DIY oversized growth chart ruler

I did it! I think this was one of the first ideas that was pinned from Pinterest that I actually executed. The girls have been growing so fast and I felt like each day that went by I was missing the opportunity to capture those memories. So off to Home Depot I went!
This is a photo of my final product:

And here is the original inspiration photo that I saw on Pinterest. Different versions of this are all over the internet these days. I believe this idea was originally done and sold by Pottery Barn, then all of the DIYers (like myself) decided, “Hey, we can make this for WAY cheaper.”

If you know me, you know that I’m not one for following directions well. I like to find shortcuts at every turn and I often get myself in trouble because of it. In my defense, I also find some terrific shortcuts! All that to say, I haven’t read any of the other tutorials out there. I bet they are fantastic and way better than mine. I can imagine it’s been done with paint and probably even cut out laminate pieces. I’m too impatient and I just looked at the photo and went for it.

So I started by purchasing a piece of wood from Home Depot. You may not know it, but they sell pre-cut and pre-finished wood pieces in various sizes. I didn’t know that until just recently. I picked up a piece of pine wood 6′ tall and 9″ wide.

I wasn’t about to try and paint the letter detailing with a brush because, quite frankly, I don’t trust myself to paint that well without a stencil. And I was too impatient to run out and get a number stencil, so I decided to freehand with pencil first using a small scale ruler as my guide for the font. Then, I used a Sharpie over the pencil for the permanent markings. It worked extremely well. I was concerned that the Sharpie would bleed, but as it turns out I didn’t have any trouble with that at all.

I then coated the entire board with Minwax Bombay Mahogany wood stain, let it dry, then finished it off with a light coat of Annie Sloan soft wax. I used wax rather than polyurethane because I didn’t want to deal with the smell and I just love the finish of soft wax. It’s easy to use and provides a nice, smooth texture without being too shiny.

I’m more than pleased with the results! This is now such a treasured piece in the home. I look at it daily and imagine all the markings that we get to imprint over the years as our children grow.

After purchasing and trying out several pens, I finally found one that would write over the nice wax finish. Again, good ol’ Sharpie — I found out that they make a paint pen! Worked like a charm. :)

By far, this is one of my favorite projects to date!

Lots of love,


Update: 06.04.12

I’ve been asked about how to attach the piece to the wall, since it is so large. I used some basic hooks that can be found at any hardware store. I like these because they aren’t visible from the front of the board and they are very secure.

I then used drywall screws into the wall rather than nails. Leave them sticking out a little so that the hooks will fit nicely. I LOVE drywall screws and use them for just about anything.

Hope this helps!
Lots of love,

Linked up here:
Lovely Crafty Home


16 thoughts on “DIY oversized growth chart ruler

  1. Mary and Dyer

    I am in need of a good chili recipe, so I'm excited to hear if yours was good! Your daughter is just too cute… :)I just became your newest follower! I would love for you to check out my blog & follow back if you'd like! Blessings,

  2. Cory

    I also have the hanging question. I just recreated this keepsake thanks to your wonderful directions and inspiration but would like to know how you hung it. I dread the thought of drilling black screws through it.

      1. Cory

        Thanks Mary for the tips on how to hang it up!! We knew there had to be a better way then drilling black screws through it!!!! Love your blog and all of your design tips!! And also that you are a believer in Christ!!! Will definitely to continue to read your blog!!!!

  3. Kelly

    Great post, however I am somewhat of a perfectionist and would love to know how you did the ruler lines freehand while making them all the same length and width apart. It looks great and I want to replicate it! :)

  4. Jenn

    It is beautiful! Could you tell me the size of the numbers? How tall are they? I want to get the proportions right. Thanks!

  5. jenn

    I made one and will be attaching it with Command Picture Hanging Strips. They’re the velcro type ones. Perfect to stick it to the wall, peel it off to mark, and put it back on. :)

  6. Anup

    I made one of these for my nephews who live in Dallas. Can anyone give me information on how I can ship these there? I live in Charlotte.


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