How to make a custom growth chart ruler

A few months ago, my sister asked me if I could make a growth chart ruler for my youngest niece. I think these oversized wooden rulers are super cute and a great way to track children’s growth. Instead of placing marks on a wall or door frame, you can take a growth chart ruler off of the wall if you want to paint or if you move to another home. I thought it would be a fun project and a great opportunity to use my new Cricut Maker. Here is an overview of how I created a custom growth chart ruler for my niece.

My niece with her new growth chart ruler
My niece with her new growth chart ruler

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Project overview

After doing some research, I found that most of these wooden rulers start not at zero, but at somewhere between 6” and 18”. This allows the ruler to be attached to the wall while accounting for baseboards. I decided to start my ruler at 18”. To start, I purchased a 1”x8”x8’ pine board from the home improvement store. Using his miter saw, Brian cut it down to five feet. Since I started the ruler at 1’ 6”, this allows for height measurements up to 6’ 6”. Since no one in our family is over six feet tall, I don’t think this will be a problem. However, if you have tall people in your family, you might want to make yours a bit longer.

After cutting the ruler to size, I asked Brian to rout the edges so that there wouldn’t be any sharp corners. We then had to decide what color we wanted the ruler to be. Since my niece’s nursery is white, grey, and pink, I decided to stain the ruler with a gray stain. I used the Minwax Wood Finish Water-Based Stain in Classic Gray because I liked the color the best of the available options. I had not used this product before and found it a bit unusual. Specifically, it is thick like paint, but still leaves a stain-like finish. Following the directions, I applied two coats to achieve the final color.

Once the stain was dry, it was time to add the ruler hash marks and my niece’s name. For this, I used my new Cricut Maker. I wanted the ruler to look like a traditional school ruler with differing lengths of the measurement indicators. I decided to make the marks indicating every six inches (on the foot and half-foot marks) 3” long. The other marks were set at either 2.5” or 2”. In order to reduce my vinyl waste, I only cut one foot worth of ruler marks at a time.

This made for a bit more work lining up and placing the vinyl pieces, but I was able to significantly reduce my vinyl waste. Once the ruler marks were in place, I added the numbers, my niece’s name, and her birthday. I used Cricut permanent vinyl and Cricut transfer tape to position all vinyl pieces on the ruler. Disclaimer: I am fairly new to using my Cricut Maker, so this might not be the most efficient way to create this project, but it worked well for me.

I have attached all of the Cricut cut files I used for this project below. Feel free to use them to create your own growth chart ruler if you have a Cricut or similar cutting machine. If you don’t have access to an electronic cutting machine, you could achieve the same look by hand painting the ruler marks, numbers, and name. You can use stencils from the craft store or even create your own.

I also gifted my sister a white Sharpie oil-based paint marker marker to use to mark my niece’s height. Although we haven’t marked her height on the ruler quite yet, I believe this will work well for this purpose.

I suggest using long screws with anchors to secure any growth chart to the wall. Some similar growth chart rulers available online use sawtooth picture hangers or other methods of hanging. I don’t feel that these methods are secure enough as a toddler or young child could easily pull or knock the ruler off of the wall. 

Tools Used

In order to complete this project as pictured, we used:

  1. 1”x8”x8’ pine board
  2. Saw (to cut the board to length; we used a miter saw but you could use a table saw or hand saw)
  3. Router (to round the edges of the board)
  4. Sandpaper to smooth the edges
  5. Stain (if desired; in any desired color) – I used Minwax Wood Finish Water-Based Stain in Classic Gray
  6. Paintbrush to apply stain
  7. Cricut or Silhouette machine (and basic tools)
  8. Transfer tape
  9. Permanent vinyl in desired colors (I used white and light pink)
  10. Sharpie oil-based paint marker (fine point) in desired color
  11. Screws, anchors, screwdriver, and drill to attach the ruler securely to the wall

Here is a link to the Cricut files I created:

*A note: If you don’t have a cutting machine like a Cricut or Silhouette, you could easily make this project with paint and stencils. You can even make your own stencils by printing out numbers in a font that you like and cutting them out with an exacto knife.

Project Review

I am very happy with this project and think it turned out really well. I can’t wait to see how it looks in my niece’s nursery and I look forward to seeing her growth measured on it over the next two decades. This project would make a great baby shower gift or first birthday gift!

If you are looking for more creative projects to inspire you, check out my post on how to get the look of glass etching without the mess and how to make candles for beginners.

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2 thoughts on “How to make a custom growth chart ruler”

  1. We love it! It’s perfect! We love the thought and work that went behind this and can’t wait to track her height on it!

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