can add the heights retroactively.

If you haven’t had regular doctor’s visits, you probably won’t be able to add past heights, but that’s fine. Starting now is the next best option. I have a different Sharpie color for each kid, and I’ll mark their height from each year. Making one mark per year on their birthday is something manageable to do and makes it easy to see growth at a glance. Now, I can see if they really are growing like weeds or if that’s just my imagination. I wish it was!

If you don’t already mark your kids’ heights, and even if you do, this wooden growth chart is exactly what you need to preserve those fleeting memories. It’s a simple project that can be customized to fit your space and your family’s needs. Plus, it’s a great way to involve your little ones in the creative process.

A Timeless Keepsake

Wooden growth charts are not only practical but also a beautiful and timeless keepsake. They can be passed down through generations, capturing the precious moments of your children’s lives. The natural beauty of the wood and the personalized touch make it a unique and meaningful addition to any home.

Whether you decide to paint it or leave the wood natural, the DIY process is straightforward and rewarding. With a few basic materials and a bit of patience, you can create a growth chart that will grow along with your family, serving as a visual reminder of how quickly time flies.

So, if you’re looking for a project that combines practicality, sentimentality, and a touch of creativity, a DIY wooden growth chart is the perfect solution. Head on over to Timber Building to find the supplies you need to get started on this cherished family heirloom.

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