Thursday, November 24, 2011

Growing Like a Weed: DIY Instructions for a Growth Chart

Buying things for babies always proves difficult for me.  I have a need to be somewhat practical, but also a desire to give something creative and meaningful.  What do you buy them when they already have everything they need?  Do they really need another toy that they'll outgrow in six months?  What does another outfit really do for them?  But I don't want to give overly practical gifts like savings bonds (although I'm sure would be much appreciated about fifteen years down the line).

When these children are my nieces, all of these needs are heightened.  I want to give something cool, but nothing that just anyone would give them.

Then, scrolling through a friend's facebook I found my solution: a growth chart.  It was simple, inexpensive, and something that is meaningful.

To make your own growth chart you will need:
6" x 6' board - I used pine (did you know that a 6" board is actually 5 1/2"?)
Sand paper
Spray paint
Ruler, yardstick, or tape measure
Acrylic paint
Paint brushes

For lettering and numbers:
Printed text and tracing paper (or a stencil)

First sand the board.  Next, spray paint it- first adding a sparse coat to help the paint stick to the board.  Then spray an even coat over the board.

A light, sparse coat will help the paint stick the the board.


Once the board dries, use a tape measure to mark the measurements.  I marked both sides of the tape measure, then went back through making each line an inch long (the ruler I use to cut fabric with was great for this).  Mark enough lines to start the measurements just under a foot (so that the number 1 will be on the board) and to finish just over six feet (or if you're using a 4 foot board you could start the board around a foot and a half and go to around five feet).

Print out the name and numbers, and trace them using graphite .  (I liked this way better because I wasn't limited to the fonts and sizes at the craft store, but it was more time consuming and took a very steady hand when painting).

Paint the lines, making the lines at each foot slightly longer than the other lines.  Paint the numbers and name.  Add a design if desired (I used a design based on a fabric I used for another project for her birthday- more to come on that project later).

Voila- growth chart!  A great baby shower gift, first birthday present, or Christmas gift.

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