Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Crafty Crap: Giant Ruler Growth Chart

So we made one of these last year for my sister for Christmas and I have been wanting one ever since. It was so easy & cheap to make and turned out so cute! I really like these rulers because they are portable and can be moved from house to house if need be. They are also a very attractive way to decorate those skinny wall spaces you never know what to do with. Anyway, I thought I'd tell you what I did in case you'd like to make one for yourself.

First you'll need to buy a board. The original one we did was 1" x 8" x 6' but Seth got a little bit wider one this time at 12" wide. You can really customize this to whatever size you'd like. First sand the board. We have a small orbit sander that I love and have used for tons of random projects. I highly recommend one if you have room in your budget. Using the sander it was easy to get softened edges that are slightly rounded. You can totally hand sand it though, it'll just take a lot more elbow grease and time.

Next, comes the stain. We used a walnut stain but again, you could do whatever color stain you want. Heck you could even PAINT it if you wanted to. No need to worry about doing the back as nobody will see it (unless you plan on hanging it in the center of your living room like a pendulum... weirdo).

Now we get down to business. Don't worry, it's actually really easy to do and so long as you give yourself a template, you're not going to mess anything up too horribly. Get a straight-edge ruler and make a pencil mark for every inch along the entire 6-foot length of the board.

At this point you'll want to decide how you want your finished project to look. I made my ruler start at 6" so I could hang it on the wall and not have to worry about baseboards getting in the way. If you want to rest yours on the floor, you'll need to start at zero (which technically means you will have a 6 foot ruler so just hope your children aren't really tall). Next you need to make your lines. Do not try to eyeball the lines. I used a rafter square and it made the job really simple. You could also use a t-square but you'd have to be more careful to hold it straight along the edge. For the 8" wide board I made the inch lines 1-inch long and the "quarter" lines 2-inches long. I made them longer for the 12" wide board to make them more proportional, with the inch lines 2-inches long and the "quarter" lines 4-inches long. Again, work your way all the way up the board with your lines, double checking to make sure your marks are the right length.

A close-up of my lines and wall placement.
Next you'll need to get a paint pen to go over your pencil lines. I used a black one like this for the entire project, even the numbers (one pen has made 2 of these so far so you don't need to worry about buying a lot). Use the rafter square to go over your pencil lines with the paint pen. Don't try and free hand it unless you're looking for a "my kindergartner made this" look.

Now onto the numbers. Find a font you like (I used Century) and print out your numbers. For the smaller 8" board I used a 200 point size font. For the larger 12" board I used 300 point. Cut out each number (surrounded by a close-cropped box... don't cut out the exact outline of the number) and tape each one to the appropriate place on the ruler. Verify all placements are correct... you don't want to screw up now! Get a ball-point pen and trace the outline of each number, going over it a couple times to make sure it leaves a nice deep groove in the wood. If you end up tracing over a knot in the wood like I did, the pen won't leave much of a groove. In this case you can scribble on the back of the number with a pencil and then trace over it so a pencil line will be left on the wood. When the outlines are done, remove the paper and trace & fill each number with the paint pen.

At this point you may be done. You can spray your final product with clear coat, but I didn't. I thought it'd be easier to write on it later if it didn't have the coating. Do what you like. As far as hanging goes, we just drilled a couple holes (countersunk) into the board and attached it to the wall in 2 places using dry wall anchors/screws. You could also put a picture hanger on the back, but it won't be quite as secure.

So that's it! Easy huh? Now go and create! (Or if you're a close friend or family member, wait and ask me for one for your birthday or Christmas... that's the cheater way! Ha! Ha!).

Recap of supplies and tools:

1" x 8" x 6' board (or whatever size you like)
Wood Stain (or paint)
Paint Pen
Clear Coat Spray (optional)
Ballpoint Pen
Rafter Square (or T-square)
Sander or Sandpaper
Picture hanger (optional)

Original idea from 517 Creations


Anonymous said...

My favorite quote from this post: "unless you plan on hanging it in the center of your living room like a pendulum... weirdo."

Also, this is me signing up for the cheater version of the project.