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   Make your own hand-painted growth chart Posted by Chica 
March 7, 2008 
Chica
 

Toolbox

  • long piece of smooth wood (6' x 6" x 1")
  • wall / trim paint
  • acrylic paint
  • brushes

When my friend’s little girl became a toddler and started growing like a weed, we knew it was time to track her growth, and we brainstormed to figure out how best to do it. Most of us have the fond memory of marking our height on a door frame in the house where we grew up, and it’s quite nostalgic to look back at it over the years (I have such a chart in my garage from the family who lived here before and I refuse to paint over it). But these days people don’t stay in one house their whole lives and you can’t really take a door frame with you, so we need a portable — yet sturdy — solution. I solved my friend’s problem by surprising her with a hand-painted wooden growth chart that she could mount on the wall.

growth chartSure, you can just buy a growth chart. They sell them everywhere. My problem with the ones that I see in stores are that they are either too short, too flimsy, or just plain ugly! In addition, it’s nice to have them personalized with the child’s name. Plus I prefer homemade over store-bought crafts almost all of the time, so I just had to make this for that sweet little girl.

I started with a trip to the local home improvement store where I picked up a simple piece of wood that was 6 feet long, 6 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. Look in the “nice” wood section (not the construction lumber) and you can easily find a nice piece of pine for just a few dollars.

I took the wood home and decided how I would mark it. I knew I didn’t want my friend to have to put the board all the way on the floor because the baseboard would make that hard to do. I decided the board should be mounted one foot above the floor. That means that my first mark at the bottom of the board would be at 1 foot, and I had enough room to take it all the way to a 6 foot mark at the top. I decided I wanted an inch or two of blank space above the 6 and below the 1, so that means my entire board needed to be 5 feet, 4 inches long. I took it to the garage and made a quick cut and I was all set. (I certainly could have kept the entire 6 feet of length, but I decided to trim it a bit.)

growth chartAfter a quick light sanding, I painted the entire board white on both sides, using some leftover trim paint I had. I then marked all my measurements with a ruler and a pencil. I put the #1 mark 2 inches from the bottom and marked every inch and foot from there on up to the top, where I finished with the #6. I then painted over the pencil lines with acrylic paint.

Next was the fun part — painting the design! I started with large block letters that spelled out Emily’s name which I outlined in blue and then filled in with pink. I then decorated the top and bottom with lots of tiny flowers and leaves. For simple flowers, just make 5 round petals and put a dot in the middle. For the leaves, just a quick swish with a paintbrush will do it.

The finished growth chart now hangs in Emily’s room and has lots of markings on it, measuring what a big girl she’s turning out to be… she’s up to 38 inches so far!

11 comments so far:

  1. Molly Merrifield said: (May 19th, 2011 at 1:46 pm)

    I love this idea! I was wanting to paint my kid’s growth charts directly on the wall, but I know we aren’t going to live in this house forever and I wanted to do something more permenant. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this on my own! Very cute :)

  2. Chica said: (May 19th, 2011 at 3:58 pm)

    Thanks, Molly. It would be heartbreaking to have to leave those growth measurements behind!

  3. Vicki Brown said: (June 8th, 2011 at 5:16 pm)

    My son is a single father and asked for a growth chart for his son. I painted the board a pale blue and then let my 2 1/2 year old grandson finger paint with a darker blue. I am finishing the chart with his name, stars and the measurement markings. My grandson will give the chart to his dad on father’s day. It will be very special for my son and my grandson will know that he helped make it. It’s a very easy and special project. THANKS!!

  4. Chica said: (June 8th, 2011 at 6:25 pm)

    Vicki, that sounds wonderful! We’d love to see a photo after you’re done :)

  5. Shira said: (December 12th, 2011 at 6:29 pm)

    This is a lovely idea. I’ve been searching high and low (and in between) for a portable growth chart for my almost-four-year-old, and have been pretty unimpressed with the offerings, especially since my daughter has some very clear ideas on what she likes and doesn’t like (at least for this particular week… ;) ). This way I can give her a growth chart with ladybugs AND butterflies, and make sure all her favorite colors are included. Thanks!!

  6. Chica said: (December 12th, 2011 at 6:43 pm)

    So glad we inspired you to create a custom chart, Shira. We’d love to see a photo when you’re done!

  7. Suzanne said: (December 26th, 2011 at 11:26 pm)

    Maybe I missed it, I’m tired and it’s late :) But why do you paint the 1″ mark 2″ from the bottom? I want to make one of these for my baby by her first birthday – but that’s in 14 days! Hopefully my dad will help so I can knock it out and start using it from then on :)

  8. Suzanne said: (December 26th, 2011 at 11:27 pm)

    Ok I think I get it now, you mean 1 foot – 1′, but I see double quotes like 1″ above so it confused the heck out of me! But I re-read and see what you mean now. Starting at 1 foot. Ok, got it :)

  9. Chica said: (December 27th, 2011 at 7:03 am)

    Suzanne, I’m sorry for the confusion, but I see what happened. I was trying to refer to the “1″ mark, meaning the number 1, but I put quotes around it, so it made it look like 1 inch. I went back and changed it to #1 in the directions to hopefully make it clearer. Good luck with your growth chart!

  10. Barbara Lowe said: (August 19th, 2012 at 11:14 pm)

    I have been wanting to recreate the growth chart of my girls to use as a comparison for when their children are growing up. And it has to be portable! Thank you for coming up with such a great idea! I know what Grandma’s baby gift will be from now on!

  11. Chica said: (August 20th, 2012 at 6:47 am)

    Barbara, that’s a great idea to make it the standard Grandma gift. I’m sure your kids will love the tradition.

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