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How I made our Distressed Family Growth Chart

Growing up we always looked forward to standing up against the door frame at my dad's house and measuring ourselves to see who was beating who height wise. It was a wonderful marker of years of memories. When my dad passed away we could not remove the frame. It was so upsetting to leave years of the wonderful random dash marks and scribbles we had put on there.

So I told myself when we restart this great tradition for our little family I would want it to be portable. Because we know we will move and we would want to take that with us. I have also seen families put them on a wall and you definitely can't take that with you and even if you plan on staying in that home forever. You might want a fresh coat of paint. Everything would be completely erased. Just AWFUL!

So my searched began on Etsy. There are so many beautiful growth charts, but nothing what I was looking for. Most of them only went to 6 ft and I wanted ours to be at least 6'5." I am about 5'7" or so and my husband is 6'1" so I wanted something taller than 6 ft just encase our children/grandchildren were going to surpass us. Since I couldn't find the size that I wanted. I then decided this would be a great DIY project. So it was onto Pinterest to search for some help on how I can do this. 

My Inspiration for Distressed growth chart
Inspiration for the marking and numbers

  • 10x8 Pine wood board
  • Stain
  • Paint
  • Medium Point Paint Marker
  • Saw
  • Sander/Sand Paper
  • Old cloth/towel
  • Paint Brush
  • Pencil
  • Ball Point Pen
  • Angle Square Ruler
  • Tape Measure

Tips: Purchasing Supplies
We purchased our wood board from Lowe's. They sell pre-cut sizes and they can cut them to whatever size you like. We went with a 10x8 pine and that was finished all four sides so it cost a little more than the others pieces they had. I've read from other pinterest projects you can get them as cheap as $6.99 unfinished and depending what type of wood. My husband has worked with lumber growing up so he is a little picky when it comes to certain woods for projects. He recommended the pine cause it would last longer if we were going to have it around for a long time. Originally he wanted me to get Oak, but I could get myself to pay $40 for that piece. I paid $24 for the piece. I know a little steeper than the $6.99, but worth it to me.
Before it was cut and stained

I decided I wanted a distressed look to the chart. So to get that look I would need to stain and paint the chart. Luckily you don't need a lot of both to make that happen. We had stain at home. SCORE! And we used one of the dozens of paint samples we had when were trying to select the right paint for some renovations. DOUBLE SCORE! If you don't have any in hand at home I would just purchase the smallest can of stain and a paint sample. The rest of the supplies: saw, brushes, sander, sand paper we already had.

I used maybe a quarter of the paint. This sample size is perfect.

One other tip on supplies for the paint marker I would get a medium point paint marker. I had a fine one and it just doesn't do as a great of job as the medium point. It might have been the brand too. My original paint marker that I had was from hobby lobby, but the one that was perfect for me was the Elmer's Brand that they sell at Walmart.

How To....
1. We could have cut the piece at Lowe's, but we had a skill saw at home and decided to cut it ourselves. We cut the 10x8 piece to a 10x6. "Wait a minute I thought you wanted a 6'5" ruler!" Yup, that is correct. I am going to hang the ruler 6 inches off the ground so the ruler will actually be 6'5."

2. I sanded very lightly the flat side & sides that I was  going to use for the chart. Wiped off any saw dust with a lightly damped cloth. I would wear gloves for this part because if you get the stain on you it won't come off very easily. I applied the stain with a paint brush all on the flat side and edges going with the grain. Then took the old cloth and wiped off the excess stain, going with the grain as well. This must be done immediately the stain dries rather quickly. Then let it dry overnight.
The board after it was stained and dried.

3. After the stain dries over night. I painted the chart with my paint sample. I went with a gray color. I just did one coat. Let it dry over night. You don't have to let it dry over night, but I did because I worked on this at night it was just easier. The paint just needs to be completly dried.

4. I got my pencil and tape measure and marked the lines for the chart. Because I am hanging the chart six inches off the ground I started at marked the first 6 inches on the chart and I had the first foot. Then I marked every quarter and did 12 inches for every foot after that. After I marked in quarter increments I made my lines. I used the angle square ruler because I could just butt it up against one side to make sure my ruler was straight and I was making a straight line. The quarter marks were a 1 inch long, the half inch marks are 1.5 inches and the foot marks are 2 inches long.

5. I then used the angle square ruler again to go over the pencil markings with the paint marker so I could have a clean straight line. I had to be careful on getting excess paint when I was going from line to line. The paint marker dries pretty quickly.

6. There are so many different ways to this, but this seem to be the most common that I read on doing the text on the ruler. I printed out numbers Century font, 200 font size and the text "Martin Family" Century font, 185 font size. I cut out each number and word and I then lined them up where I wanted them.  I then traced them with a ball point pen. Press firmly with the ball point pen when tracing the numbers so you make a good dent in the board. You might need to take little breaks here and there for it because it will hurt your hand because you are pressing so hard. Then I used the paint marker to fill the traced numbers & words.

7. I pulled out our sander and light sanded over the numbers, words and lines. Just enough to get the worn look.  I pressed a little harder on the edges and the parts of the board that I didn't have any writing on them. If you don't have a sander, sand paper will work too.

The Final Product!
 This project took me 3-4 days to do. It was fairly quick considering most projects take me weeks to finish. My growth chart cost me about $25 because I had most of the supplies at home. Even if I didn't have all the stuff in hand it would probably would have been less than something I saw on etsy.  I love how it turned out. I hope this tutorial helps. If you have any questions please leave a comment.


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