DIY Growth Chart

Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Important Background Story: My twin niece and nephew were turning 1 and I was on the hunt for a creative his&hers gift that they would use for awhile.  I spotted two adorable wooden growth charts at HomeGoods and grabbed them right away.  Before the party I added their names using colored sharpie paint pens.  They were a big hit!

So much of a success, in fact, that fast-forward 3 years, and a request was made for the first birthday gift for their little sister, Lily.  As all of you HomeGoods aficionados know, I knew there was no chance of finding another one (I still looked...big fat fail).  A quick online search of similar growth charts on Land of Nod and PBKids made me realize that I could make one for less than 1/2 the price.  

So here it is- my personalized growth chart tutorial! (And my first tutorial- be kind!)

I started with a trip to Lowes with the intent to have a piece of MDF cut to 4 ft long and maybe 6 inches wide.  Then I stumbled into the perfect size ready-to-go: 1 x 10 x 4'. Since it was real wood, it had knots, but I knew they'd be covered in paint and the price tag was only $7.  Perfect. I got two- one for the gift and one for Lu. :)

I used leftover spray paint for the base coat- the left is Zinsser Oil-Base Primer and the right is Rustoleum white lacquer.  The Zinsser covered a little better, but they both looked good. 

Don't forget to spray the edges too!  (I did forget on one. Annoying.). I let them dry overnight.

The inspiration for your design is totally up to you!  I used this adorable giraffe gift bag as inspiration for Lu's. I bought basic craft paint at Michaels's and used cheap sponge brushes and paint brushes I already owned.  If you have to buy all of this, it will cost about $10.  

Then, get painting!  Against all of my perfectionist tendencies, I knew this was going to look 'handmade' so I didn't worry about brush strokes or straight lines. Just breathe. :) 

After I finished the 'art' and let it dry it was time to turn it into an actual growth chart by adding inch-marks.  I used a tape measure and sharpie to mark each inch.  I made the mark at each foot twice as long.  

I planned to use oversized letters for feet numbers, since the top of the growth chart will be '5 feet' and the bottom will be '1 foot,' but you could easily number all inches.  Just make sure you take into consideration how high you want this off the floor (think about baseboards). 

I didn't have matching letter and number stencils, so I created a word document, chose a cute font (american typewriter), and enlarged to 200 pt.  Print and cut.  Next, trace around your stencils.  You may need to retrace your lines to make them straight (hello again, perfection) or just fill in the number/letter if it looks like a mess.  

Here are the finished products...

That's it!  Super easy, right?  If you have no supplies already on hand, the total cost of this project should easily be under $20.  Total time (excluding drying time) about 3 hours.  The options for personalization are endless- make it to match a nursery or playroom.

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