Tuesday, March 9, 2010
DIY Growth Charts | Family Economics
By Cathe Holden
The traditional home method of measuring the height of a growing child has been to mark segments of height vertically up the length of a doorframe or section of the wall. But as families move from one home to another or simply want to re-paint the interior of their home, those sweet mementos of time and growth can be lost forever.
Creating a measuring device that can be hung and easily removed for painting, moving or storage is a great alternative to the old method and homemade charts can make wonderful gifts for baby showers and young children’s birthdays.
Do-it-yourself growth charts can be easily made at home. When making one, you may choose to begin your measurements at the bottom of the chart at the 1 or 2-foot line as opposed to 0. This way the chart can be hung on a wall above the baseboards. You can make your chart as tall as 6 or 7 feet in measurement increments, as it’s fun for the whole family to be measured, including the grown-ups.
Before hanging, be sure to measure the area from the ground to the measurements on the chart as it will be hung. Keep in mind any stretch of the chart's hanging mechanism, such as rope or ribbon.
Marking a child’s height can be done at any time, or on special occasions, such as birthdays, first days of school or holidays. Here are just a few simple charts you can make yourself for your children or as gifts for others:
• A hanging growth stick made from a sanded-edge length of wood or wood trim approximately 6' x 6" x 1". Measure your foot increments well and paint to personalize with numbers, names or graphics adding measurement lines along one edge for feet and inches. Or, order custom vinyl numbers from a sign shop that can be easily applied. Add picture hanging hardware or string rope through holes at the top for attaching to the wall.
• Jute & tag growth charts are a fun alternative to growth sticks. Using a length of jute upholstery webbing, cut a length allowing for folded-under and sewn ends. Run a rope or shoestring through one hem and tie at the top to create a hanging loop. With fabric paint, freehand or stencil numbered foot increments along the center of the webbing. Use safety pins holding paper hangtags or metal-rimmed key tags from the office supply store marked with names and dates along the edge of the chart marking your child’s height. Keep many pins and tags nearby for easy access when the time comes to measure.
• A scanned image of a vintage sewing tape measure enlarged from inches to feet can make a whimsical and unique growth poster. You can find a free PDF download of such an image and instructions for creating this growth poster on my blog here.