As much as I loved creating our baby girl’s alphabet for her nursery, I have to admit it’s time consuming nature had me looking for a simple solution for her growth chart. I had looked online and in store for something that fit the theme and colors of her nursery but nothing quite met my vision. So that meant another DIY project. I liked the idea of DIY projects because it means custom for her and her room, which in my mind translates into unique. At first I thought I might be doing another freehand drawing project as with her alphabet BUT I found a major time saver.
When we first bought her nursery bedding, which was our jumping off point for her nursery, we were able to get it on sale. We didn’t realize this was because it was going clearance. Finding the other items such as the blanket, hamper (never did find it), crib bumpers or other items became a major hunt and find kind of project. Ultimately, with the exception of the hamper we found everything we were looking for and designed around the rest for a more personal designer look. One item I totally lucked on were the Carter’s Zoo Collection Wall Decal set. When I bought it, I wasn’t quite sure how I would use it. I was in a mode of “see it, snag it before its gone”. So truthfully it sat for a long while.
As I mentioned, by the time I finished her alphabet, I was looking for an easier way to create her growth chart. Enter these wall decals and an idea!
Wood Plank – the height you want for the growth chart and about 6 to 8 inches wide by about 1/2 inch thick
Wooden Rail Pieces – this should be about 1 inch by 1 inch and just slightly smaller in width than your wooden plank
Flat White Interior Paint – I used Martha Stuart’s Interior/Exterior Flat Paint
Wood Glue – I use Titebond III
Drill with Drill Bits and Screw attachments
Theme Appropriate Wall Decals
Putting It All Together:
Our baby girl’s room has both chair rail and high profile baseboard molding. So when it comes to a growth chart, having a flat board was not an option. The first step in making baby girl’s growth chart was adding spacer rails to the back of the wooden plank that would become the face of her growth chart. To accomplish this I decided to use wood glue to keep the front clean and smooth as possible. I measured where I wanted the board to ultimately end up and placed the top rail high enough to be above the chair rail and the bottom rail about two inches above the top of the base board. Using a level, I lined up the rails, glued the back and clamped them in place. To make sure that I did not get clamp marks on the front, I placed a piece of cardboard between the front of the wood panel and the clamps. The clamps needed to be super tight as the only other bonding agent besides the glue would be one screw in each board and only once I attached it to the wall.
Let’s talk wood glue for a minute. There are tons of wood glues out there but when you are doing something like repairing furniture or crafting something that needs to be safe, go professional. I choose Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue, the same one I used in my furniture repair projects when I reupholster. The glue is highly recommended for furniture repairs because of its strong waterproof bond. Given that it would be one of the main structural elements of my growth chart project, I wanted to make sure I had the best hold possible.
Once I had the two rails in place, glued and clamped, it was a matter of hurry up and wait. The glue needs a full 24 hours curing time to give it the best bond possible.
Once cured, it was time to paint. Since baby girl’s furniture is all white and because I was using decals that had a little bit of transparency to them, I elected to make the growth chart white. My goal was to make sure her growth chart popped against the color of her walls and still had focus on her theme. As with the alphabet, the growth chart required two coats of paint. Because it could be seen from the side, I made sure to paint the edges as well as the top and bottom. Speaking of paint, for this project I used a flat paint. Not typically my go to for paint as I’m more a satin finish kind of girl for cleanability and look. But as I knew I would be cheating and using a Sharpie and some freehanding numbers, I wanted to make sure I had a surface that would easily handle the Sharpie. Flat was the perfect finish.
Quick Note: I saved myself a step by spending a little extra to get a smooth and sand free finish on the board. The difference in price between the rougher texture board and this smooth board was only a couple of dollars so it didn’t make that big of a difference to me. However, if you opt for a cheaper board, make sure it is flat, roll up your sleeves, grab your sand papers and put in some elbow grease until its smooth. Before painting, make sure you clean the board with a damp cloth. The last thing you want are lumps from dust in paint.
I let the paint set for 24 hours to make sure it was completely dry and would hold the decals. I cleaned the front of the plank with a light cleaning of rubbing alcohol using a wash rag. I wanted to make sure all the oils and dust was removed so the decals would fully adhere. Then it was a matter of determining layout. I had seen a couple of growth charts where animals were stacked so they looked like they were trying to stretch to be taller. I LOVED this idea so I ran with it. I knew I would not have her “ruler” starting at the bottom of the growth chart because I mean really a baby is easily over 12 plus inches tall and by the time she can actually stand to be measured she will ideally be over 18 inches tall. When looking at the decals, this meant that I could have almost all of the elephant and hippo on the front of the board. The giraffe being thinner was a perfect topper to go on the left side. Only one problem. The hippo had this cute little birdie sitting on its back and the giraffe’s legs were not wide open enough for the birdie to fit in between. So a little surgery with scissors to remove the birdie and transplant him up to top of the giraffe was in order. I think moving the birdie really adds to that feel that the animals are all stretching to be taller.
Before I placed the flowers, I drew a straight line from the top to the top of the hippo on the right side of the giraffe so I knew where my “ruler” would go and where I could place the flowers. I also marked where the top screw would go. Unfortunately, I knew before I put it down that the elephant would be right where the bottom screw would go. But I needed to place the elephant to place the other animals. Thankfully decals do pull up and I knew I could work around this. With the “ruler” and screw locations marked out, I added the flowers in a random pattern.
Next was hanging my work of love. Using a stud finder, I located the studs in the wall where I planned on hanging baby girl’s growth chart. Making sure the growth chart was level, I drilled a hole in the top rail and straight into the wall. I screwed the screw into the growth chart so that a small amount was sticking out the back of the growth chart so I could align it with the hole in the wall. Once aligned, I screwed it in place. Making sure it was still level, I gently removed two thirds of the elephant and repeated the process to get the second screw in. I covered it up with the elephant and took one of the flower decals to cover the screw in the top. All secure and in place and most importantly…safe for a growing girl.
Measuring from the carpet up, I used the tape measure to mark out one inch increments. Using my straight edge, I traced over the pencil line I had drawn earlier using a black Sharpie. I personally elected to make the line thicker. I also elected to make the odd increments smaller than the even and then made the foot markers larger still. Next step was freehanding some bold dark script numbers.
Definitely easier than freehanding and painting each animal but I think it came out just as cute and just as unique and just as perfect for her room. But then again I am definitely biased.
Next for her room is upcycling some furniture we weren’t quite sure what to do with. In the end, they worked amazingly for her room.