Thursday, April 26, 2012

a year ago today...

One year ago today I published my most popular post (with over 60,000 page views),  my PBK Knock-off Ruler Growth Chart.  It's been fun to see this project pinned on Pinterest and re-created on other blogs.  I thought I'd re-post it today, with a little update to include some of the questions that I have been asked. 

What kind of pen do you use to label the ruler?
We have found the Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Superfine Pen to work really well! It doesn't bleed and is permanent when dry.  Here's a link to find them online.
(  Whatever pen you choose, be sure to test it on the back of the ruler to be sure that it won't bleed or smear and ruin all of your hard work!

What did you use as a "clear coat"?
I usually use a Premium Enamel Spray in a Clear Gloss from Ace Hardware (Here's a link:  but any type of clear sealer should work!  The only thing I would caution is to be sure that your sealer won't cause your paint pen to run.  I use an acrylic paint pen (so it's water-based, not oil-based) and it works great, but I've heard that you should be cautious when using a sealer on top of a Sharpie or oil-based paint pen.

In fact, another reader (Jennifer W.) left this comment:
"I made the board this week. I tried using polyurethane (the kind you paint on) and it made the paint pen bleed/smear even after it dried for a whole day. I only went over about 5" of the board with it but I was able to wipe off and the ruined number and lines and redo them. Go the SPRAY route if you are sealing it!"

I love this idea,and it is now on my project "list", but I really love the alphabet posters on the wall! Where did you get them?
I found these flash cards at Michael's in the scrapbooking section. With a coupon, they only ended up being a little over $4! Amazon also sells these if you're interested! They are super cute, with relatively muted colors, and awesome animal facts on the back! 

Given my "decorating ADD", I knew that I didn't want these to be a totally permanent fixture in the playroom, but I wanted them to stay put until it was time for me to take them down. :) I was looking for a different type of mounting strips, but came across these Reusable Tabs from Scotch. They are AWESOME! They are specifically for "lightweight mounting" but would be perfect for hanging posters, etc. AND you can reuse them! These ended up costing a little more than the cards (I think they were around $6), but that's a good price considering you can reuse them!

One sure way for our mailman to make my day is for him to leave a Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, or Ballard Designs catalog in our mailbox!  I love browsing through the catalogs, pouring over the pages, and circling items I’d love to buy if I had a million dollars.  But, let’s face it…I have Pottery Barn (and Ballard) taste on a Target budget!

To remedy this, I have started creating “knock offs” of some of my favorite items from the design catalogs.  One item that’s been in the Inspiration folder on my computer – doesn’t everyone have an Inspiration folder? – is the Pottery Barn Ruler Growth Chart.  Sadly, they don’t sell it anymore…but that didn’t stop me from creating a “knock off”.


This project ended up costing me a little under $7, because I had most of the supplies on hand.  The only thing I had to purchase was a 1 x 8 x 6 board from Lowe’s.

I stained the board with Walnut stain, giving it 2 coats and letting it dry in between coats.  I brushed the stain on with a paint brush and then wiped most of it off with a rag. I wanted a vintage, aged look, so I wasn’t too careful with making sure the coats were even.

 After letting it dry for 4-6 hours (per the instructions on the can), I brought it in the house to tackle making this stained piece of wood look like a ruler.  I pulled out a pencil, a ballpoint pen, my acrylic ruler, and a paint pen.  This is where it gets a little tricky, but it’s worth it!

I marked off 1-inch marks along the entire length of the board.  In order to mimic the lines on a ruler, I made the “quarter” lines 2 inches long and the “eighth” lines 1 inch long.  Make sense?  I drew all the lines in pencil first, then went back and went over them with my paint pen.  This took a little while, but I did it while watching “The King’s Speech” with my hubs to help me pass the time! This picture gives you a better idea of how I did the lines...

One more thing – I started marking off  my “ruler” at 6 inches, because I wanted to be able to hang it on the wall. If you’d rather rest it on the floor, start marking at 1 inch. So, my 6 foot board ends up looking more like a 6 ½ foot “ruler”.

I wanted the numbers to look authentic, so I found a font that I liked (Century) and printed out the numbers 1-6 in 200 point font.  I rubbed a pencil on the back of the numbers, placed the numbers where I liked, and traced the numbers with my ballpoint pen.  This left a slight indention and pencil lines on the actual board.  I simply filled that outline in with my paint pen.  It requires a little bit of a steady hand, but you’ll get the hang of it!

After I created my “ruler”, I sprayed the entire board with a clear coat to protect my work.  This still allows me to measure my son’s height and mark on it, but gives it a finished look.

To hang it, I simply attached a sawtooth picture hanger to the back and hung it on a nail in our playroom.  It’s not very heavy, so it didn’t take much to hold it.  But, if you have a particularly rowdy crew, or want to hang it in a more high traffic area, you might consider attaching it a little more permanently to the wall.

Using a measuring tape, I made sure that the Ruler Growth Chart was hung on the wall at an accurate height.  This way Grayson can just stand in front of the ruler to measure his height, much like you’d do on a wall at your house.

**Disclaimer: This tutorial is for personal use ONLY. Please do not use this tutorial for monetary gain. If you would like to share this on you blog, please link back to this post and/or give proper credit where credit is due! Thank you!**

1 comment:

  1. I made one of these too after being inspired by your post. Then, I made one as a Christmas gift for my niece and nephew. Thanks so much for the inspiration! I enjoy your blog!


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