Tuesday, February 18, 2014

DIY Giant Ruler

I've been eye balling this project floating around on Pinterest for quite some time now. It's super cute and I like the idea of being able to take your family's growth chart with you when you move, but I thought it looked sort of large and intimidating so I kept putting it off. And you know what? It turned out to be so easy! All you need is some wood and a sharpie and you've got yourself a giant ruler a la Pottery Barn.

1 x 8 x 6 piece of wood (any kind will do since you will be staining it your color of choice)
Wood stain (I used light walnut)
Measuring tape
Cost: Around $15 for wood and stain
Time: Around 4-5 hours

For my first step I began mentioning this upcoming project to my husband weeks in advance, this way by the time the weekend came that I wanted to work on it, he was emotionally ready to help with "arts and crafts." Once this step was complete, I went to Home Depot with the forewarned and willing husband to purchase a 1 x 8 x 6 board and some wood stain. We agreed that this sounded like a very odd measurement for a piece of wood, but we found it easily, it's basically six feet tall and one foot wide. I'm still not sure what the eight refers to. Then I bought the tiniest container I could find of a light walnut wood stain since you will only be using a coat or two. The total cost was about 15 dollars, and would have been free but I realized as I had rummaged through my purse for five minutes at the checkout counter that my toddler son had stolen my Home Depot gift card out of my wallet and hidden it somewhere.

Next I got my board ready to stain. But first my helper had to come and check it out.

And then walk back and forth across it several times.

And then I had to argue with my husband about what corner of the house I could possibly put this in that my son might leave it alone for a few hours. Then I was ready for staining.

I paint a lot of furniture but I had never stained anything before. It turns out it's much better than painting. First of all I didn't have to sand! And second of all I only needed one coat! I used a regular paint brush, painted with the wood grains, and made sure not to over-do it (that was hard.) Then you leave it for about 5-10 minutes for it to absorb and then wipe any excess away you would like with a rag. It takes 4-6 hours to dry so then I used that time to apologize for arguing with my husband.

Next I checked on it in four hours to see if was dry, before I could even open the door all the way my son darted in past me and walked the length of it in his Ninja Turtle footie pajamas. So I checked the bottom of his feet and no stain! The board was dry and ready!

Now for the confusing part. My husband and I had a long discussion about quarter inches and eighth inches and finally came up with a plan. Then after I started drawing it in pencil my husband looked at the Pinterest photo and said, "Oh this is supposed to look like a ruler? Forget what I said then." So we had to start over. Basically we decided to leave out the eighth inch lines or it would look too busy. I made the quarter inch lines one inch long across, and the inch and half inch lines two inches long across. But in hindsight I would have made the half inch lines an inch and half in length because when calculating heights it's kind of confusing which lines are inches and half inches. Does that make sense? No.

First I drew the lines in pencil and then went over them with a sharpie. You could use something fancier like a paint pen if you wanted but honestly I thought the sharpie turned out just fine. This part of the process takes a really long time and will make you want to cry. Grab a Diet Coke and ask your husband to make you a treat. It will help.

Next the foot numbers. I printed out numbers 1-6 in a font called Median Pro enlarged to 400% (just in case you want your numbers to look exactly like mine because mine are so awesome and you want to be just like me!) Then I cut them out and then cut them out again in cardstock so they were easier to trace on the board. Then I positioned them on my board and drew the foot lines a little longer so you could tell exactly where they were. Then I noticed there was poop on my rug. That was an added bonus.

Then I traced the numbers, first in pencil, then with my trustie sharpie.

And it turned out like that. I was planning on filling them in but I liked how they looked outlined and I decided not to risk it when I had put in so many hours on this project already!

Next we had to hang it. If you want to lean yours against the wall like this then start measuring from one inch and your board will go up to six feet. If you want to hang it on the wall because your toddler will probably tip this over on himself then start measuring the bottom from six inches, that way you can hang it six inches off the ground and it will still be accurate in height. That's why my board measures up to six and half feet tall (not that anyone in our family will ever be that tall.) Naturally we forgot to buy anything to hang it up with when we bought it so we went back to Home Depot. First I checked under the fridge (a popular hiding spot) for my Home Depot gift card.

About a million magnets and somehow a DVD but no gift card. It's like my husband won that Wii bowling tournament for nothing! We decided not to screw the board into our rental home you're welcome landlord, though that seems to me to probably be the best way, and went with several heavy duty command strips instead. Is there anything command strips can't do? It's really not that heavy, only a couple pounds, you could also get one of those sawtooth picture hanger thingy's and just put that on the top of it, but we were pretty sure the toddler would have had that off the wall in no time.

It's hanging in a narrow hallway so it's impossible to get a picture of the full thing in one frame, but trust me it's awesome.

Next I got my son and tried to measure his height.
He refuses to stand up next to it.

Then I had a nice long laugh about how I just spent five hours making this growth chart for someone that refuses to be measured.

Happy crafting!


Meg said...

Someday he will LOVE standing against that thing. Until then, just use the measurements from his checkups. :) This is super cute and I have mental plans to make something similar soon, but it probably won't be as pretty as yours! Good work!

Le Coin de Mel said...

What a great idea! Thanks for sharing. Mel, visiting from #weeklylinkparty1