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How to chart your kids’ growth without marking up your wall

Kids will love this novelty size ruler.

Timothy Moore/The Globe and Mail

Home-improvement projects don't have to eat up all your time or empty your wallet. Nor do you necessarily need to call in experts. There's a long and growing list of ways to add a dash of design all on your own to whatever living space you call home. Charting your kids' growth by marking a wall has one big problem and one small problem. The big problem: If you move, it's not like you can take the wall with you. The small problem: You wind up with a bunch of marks on your wall. There's a better way. Kids will love this novelty-sized ruler (because kids love novelty-sized everything) and you'll appreciate it as a stylish alternative to a marker on the wall.

What you'll need

A wood board (I used a six-foot-long piece of pine)

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Paint (I used Behr Premium Plus paint and primer in one)

Paint brush


Measuring tape

The cost

About $30

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Less than one hour, not including the time it takes for paint to dry.

What to do

Start by sanding the board. Any time you're painting wood, you want to begin by sanding because it opens up the grain. Plus, you don't want any rough edges.

Next, paint the board. If you want a classic school-ruler look, you could just stain it. I wanted to go for something a little different, so I painted my board white.

Decide where you will hang the finished product and make your marks on the board accordingly. If you don't care about being exact, you can start the marks anywhere. But considering that this is a ruler we're making, exactitude seems only fitting. You should want the foot marks on the board to be true, so measure how high the board will hang from the floor and note the one-foot mark on your board.

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Using the stencil, paint each foot number on the board, as well as the marks between each foot. It's up to you how many marks you have between each foot, but too many will not look good.

When the finished board is ready to be hung, it's best to find a stud using a stud finder. If there is no stud in your chosen spot, drywall plugs and screws that are at least one inch long will suffice.

Then get your kids and a pen, or better yet their favourite coloured marker. Let the magic memories begin.


Painting in the stencil marks really is the key to the look of the finished product. If it's not done correctly, the paint can bleed. If it does, get a finer brush and do whatever touch-up work is needed.

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More


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