Growing up, my mom always tracked our height on the trim of the kitchen doorway. Over the years, the pencil ticks turned into pen marks — and even the occasional marker scrawl — as we measured each other, our friends, and next-door neighbours.
That special piece of trim is still there, and I know my mom will take it with her whenever she moves. But when I saw a giant homemade ruler on Pinterest, I knew it was something I had to make for my own family. It would keep track of the kids’ heights as they grew, and we’d easily be able to take it with us whenever we moved.
Here’s how I did it …
I bought an eight-foot knotty pine board at our local home improvement store along with a small can of stain, and brought it all home in the minivan.
I had my husband chop off about a foot of the board — so it would fit in the spot in our basement with a lower ceiling — and got to work staining it a beautiful deep red. I love staining because (A) it’s much faster than painting, and (B) it’s fun to wipe it on with a rag and see it soak into the wood. It feels very authentic!
Measuring isn’t my strong suit, but I used a metre stick to mark one-inch increments along one edge of the board — a silly little marriage between the metric system and the imperial system. Because I knew the board would be hanging six inches off the basement floor, I started the measurements at six inches.
I found a font I liked on a free site (Pistilli Roman on DaFont.com), printed out numbers 1 to 6, cut them out, and traced them onto the board with a pencil.
I painted the numbers with some plain white semi-gloss latex paint I’d stashed in the basement, and I originally intended to keep it that way. But the numbers looked too bright, so I used a bit of leftover stain to “distress” them — and then added more white paint when I went overboard with the stain!
Once everything was dry, I got my handy husband to screw the board directly into the basement wall — once I made sure it was exactly six inches off the ground. Done!
We checked our own measurements, and they were right on — luckily. So I added our names and heights permanently with a white paint pen, and then got to work adding the kids’ heights — from birth, and each year on their birthday. Now it’s a special tradition to measure them on that day, and get to add a new height for that year.
(Don’t tell my son, but we had to guess his height from his second birthday, using a height chart I found on the Internet because apparently we’d never measured him back then. Our little secret, right?)