Sunday, November 25, 2012

Some Stain and Some Sharpie

Sidenote: Thanks for all the well wishes guys! We're all still on the mend but it seems to be improving. This cold has totally kicked all our butts but hopefully (knocking on wood and crossing my fingers) it is the worst one this winter. Of course it didn't stop us from working on a gazillion projects, shopping and playing. 
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Soooooooo, I had been thinking about starting some kind of growth chart for the kids. My Grandma always penciled us into the doorway of the backstairs in her house every six months or so as we grew and although I'm not sure if it is still there, I always think fondly of it. I wanted to do the same with my kids so the brainstorming started. I knew I didn't want to do it directly on the wall as I don't intend on living in the house forever and I certainly can't count on not repainting over it (yes, I may have a painting problem, haha). I also knew I wanted something more sturdy and substantial and less cutesy than a paper version (like this one). But not more than a couple days after I started thinking about it, did I come across this one from Cape 27 after seeing it on a YHL House Tour. Here's the inspiration!

I can't even tell you how excited I was!!! I'm such a dork and within two days (were talking work days where I can't get out to Home Depot until 8:00pm) I had my very own 2x8 for $8 at home ready  to do this and here's how it all went down!

First up, cut down to size which is six feet. Hey, I may never be six feet but it could happen to Ruby or Archer and I think it is a good size for a wall.

Next up was to sand it down using our hand sander.

Since I really liked how they did it on Cape 27, I went for the same look. Since that meant staining, I pulled out our pre-stain which we bought when we started getting into woodworking almost two years ago - it goes a long way!

I then applied some Dark Walnut stain that we also already owned (we used them on our desktops). I applied it with a cloth (like the pre-stain) since I didn't feel like dirtying up a brush. I've ruined a brush or two from staining (how do you clean those things without the mess?) so using an old t-shirt seemed like a good idea.

After just one coat of stain, I brushed on a quick layer of satin poly (that is one of my crummy brushes) that we also already had on hand (this project is feeling cheap, yay!) Don't those knots on the wood remind you of an owl face?

I waited a day or so after doing the coat of poly to draw the ruler lines of the growth chart using a sharpie and our square tool. On the left you can see how I made little ticks at each inch, keeping the square pressed firmly up against the wood. The right side here then shows how I used the end of the tool to draw the line either one inch long or two inches for every quarter inch.

To draw the numbers, I found several stock fonts on the pc and then asked Aaron to play the role of decider. He picked out this one and I love it. I printed it out on some cardstock I had on hand and then carefully cut each one out.

I traced the numbers onto the growth chart and then filled them in with the Sharpie too and then applied one more coat of satin poly.

Here's how it looked!

I actually finished this project about a week ago and I can say it was super easy. I've only waited to post about it because I was hoping to get it hung up first. But no dice. We really wanted to hang it in the spot to the right of the fridge next to the basement door but it is all air duct in there so we decided against it. So we looked around and decided the dining room was our best bet. Unfortunately (not really!) that paint problem of mine is rearing its way up and now the dining room isn't in any condition to have a board hung in there.

Hopefully I'll have the dining room done by next weekend and we can hang it in there, but so you could see a proper full shot, we temporarily brought it into the living room and leaned it up against the wall.

And a close up! For a grand total of $8, I love how the growth chart turned out and I especially love that it was such an easy and cheap project that we'll enjoy for years and years to come. Now I can keep track of the kids' grow over the years and not have to worry about leaving it behind or painting over it.

What's got you guys excited lately?  Besides this I'm pretty excited about some DIY Christmas decorating that I'm working on. We did get up a mini tree this weekend too. Have you started Christmas decorations? Anyone score any good deals while shopping this weekend?

Linked up here!

18 comments:

  1. It looks awesome! I loved the idea when I saw the house tour, too. Great job!

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    1. Thanks - I love those moments of pure inspiration where you just can't help yourself but do something!

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  2. Cristal
    I did the same as you. but directly on the wall. I found a very creative wood.it looks awesome !!!!

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  3. Fab! Thanks for sharing.
    Connie :)

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    1. So sweet Connie - thanks for stopping by!

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  4. It looks so good! Your Sharpie lines are so crisp and clean too! What's your secret?

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    1. No secret here! Just a fresh sharpie and a straight edge! Seems like we both had board posts today! haha

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  5. What font did he pick? I want to make Norie one (she's already almost 2 feet tall you know) and I'm too lazy to find one myself. :)

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    1. Hey - Why reinvent the wheel right?? I always tell myself that. I'll look it up and get it to you or if you want to send me your email, I do better and send you the doc with the numbers the same size as mine. It is from Word 2010 so it may not come out right if you don't have it/the font.

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    2. oh my email is cdswhite @ hotmail.com

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  6. I've had my eye on this project forEV...yours turned out awesome! Love love love.
    -Brittney
    http://smartgirlstyle.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Brittney! You should do it too...when you have time! LOL You're a busy girl!

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  7. Hey! I LOVE this!! I'm about to follow your tutorial and wonder (like someone else above) what font you ended up choosing. I love it, but don't want to hunt for the same one if I don't have to. Also, just to clarify-- you used a pre-stain and also a dark walnut stain, right? I was also looking at Cape 27's tutorial and she used a dark walnut stain, but it didn't look as dark as yours. I like that yours is slightly lighter because I think it will be easier to see the heights we will add to it. What brand of walnut stain did you use? So many questions...sorry!

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    1. Hi Lucy!! So glad you love it - totally made my day! The font that we used is called "DFKai-SB" and I believe it is a stock font in our Microsoft Word 2010 software. If you can't find and want help picking out a replacement, let me know!

      Yep, we used the Min-Wax Pre-Stain (just one coat) and then the Min-Wax Dark Walnut stain (the cans say "Wood Finish") (just one coat of that too). If you're concerned about the darkness (especially since certain parts of the wood will take the stain darker/better than others (like where there's a knot), I'd wipe it off sooner rather than later since you can always add another coat if you want but can't lighten it once it is on there.

      If you're interested, you can see on this post how we hung, marking the heights with a sharpie too and get some more idea of how the stain looks. I think it is easy enough to read but not as easy as it would be if you painted the board white but that is fine with me.

      Good luck and I'd love to see it when you're done!!

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    2. Here's the link that I mention in the third paragraph.
      http://29ruehouse.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-dining-room-smorgasboard.html

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