Homemade Ruler Growth Chart

When I was a kid, tick marks on a door jamb were the traditional way of measuring a child’s growth. Back then, when you bought a house, you lived in it until your kids were grown – maybe even longer.

Nowadays, families move more often, and you can’t take the door jamb with you… at least not easily. I wanted a growth chart that would look nice in my home, but also be something that I could take with me when we, eventually, move on to a new house.

I saw an amazing ruler growth chart on the wall of a friend’s home. I was in awe – and when she told me she had made it, my jaw hit the floor. She assured me that it was easy and that I could do it myself.

I decided to research it on Pinterest and make it part of my Pinterest Challenge.

Searching Pinterest for “ruler growth chart” resulted in lots of different options. You can go traditional, or decorate yours with color, pattern, quotes, etc. The possibilities really are endless.

I wanted mine to look like the ruler I used when I was in school, so we went traditional. In the end, I compiled steps from several different pins to create mine. For example, some pins suggest using stencils or stamps for the numbers, but I chose to use a chalk-based technique that allowed me far more flexibility in choosing the font and size of the numbers on my ruler.

I also included instructions for hanging it on the wall. That seems simple, but if you want the growth chart to be accurate for measuring, you have to start the numbering at 1/2 foot and hang it so that the bottom of the ruler is 1/2 foot from the floor.

In the end, it really is fairly easy to make. It doesn’t require expert crafting skills (otherwise I would have been out of luck). It takes some time, but the end result is something to be proud of.

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Ruler Growth Chart

Printable Instructions (without pictures)


Supplies

Staining the Wood

  • Wood (1’x6′ or 1’x8′ flat board. I used 1’x8′ because I have higher ceilings)
  • Stain
  • Brush or rags for applying stain
  • Rubber gloves
  • Drop cloth

Painting the Lines and Numbers

  • Measuring tape (long enough to easily mark the wood)
  • Pencil
  • Straight edge
  • Black paint pen (or black paint and paint brush)
  • Printed numbers (we used Book Antiqua 300 pt font) or number stencils
  • Chalk (if using printed numbers)
  • Damp cloth or paper towel

Hanging the Ruler

  • Saw-tooth picture hanger
  • Picture hook
  • Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Hammer

Instructions

Staining the Wood

  1. Stain your wood following the instructions on the container.
  2. Let the stain dry completely.

Painting the Lines

Notes:

  • To account for the space between the floor and the ruler (when hanging on the wall), we started our ruler at ½ foot. When hanging it on the wall, hang it so that the bottom of the ruler is ½ foot from the floor, making it accurate for measuring.
  • The lengths of the lines on a traditional ruler vary, so be sure to consider that as you make your pencil lines.
  1. Using a pencil, draw lines at every inch (mimicking the varying lines of a ruler).
  2. Draw or paint over the pencil marks using a paint pen or a paint brush.

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Painting the Numbers

  1. When the lines are dry, turn over your printed numbers and color in the back using a piece of chalk. This doesn’t have to be perfect, but you need to make sure that the edges of the number are completely covered with chalk.
  2. When the lines are dry, place the paper number 1 on the ruler where you want the number to be. You may want to use a piece of painters tape to hold the number in place.
  3. Using your pencil, trace the number 1 so that the chalk transfers to the wood.
  4. Trace the chalk number with a pencil.
  5. Using a damp cloth or paper towel, wipe away the excess chalk. You don’t need to remove every trace of it, just enough to make sure that your paint will adhere.
  6. Using your paint pen or paint/paint brush, trace and fill in the chalk number outline.
  7. Repeat steps 5-7 for each of the other numbers.

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Hanging the Ruler on the Wall

  1. When all of the numbers are dry, turn the wood over, and make a pencil mark in the center of the wood 6 inches from the top.
  2. Center the bottom of the saw-tooth picture hanger on that pencil mark, make sure it is level, and nail it into place.
  3. Using a picture hook with a ¼” drop (meaning that the ruler, when hung on the hook, will be ¼” lower than where the nail goes into the wall), measure 96 ¼” inches from the floor (for an 8″ ruler) or  72 ¼” inches from the floor (for a 6″ ruler).
  4. Hammer the picture hook into place.

Notes:

  • You should be able to find the “drop” measurement on the package for your picture hook. If you are using a picture hook with a different “drop,” update the measurements accordingly.
  • These measurements account for the fact that we started the markings on the ruler at ½ foot, we placed the picture hanger 6 inches from the top, and we used a picture hook with a ¼” drop.

8.5 feet * 12 inches – 6 inches + ¼” = 96 ¼”


Comments

  1. says

    I mark heights on a cabinet, so it’s come with us when we moved.
    On a different note, your blog had a height predictor through Parents.com. It predicted Joseph would reach 6’3″!!!!! I love adoption! Otherwise, I would’ve passed on my short genes! We’ll look funny together when he gets older. A 4’11” mom with a 6’3″ son!

    • says

      A cabinet is a good idea – especially for someone who makes furniture… 😉

      I was joking the other day that both of my boys will likely be taller than me, my sister and my parents within a couple of years. 😀

  2. says

    In college, my roommate and I used to measure ourselves against our dorm room jamb because we had heard that your spine compresses during the day, and you’re supposed to be shorter in the evening. We wanted to find out if it was true. I was consistently 4’11 3/4″ in the morning, and 4’11” flat in the evenings.

  3. says

    That is SO cute! I love it! I have been wanting to get a growth chart for my son- maybe I’ll make this! I remember when I was little & we moved out of the house I grew up in {until I was 6} & the thing I was the saddest about leaving was my “growth chart” on the door frame.

  4. says

    Adorable. I was doing the kids on the wall but then we moved. I marked their heights on a box so I could remark it here, but somehow the box never made it. 🙁 I’m still sad about that one.

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