I’m back, and I actually finished a project! Did you think I was going to leave you hanging till after Christmas? I thought about it… December has been a hard month so far, it feels like one or both of the kids has been sick the whole month. Just this morning Elijah threw up twice..once in my bed and once all over my lap/the couch. It’s just a barrel of fun around here!
The project I managed to complete was some custom growth charts for Christmas gifts. These were fairly easy and really cheap, I only spent about seven bucks per chart (all I had to buy was the wood). These growth charts are super customizable, you are really only limited by your imagination. So I’m going to give you a tutorial on how I did mine, but you can change, skip, or add any step your heart desires!
To start I bought four 1×8′s (that were six feet long) and used my silhouette to cut out my vinyl letters. This font is called “Goudy Stout” and is 288pt. If you don’t have a silhouette you can pick up letter stickers at a craft store or trace and cut your own (like I did here).
Then I painted them, peeled off the letters, and distressed them with the orbital sander.
They came out perfect and nothing bled…love when that happens.
Next I went to make the measurements…this was by far the most tedious part of the project. It actually wouldn’t have been bad had I only made one growth chart, but I made four and I was burned out on ruler marks by the time I was done.
To do this I laid my tape measure out on the board starting at the six inch mark, because the growth charts are going to hang on the wall six inches above the floor.
Than I marked every inch with a little tick mark and then went back with a ruler and a sharpie and to make the final marks. I made the foot marks an inch and a half deep, the half inch marks an inch deep, and the rest of the marks half an inch deep. I feel like I just confused the stink out of you, but just go with it… it will make sense when you see the pictures. Then for the numbers I cut a stencil with my silhouette (that thing is really coming in handy!) and traced those onto my chart and went over them with a sharpie. (Times New Roman in 144pt.)
Then it came time to stain over the whole thing to give it an old distressed look (and make the names stand out). I’ve done this quite a bit before, but then I got to reminiscing about my epic bed painting failure and got scared. Scared enough that I decided to try out a few safer options first, ones I thought could enhance the wood grain but not be able to ruin my entire project on one foul swoop.
But they didn’t work and I had to break open the stain.
So glad I did, because they look awesome and dirty and old. Here is a comparison with the stained ones (the inside) and non stained ones (outside) for all you folks that aren’t sure you like the distressed and dirty look (Whaaaat?)
Here is where things took a turn for the worse and Murphy’s Law kicked in. I think I might have to rename that law …we’ll call it “Ashley’s Law” instead, where all DIY projects have to have at least one horrible accident/total failure/project redo. So I was just wiping off the last little bit of stain, mentally patting myself on the back for a job well done when it happened…I knocked over my entire can of stain. It was sitting on top of the growth charts and I knocked it just a bit…enough to scoot it over, fall between the cracks and come flying out all over the blue charts and splattering all over my kitchen.
I may have screamed. I started rushing around muttering “crapcrapcrapcrapcrap” under my breath, trying to save my projects and clean up the mess, all while being ever so grateful that this didn’t happen while Adam was home. Then the commotion caught the attention of my Veggie Tale watching kids, who came toddling into the kitchen. When Elijah saw the stain puddle he yelled “Mud!” while Levi barreled right for it. Instead of trying to talk to them and explain that it would be great it they would go back and watch TV, I just scooped them up with my stain covered hands and dumped them in their cribs. It actually ended pretty well… the mess cleaned up, I saved my projects and the only fatalities were two old dish towels and Elijah’s t-shirt. Whew.
So I finished up the growth charts by giving them a coat of polycrylic and then stood back and admired my work. I must admit, I totally love them.
I love the knots and distressing and the fact that they look legitimately old.
To hang them on the wall we started them at six inches above the floor and added a single screw to the top and bottom. We put ours into studs, but I don’t think that’s totally necessary.
I know, my floor is a disaster. It’s still just the concrete that was exposed after we ripped out all the carpet. I think I’ve decided to paper bag it (you can read about that HERE), I’m just trying to figure out the best way to go about doing it. Oh and find the time…nothing is likely to happen until after the new year.
So here is what the growth charts look like the boy’s room. I really didn’t want to post this pic because I kinda hate my boys tiny, cramped, overly brown room…but I figured what the heck. I’m also not entirely sure I like that growth chart placement…I feel like they need to be further out or maybe both on one side. If only space wasn’t an issue…
I have a beautiful, light, clean, rustic cowboy room planned in my head… it starts with new floors, vertical planked walls and a dresser makeover. But first we have to finish our kitchen. And I really want to get started on our master bedroom…and the front porch is begging to be finished. The garage really needs to get set up too… oh man!