DIY Wooden Growth Chart Tutorial

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I’ve been seeing wooden growth charts everywhere lately, and I LOVE the idea. Pinterest, Etsy… they are all over the place, and they are so incredibly cute. I think it’s fabulous that since they are made of wood, they are more durable and will last forever. Plus, they look more like the kind of decor I’d like to have in my house for the long haul, not just during the baby years. I had been debating whether or not to buy one to use for my son and then to keep as art once he’s done growing (omg he’s not allowed to grow anymore!). But as usual, I was NOT willing to pay full retail price to have one made for me, so I did it myself! Here’s how:

Crafting level: Beginner

Here’s what you’ll need:

Click the links anywhere in this post and you’ll be taken to where you can get more information on the products I used, and even purchase them.

Step 1: Decide what style and colors you’d like to go for. There are literally hundreds of great options. Do a quick Pinterest or Etsy search for ideas if you’re stuck. I decided to go with more neutral and natural colors, that way it will go with whatever decor our house evolves into. That being said, there really are some great bright and stylized options out there.

Step 2: Buy/obtain your wood. I sent the hubs to our local Lowe’s and told him to get me a 6 foot piece of wood that I could use as a growth chart. He came home with a 6ft x 6in x 1in (ish) piece of wood. Something along those lines should work just fine… you could even go green and use salvaged wood.

Step 3: Sand your wood. This is very important! If you don’t, it will be rough and splintery and you will have a harder time applying the stain or paint. Just grab your sand paper and rub WITH THE GRAIN until you’re satisfied with how smooth it is.20140427_102044

Step 4: Use a microfiber towel, regular towel or an old sock to wipe off the excess dust off your wood so it won’t have chunks in the stain or paint.

Step 5: Time to give it some color! If you’ve chosen to go with paint, or some other theme, do your thing! If you’re going with a stain, use an old towel or old sock to apply a single layer of stain. Make sure to get the sides. Let it soak in for 5-15 minutes, then come back with a clean towel or sock and wipe off any excess stain that has not soaked in. If you leave any excess on, the wood will remain sticky and will not dry properly. Now, let dry for at least 12 hours. If you wish to make it darker, you can repeat this process 2-3 more times or until the wood will not absorb any more.

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Note: after this step, I decided to do alternating darker and lighter sections every foot. To do this, I used painter’s tape and taped off every other foot. I then applied two extra layers of stain to every other section using the instructions above. Once dry, I peeled off the tape and was left with this:

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Step 6: Time to deal with the numbers. If using a stencil and paint, skip this step. If you have wood numbers, you may opt for stain or paint, or natural. For any of these three options, be sure to sand them down first! Then, if staining, follow the same process as outlined in step 5. If painting, apply as many coats of paint as needed to cover the wood entirely (unless you’ve got a different look you’re going for). Always let dry completely between coats!

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Step 7: Let’s make it look like a unit of measurement and add on some lines. Using a ruler, tape measure, etc., mark off every inch (and every half inch if you’d like) with a pencil up the entire length of one side of your board. Then, go back with a skinny paint brush and paint (or an awesome paint pen), and paint over your pencil marks.

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Step 8: If you are using a stencil and paint, place (and tape, if you have it) the stencil over where you want your number. Paint over the stencil, and let it dry before trying to remove it. Repeat for all 6 numbers. If you have separate wood numbers that have dried after their stain or paint application, attach using wood glue or craft glue. Put enough on so that it will properly adhere, but not so much that it oozes out the sides and looks sloppy. Repeat for all 6 numbers.

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Step 9: Once your glue or paint has dried completely, flip the board over to attach a hanging device. I enlisted the help of the hubs for this since I did not plan ahead and buy the proper brackets ahead of time. We scoured the garage and used what we had on hand, but you can find some here. Using a drill or screwdriver, place both screws through each side of the sawtooth hanger. For stability, you may want to put two side by side along the top so that it will not swivel once hung. Since we were only working with what we could find, we put one sawtooth hanger centered on the top, and applied adhesive strips along the middle and bottom.

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Step 10: Hang up on the wall using a screw (or whatever you’ve managed to rig up), and enjoy your beautiful piece of functional art!

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Is there something you’ve always wanted to make but never knew how? Comment below and tell me what kind of tutorial you’d like to see!

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