The first time I saw one of these over at a friend’s house I knew I had to make one. They are a practical way to measure the height of your children that you can take with you when you move instead of leave behind. It doesn’t hurt that they are also gorgeous works of art that you can proudly display in your home.
The one I saw at my girlfriends house used vinyl upright numbers and had vinyl hash marks to show the inches. I decided to put my own spin on it and use one of my favorite crafting tools — my woodburning pencil. Since I wanted it to look like a ruler I decided to put the numbers on their side. I think it turned out fantastic!
DIY 6 Foot Height Ruler Growth Chart
- Piece of wood that is 1 inch deep and at least 6 feet long [width and type can vary based on space and taste — I used a 6 foot 1 X 6 inch piece of pine]
- Sandpaper or electric sander
- Tape measure
- Hand or skill saw [unless you intend to use entire height of board]
- Carpenters Square [optional]
- Woodburning pencil, vinyl stickers, or paint pen
- Wood finish of choice [Beeswax, stain, polyvinyl, etc.]
- Sand – Use electric sander or sand paper.
- Measure – This step is the most important. Unless you plan on cutting out a part of your baseboards to hang it you need to measure the first foot on your height ruler by placing it on the wall where it will sit above the baseboard. See photos below.
- Cut – Use hand saw or skill saw to cut board/plank to the height you prefer. [We could have left it 6′ 2″ but we opted to trim it down to 6′.]
- Mark it off – Using a tape measure, ruler, pencil and carpenter’s square mark off the board. I choose to mark down to the 1/2″ but you can do it however your wish.
- I marked the feet, inches, and 1/2 inches because I wanted it to look like a ruler. At first I drew my foot marks all the way across, and made the inch marks an inch long. After messing with it for a while I decided to make the foot marks 2 inches long, the inch marks 1 inch long, and the 1/2 inch marks 1/2 inch long. Then I extended some of the inch marks to make the 1/2 foot marks 2 inches, and the 1/4 foot marks 1 1/2 inches. If you look at a ruler you’ll notice a similar sizing. Since I only used numbers for each foot, the different sizes of hash marks makes it much easier to read. It ended up looking perfect on the 6 foot long 1 X 6 I was working with.
- Stencil or place – If you are using a wood burner or a paint pen use a stencil to trace numbers for each foot mark on your height ruler. Alternatively you can place vinyl stickers or address numbers on the board for this step.
- Woodburn or paint — skip this step if you will be using vinyl stickers or address numbers. Using a woodburning pencil is really easy and fun. If you have never used one before practice a bit before you try your hand on your project. Be very careful — these get really hot!! I have provided an Amazon affiliate link to the one I use and love for your convenience. Walnut Hollow Woodburning Kit, Deluxe
- Finish – Rub beeswax on your board or use a stain and/or protective coat of choice and allow to dry. Use more than one coat if desired. [I used an oak stain and polyurethane 1 step finish because we had some left from a pantry shelf my husband built.]
- Hang — we used finishing nails in holes my husband pre-drilled that worked great, but feel free to hang it however you like.
This six-foot height ruler growth chart make a great keepsake and gift.
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Nell has over 20 years of experience working with children and is the founder of Rhythms of Play. She believes in the wonder of childhood, the power of the imagination, learning through play, and getting outside in all seasons! Learn more…