DIY Projects · Home Decor

{DIY} Rustic Wooden Growth Chart

This week marked a milestone in our household. My little fella turned two. TWO! I don’t remember giving him permission to turn two but he went ahead and did it anyway. So now I have no choice but to accept the fact that my littlest baby is growing up. That’s it! No more tiny little babies in our household. No more nights spent nursing a precious bundle back to sleep. No more first smiles, first giggles or first steps. No more teeny tiny outfits that only require one peg to hang on the clothesline! Our baby days have come to an end and before anyone asks, no, we’re not contemplating a fourth. Our little family has that wonderful feeling of being complete; we are exactly as we are meant to be. I know this, but it doesn’t stop me from missing the baby years. So, with a somewhat reluctant enthusiasm, I celebrated my little man’s birthday with all the family rituals we’ve established over the years. We decorated the house the night before, planned out the cake, helped the girls wrap their presents and lined up all the goodies that arrived from family and friends. His birthday went off beautifully but it wasn’t until the next day that I realised we’d missed one of our most important family rituals! The annual recording of his height on the growth chart!

{DIY} Rustic Wooden Growth Chart - How to create one for your growing family via {In Our Gumboots}.

Our growth chart is undoubtedly our family’s favourite piece of home décor! It hangs as a permanent decoration in the heart of our home and is regularly checked for random bursts of growth. In terms of a decoration… it really is just a plank of wood but it’s the scratchings in permanent marker that make it a priceless keepsake. Every birthday we record our little people’s heights from birth to childhood and we’ll keep recording until they’re fully grown {and maybe have kids of their own}! It’s our little family’s legacy so it’s no surprise we opted for a removable version of a growth chart instead of carving into a doorframe like so many families do. We are fortunate enough to live in a beautiful part of the Australian countryside but it also means we have to be quickly portable during bushfire season. Which includes being able to quickly grab any belongs we might have time to save. Which is why we created our permanent but portable Rustic Wooden Growth Chart!

{DIY} Rustic Wooden Growth Chart - How to create one for your growing family via {In Our Gumboots}.

This is another one of those projects that can be whipped up in a weekend. This growth chart followed suit with some of the giant yard sticks you can find floating around Pinterest. I loved the look of them but, living in Australia, it doesn’t really suit our main measuring system. So I decided to create one using meters and centimetres. This is how it happened…

First I measured the tallest person in our house {which took us to 174cm}. This gave me an indication of the minimum height that the growth chart needed to be. I then added an extra 10cm in case anyone grows taller and rounded the number up to the nearest 5cm {which took us to 185cm}. The reason for rounding up to the nearest 5cm was so that the chart would start and end neatly at 5cm points. I then deducted 25cm as this would be the height from the ground to the chart.

I then bugged my husband to take us on a trip to the hardware shop {not a hard task at all!} and bought a 160cm plank which was cut to size in-store. At the time, I wasn’t looking for a specific width; I just wanted to select a size that I thought would look good. It ended up being approx. 14cm wide.

I took it home and liberally splashed on some matt finish white paint. Two coats were enough to cover it completely but as always I’m not a big fan of the absolutely perfect look. It had to look “perfectly imperfect” so, once it was dry, I sanded down the edges in random spots to add a little character.

At this point I realised my mistake, as the plain pine that was now peeking through the the paint looked too new. I grabbed a random tin of stain from the shed and lightly darkened the exposed wood. I was much happier with the vintage timber result.

{DIY} Rustic Wooden Growth Chart - How to make one for your growing family via {In Our Gumboots}.

Next, I moved on to the measurements. I carefully marked out 5cm intervals along the length of the plank. Keeping in mind that I wanted to start the plank 25cm off the ground, I then lengthened the marks that would sit at the 10cm points. Here my perfectionism kicked in and I printed off some number stencils. I then used my tried and true lead-pencil-rub method and transferred the numbers onto the plank. From there it was just a matter of using black paint to carefully trace over the numbers. Where the numbers were fine or I wanted to be more precise, I found it easier to use a black permanent marker to cut into the curves. Once finished, I gave the board one last gentle sand to roughen it up and age its appearance.

{DIY} Rustic Wooden Growth Chart via {In Our Gumboots}.

The final step was to hang the plank. As it was quite heavy, I decided to secure it into a wall stud. Finding one was an adventure but, with the help of my in-house handyman, we did it! I then attached a brass plated frame hanger {the ones that look like teeth} and hung it up. Again, because of it’s weight, and the fact that little people would be regularly leaning against it, I also took precautions to secure the bottom. I used the largest size 3M Velcro hook to secure it down.

Now, every birthday, my littlie’s get measured up and we record how much they’ve grown. Of course there are regular measurements throughout the year as well. The kids like to check that their growing pains aren’t in vain and it’s a good way to reassure my 7 year old that she’s not staying short despite the kids’ comments at school. But it’s only on their birthdays that the permanent marker comes out and their height gets added to the chart.

{DIY} Rustic Wooden Growth Chart - How to create one for your growing family via {In Our Gumboots}.

So there it is! A sturdy growth chart to help keep track of your growing family. Of course, you’re not limited to one mark a year, you can use it in anyway that suits your family. As for me, I’ve added yet another mark that proves my little fella is outgrowing his baby years. We have now launched into the last of our toddler years! Full of big squeezy toddler cuddles that end with cheeks squished against each other; enthusiastic calls of, “Mum! Moo!” or “Mum! Nee!” {which somehow translates to “train”} and days spent on random adventures exploring the world. Parenthood can be a bittersweet adventure but even though every mark on the growth chart proves that my kids are no longer babies in the world’s eyes, they will always be babies in mine!

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