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Growth charts are a fun way to keep track of your child’s growth over the years. They also make a nice keepsake to remember those milestones after they’re grown. But to buy one is not always within everyone’s budget. You can spend $100 or more to get one of these from an Etsy shop.
The good news is that you can easily create a DIY wooden growth chart. And you didn’t have to get an “A” in shop class to do so. For under $25 (or a little more depending on the wood you prefer) you can make your own wooden growth chart.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1″ x 6″ x 6′ wooden board – I purchased a Common Board from Lowe’s for $8.15
- Sandpaper – I love my Ryobi Corner Cat Sander, but a simple piece of sandpaper will do
- Wood Stain – I used Minwax Dark Walnu that I had leftover from another project
- Polyurethane (optional)
- Foam Brush – You should be able to find these for less than $1 each at any hardware store
- Small towel
- Vinyl Growth Chart Decal Kit – I purchased this for $14 from Little Acorns on Amazon. There are endless options on Etsy as well. If you know someone with a Cricut machine, you could even make your own.
- Saw-Tooth Picture Hanger or Wire (or Ribbon)
Making the Growth Chart
`1. Select your board and sand the front, back and sides with your sander or sandpaper until it’s smooth.
2. In a well-ventilated area, apply the stain to the front and sides with the foam brush and wait for it to dry (follow the instructions on the can). Flip it over and stain the back side. The longer you leave the stain on, the more color that will be absorbed into the wood. If you have black decals, you don’t want to go too dark (or be sure to select light-colored numbers and markers). Wipe up any drips as you go with a towel or cloth.
(optional: apply a coat of clear polyurethane – I skipped this step as I didn’t feel it was necessary.
3. Allow the wood to dry completely (I waited 72 hours) before applying the vinyl decals. The Little Acorns set came with application instructions and was very easy to apply. You can also personalize your growth chart with your child(ren)’s name, your last name or a special quote by purchasing or making additional decals.
4. Attach your hanger. You can use a traditional saw-tooth picture hanger or wire, or if you prefer fasten a nice piece of thick ribbon to the back with staples. Or you can simply attach it directly to the wall if you don’t want to be able to move it.
The benefit of a growth chart is that you can take it with you. I know so many people who had to leave these precious memories behind because they tracked them on a wall or door frame, and then moved away. For a fraction of the cost of a pre-made one, you can create a beautiful, personalized growth chart yourself. They also make a really nice gift for a baby shower, baptism, first birthday or other holiday.