Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Yardstick of Life

When I was growing up, my parents would periodically measure us by marking our height on the doorjamb of their closet and then measuring that with a tape measure.  I remember loving to look back on how much I had grown.

We did something similar with our kids in our previous houses, but have had to leave them when we moved.  Apparently, you can't take a doorjamb with you.  Who knew?  I know we wrote down the numbers somewhere, but we may never find it and that makes me so sad!

I have wanted to make a growth chart for the kids forever, and have had the idea of making it look like a ruler for nearly forever, but only recently actually did it.  There are many tutorials on this, I'm sure, and many methods, but this is what I did.

1x6, cut to whatever length you wish.  Ours is six feet long.
stain or paint
rags and dropcloths
tape measure
painter's tape
carpenter's quick square {I just googled the name - I would have called it a triangle}
craft paint and brush
paint pen
number stencils or print outs from the computer

First, I protected my work area so the stain didn't get everywhere.  It was too cold to do this outside or in the workshop on sawhorses.  That would have definitely been optimal.

I used a wood conditioner to prepare the wood for stain {Minwax Jacobean, left over from another project}.  I like the end result a lot, but was really concerned that I had made a mistake early on.

Here's the board stained.  It was a little blotchy, even with the conditioner {which is supposed to keep that from happening}.  Make sure the get the sides!

It was a bit better after the second coat but not amazing.  I don't know why.  I decided to go ahead with it because I was going for a weathered old look anyway.  After it dried, I marked my lines with the triangle {or, according to google, the carpenter's quick square}.

Here's a better shot of that.  The lines over the dark stain are a little hard to see.  I marked the feet all the way across and made little tics at each inch.  I should say here that because I was planning to hang the board six inches off the ground, my first foot marking was actually at six inches from the bottom.  Get it?  Six inches plus inches make one foot.  You're welcome.

Then I taped either side of the pencil line, just eyeballing equal distance.

I used craft paint to paint my foot markers.

A paint pen made better inch marks.  I just taped the board so the marks would end at the same place.

I must have forgotten to take a picture of painting the numbers, but it was pretty easy.  I just printed off the numbers in a font and size I liked.  I think you could trace the numbers with a pencil and paint inside the lines, but I used the cut out paper as a stencil and painted inside with a foam brush.  They aren't perfect, but I think they're kind of charming.

 Finally, I bolted it to the wall.  I wanted an industrial look, so Handsome Hero picked up these galvanized washers and hex bolts.  I really dig the look.

We decided to put it right in the kid zone, next to Ella's bedroom door.  To get this picture, I'm sitting on the stairs coming down, so it's the first thing you see when you came into the basement.

And already christened with their measurements.

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