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Custom Name Growth Charts

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!

Growth Chart DIY

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).

custom growth charts

Then I painted them, peeled off the letters, and distressed them with the orbital sander.

names on wood

They came out perfect and nothing bled…love when that happens.

no bleeding

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.

ruler growth chart

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.)

Making a growth chart

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?)

with stain vs without stain

with stain vs without stain

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.

crap...spilled the stain

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.

DIY Rustic Growth Chart

how to make a growth chart

I love the knots and distressing and the fact that they look legitimately old.

growth chart details

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.

how to hang a growth chart

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!


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  1. ASHLEY!!!!!!!WOW o I want tp make for my grandkids and once done transfers some of the measurements I have on the inside of a door..and take some of their handprints and use…what a great tut too….I love this and you have been pinned……

  2. Hey Ashley! I love these- what a great idea. So I think I want a silhouette. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and so many of my projects would look better and be easier if i had one. kinda a big expense though. :/ can you link the silhouette in this post to your old post of when you got a silhouette? I can’t find it when I search through your posts and I want to read of which one you ended up getting.. Thanks! I hope you have a peaceful and blessed Christmas with your family!! P.s that stain mess looks familiar! Except mine was on my patio.. Lol

  3. I am soooo thinking about doing the paper bag to my floors but afraid I’d ruin it somehow. I’ve actually been thinking about hard wood floors but the up keep & big dogs toenails leaving scratches have me a bit hesitant also daughter & son-in-law tell me to be prepared for loud clicking sound from dog toenails, so I might try this just in the hallway to see how difficult it would be. Do you think it would be noticeable if after doing the hallway and waiting for a month or few to do the living room. Also you mentioned you haven’t done it in the kitchen, my dining room & kitchen run into each other will spills happening in the kitchen do you think the paper will start to come up?

  4. Just wanted to pop in and sayMerry Christmas to you and your family! I hope the boys feel better soon and that you can all enjoy a healthy holiday! Those growth charts are so adorbs BTW!

  5. This is amazing I want to make a few for my grand kids too! I’m so sorry about your mishap, I had one last summer that took a while to clean. I had just moved into my apartment and had been painting furniture. My daughter-in-law and the kids were staying with me while my son was away for National Guard duty. I went to work and received a phone call that my grand daughter had decided to help me and pulled an entire can of primer down off the counter, the lid fell off and the primer covered the entire new carpeting that was just installed. Took hours to clean but luckily we got it out.

    1. Ack, Lois…a whole paint can!?! I can’t believe you were able to get it all out! Good thing…apartments will charge you out the wazoo for stuff like that when you move out. Found that out the hard way, lol.

      1. Luckily it came out, but it took hours. As for when I move, I won’t be moving for years and I know they will keep my deposit but it’s only $150.

  6. Ashley – love the growth charts! Simple and fabulous.
    Speaking of your silhouette machine – I received a bonus from my job a couple weeks ago and the first item on my “buy” list is the Silhouette Cameo! Does Silhouette tell you when they are going to have a good sale? I’m kicking myself for not buying one after Thanksgiving (I saw that sale on your blog originally). You really can’t beat that price and I just hope they do it again after Christmas. If you DO know when they might have one I’d love the information too :)
    Thanks! Love your blog.

    1. I do get informed about Silhouette sales before they happen, but don’t know of any upcoming sales at the moment. Hopefully after Christmas or in the new year… when something does come up I’ll put it up on the blog so that you can get your CAMEO!

  7. I. Love. This.

    I want one for each of my kids, and one for every kid of every friend I have. If I didn’t already know how burnt out I would also get trying to make those ruler marks, I’d totally do that. I’m still pinning because I want to make one for my kids. They turned out beautiful!

    1. I’m kinda in love with them as well. I’ve been marking Elijahs height on this horrid paper measuring chart that came with his toilet, it even has pictures of naked kids sitting on the potty printed all over it, lol. So glad to transfer the measurements over and throw that thing in the trash! Thanks for pinning!

  8. I love that you took the time in your panic to grab your camera!! A true blogger! Love these. If only I had a Silhouette… Merry Christmas to you and your family. Hope your boys feel better soon!

    1. Haha, yeah…I’ve gotta document these disasters or y’all are going to start thinking that I make them up ;) I saved my projects first, but then went straight for my iphone! When another great Silhouette deal comes up I’ll post it on the blog and/or facebook, so hopefully you can snag yourself a great deal on one. Merry Christmas to you as well!

  9. Ashley, I love these!! I wish I had little ones but they would make great gifts.

    I’m having a PINTEREST Social hop. I’d love for you to hop on over, grab a button and link up your Pinterest. If you don’t have Pinterest it’s ok, come link up your blog.


    I’m also looking for Pinterest Pinners to feature every week beginning in January. If you are on Pinterest and are interested in being featured come link up! Who knows you might meet some other great pinners and gain a few great ideas.


    Have a crazy beautiful week!

  10. These are awesome! My husband and I were just saying this week that we’d like to do something like this, and then BANG up it comes on your blog. How cool is that. :^) Glad the stain came out of the floor!!

  11. My kids will LOVE this. They’re always petering me to measure them to see who is the tallest and I usually resort to making little marks on the kitchen wall, this is so much better. Got to give it a try.

  12. Ashley, i just found your blog and i LOVE it!! I found you from the paisley tabletop picture on pinterest…i’m seriously impressed. I’m a big Dave Ramsey fan too and as i roamed the other pages of your blog, you earned a “button” on my desk top..:) i love how you keep it real and transform your house during nap time. I just want you to know how much i have laughed reading your adventures! Keep sharing and I’ll keep reading! Happy New Year.

    1. Ahh, thanks so much Laure! I’m not sure I’ve ever earned a button on someones desktop before (at least not that I’m aware of.) I’m honored :) Glad you find my posts inspiring and amusing…and don’t worry, I’ll keep sharing. Happy New Year to you too!

  13. Hi Ashley!
    I am new to your blog and came across it from a link on Pinterest and love it! You have amazing ideas and I am so excited to try some of them out! I am also new to distressing and thought this looks like possibly a somewhat easy project to start from. I just was curious what grit of sand paper you use and is it 100% needed to have an orbital sander or could you hand sand? I am sure an orbital sander makes life easier so I will probably invest in one :) And one more question, do you sand all the edges too along with the front of the board?

    Thanks Ashley!
    Ashley :)

    1. This would be a great project to practice distressing on, just be careful not to distress your name away! An orbital does make things easier but is totally not necessary…the beautiful thing about distressing is that there’s not really a correct way to do it, so you can’t mess it up. I’m not sure what grit I used, 150 maybe? And yup, I sanded all the edges…at least I meant too, lol. Good luck, feel free to e-mail me with any questions!

  14. ROFLOL!!! Girl, I am SOOOO with you with the accident prone, road block, crazy occurence, just not right happenings with DIY projects. And I have 4 boys, so I totally get the need for them to see exactly what is epic failing & to be in the middle of it. I’m typically not a blog follower, I just hop from one to another, but we’re just too similar, gonna have to break that. LOVE the distressed rulers & very entertaining! Oh, found you off Pinterest. :o)

  15. I am making a few of these, am at the staining part. I bought the exact same stain as pictures above. I did a test on a spare piece of wood, and the stain doesn’t look good at all on top of the paint. Any specifics on how you did the staining process?

  16. Ashley, Love this idea would you make two for me for gifts for my grandchildren? Would love for Christmas gifts.

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