Save $$ DIY Growth chart !
For those of you with young children, I’m sure you’ve seen the large, wooden growth charts for sale at street festivals and on Etsy. The nice ones are not cheap.
For those of you with grown children, you may remember standing your child by the door frame and marking their growth with the Sharpie marker. Super fun way to record their growth.
For those of you with grandchildren, this is a great present!
And I will tell you how to do it.
The growth charts I liked best on Esty cost about $70 or more. They’d taken a pine board stained it, painted on numbers, the child’s name, and birth info. Then charged $70 plus shipping.
I could do that myself. And for only the cost of the board. I had stain and paint.
So I bought a board. It was 1″ (thick) x 6″ (wide) x 6′ (long). Select Pine: with no knots, no sway or bow.
$18-$20 per board. Mine: $20
My guy and I have four grown children between us. His two have six children between them. My two have three children between them. We have nine grandchildren. The older six are all in school. The younger three are toddlers.
When Jack was one year old, my daughter had asked me about the growth chart. I bought the board and began looking at what color of stain, size of script, and type of font she wanted.
I started with her son’s chart (after all, she’d been the first to ask), with plans to make more for the others if they were interested. There are two boards pictured here, but I only used one.
I sanded the surface front and back and all edges with a palm sander. I used a medium grit for the first pass, followed by a fine grit for the last. I wiped off the dust with a damp rag and let dry 3-4 minutes.
Then, I stained both sides. She wanted this to blend with their furniture, which leans toward dark woods, so I chose a dark walnut.
I didn’t have stain on hand—as I’d thought.
I didn’t have any poly spray for the finish on hand—as I’d thought.
All I had was tape, sand paper, and . . . after avoiding this for a year . . . I wanted to get this done–NOW!
We live nearly an hour’s drive to the nearest Home Depot, so I found myself looking through our local seed & feed store. I couldn’t find the Minwax which I prefer, so I bought another brand. In the future, I’ll go back to Minwax. The substitute worked fine, it’s just the stain color wasn’t as deep. It took me 5-6 coats to get it as dark as I wanted. The shot below shows one coat on the left and four coats on the right.
Next, I marked off for feet and inches. I used blue painters tape that was 1″ wide.
I taped marks for each foot, quarter-foot, and inch. I made the foot marks longest, then the quarter-foot marks a little shorter than the foot marks, and the inch marks were the shortest. I’d tell you exactly how long each mark was, but I’ve already delivered this to Jack, so can’t measure. My foot marks were about 2 inches long. The inch marks were about one inch long. The board is six inches wide. Just look at how you want yours to fit best and go with what you like.
I started the first inch mark at the bottom since the board would be mounted on the wall six inches from the floor, well above the width of most baseboards. As you will see below, that end of the board will actually be 6 inches from the floor.
Important to note: See how I wrapped the mark lines around the edge? That’s a more professional look, I think. Also, look at the corners of the wood itself. I sanded those pretty well. Not so deeply they became beveled, but took the sharpness of the edges off. I like that better, too.
I used a Sharpie Paint Pen I picked up at Hobby Lobby to makes the black marks on the stained wood. I bought peel off, stick on script there as well for the text. They have a lot to choose from, but getting the font I wanted for the numerals was more difficult. I looked at Staples, Office Depot, Target, and finally found what I wanted at Michael’s. It was a stencil I traced at each foot mark.
I first used the Sharpie Paint Pen for the numerals, but it didn’t fill in like I wanted. It looked liked it had been colored. I pulled out some acrylic paints I have and hand-painted each number in black. It turned out perfect.
For the script, I used two different fonts and colors. Cut out the individual letters you’ll need for your text and carefully place it on your board. I used a level to tape more blue painters tape so my text was even and level.
Jack was 19″ long when he was born. His birth date is even with the 19″ mark above. I gave her a Sharpie Paint Pen in white to record his future growth.
After everything had a chance to dry, I sprayed it with flat polyurethane. The back received two coats with a light, steel wool (#0000 grade) sanding in between. The front received four coats with a light sanding in between the first three coats. I had trouble with Jack’s “J” coming unstuck on one tip. I pressed it down with my finger and resprayed a touch of poly to hold it. It worked well.
Now for the cost. After everything I had to buy: pine board (Select grade), stencils, stains, spray poly, and pens…I had about $70 in my project.
She’d asked me for this when he was 1. It took 3 days from start to finish to get it made and let things dry. Plus I had to keep going to the store to get something I thought I already had.
Overall? It cost me $70 and took me 1 year and 3 days. I could order one on Etsy for $70 and get it in a week.
But!! Jack has a growth chart that says, “With love from Grandpa and Zu-Zu” on the back.
Until next time. Be sweet!