Bathroom Scale Mod (for a Kinder, Gentler Morning)




Introduction: Bathroom Scale Mod (for a Kinder, Gentler Morning)

About: Maker, Mom & Teacher...

I don't know about you all, but I hate getting on my bathroom scale.  It only ever seems to tell me I'm getting bigger, and in such a mean way... even with decimal points, as if to say I can't dispute the scientific accuracy of it.

But I need to get on the bathroom scale... I'm getting older (as in: no longer in high school.. is all your getting out of me), and have some minor health concerns where a scale would help me greatly. And the worst of it.... I had to buy new pants last week.  Ughhh!  I HATE BUYING PANTS!! Torture.

So I've decided to make friends with the scale... after I mod it of course, so it looks better & acts nicer. Luckily this turned easier to do than I anticipated.

Step 1: What You'll Need

This project consists of 2 main parts, first modifying the scale.. so it doesn't have all that attitude, and then adding a fabric top, that is much more cheerful, and invites your feet to step on it in the morning.

To Modify The Scale
  • Old Mechanical Scale (not the new fangled kind that shoots electricity through your body to tell you you body fat... and doesn't seem to give you the same read out twice in 2 min... I have NO idea what to do with that one)
  • Metal Spray Paint & Primer
  • Flathead Screw Driver
  • Piece of Wire
  • Crescent wrench... or whatever wrench that is handy
  • Acrylic Paints & Gesso (Acrylic primer)
  • Enamel Paints (like for model cars)
  • Small Brushes
  • Tracing Paper
  • Carbon Paper was useful
  • Sand paper
To make the cushy part for your feet.
  • Fleece Fabric (about 1/2 a yard should be more than enough)
  • Fabric Scraps
  • Thread  & Yarn (colors of your choosing)
  • Needles: Denim needle for your machine, large eye embroidery needle for the yarn.
  • Scissors
  • Double Stick Fusible Web (You can find this in the findings sections of fabric stores, it makes life a little easier...)
  • Sewing Machine (for applique)

Step 2: Taking Apart Your Scale

My Scale turned out quite easy to take apart ... I hope yours is similar.
  • Flip the scale upside down.
  • On mine there was an attachment point for 2 springs.
  • Slide the springs off the attachment points.  The springs were fairly strong, but you still want to be gentle & not warp them... you'll need them again later.
  • I could now lift off the bottom of the scale from the top.
Removing the weight indicator.
  • Using your handy dandy wrench, go ahead and unscrew the nut holding on the disk with numbers indicating weights.
  • Remove this numbered disk... MAKING A NOTE OF THE POSITION THE ZERO IS IN!!  (it is likely not top dead center, because the springs you removed earlier were exerting some pressure already)
  • Put the bottom assembly aside (you can clean out dust bunnies, while paint is drying)

Step 3: Modifying the Weight Indicator

Prepping the Weight Indicator
  • Tape the weight indicating disk, on to a scrap piece of cardboard.  This is so you can paint & trace it with out it moving.
  • On the cardboard, indicate at least the zero position and across the circle from it.
  • Trace the Indicator. This gives you a reference as to where you would like to draw things, and helps you line them up with an actual weight.

Prime the Indicator
  • Scratch up your disk with a little sandpaper to give it some tooth.
  • Using the metal paint primer, paint the disk... be careful not to go over your zero indicator on your cardboard.
  • After it is dry... I went ahead and painted on a couple of coats of Gesso as well, to give my acrylic paints some tooth.

Sketch up your design
  • On another piece of tracing paper sketch a design over top of the tracing you made of the weight indicator.
  • I used the web... and household objects to give me reference points for different weights.  I tried to pick things that I like, and that inspire me & make me smile. So for example I used:
    • for 10lbs  --  my cat
    • for 30lbs -- a bicycle
    • for 75lbs -- a canoe
    • for 77lbs -- a brick of gold
    • for 100lbs -- a sofa
    • for 122lbs-- Books (some on on the web said that's what the encyclopedia weighed)
    • for 140lbs -- flowers start (this is the low end of my target weight limit)
    • for 160lbs -- A pair of Pants on a line (This is when I had to buy new pants!)
    • for 250lbs -- a black bear.
  • Transfer your sketch on to the dry disk. (line it up with your reference points on the cardboard.) I used a piece of old fashioned carbon paper... useful stuff!
Paint !!   (this took some time... remember you may need a few coats)
  • Paint with acrylic paints :-)
  • Set aside to dry

Step 4: Painting the Top

I decided bathroom white was not so cheerful...  so I painted the top of the scale as well.
  • I removed the plastic window and red line insert, cleaned and put them to the side.
  • Cleaned off old goo... from stuck on plastic stuff that's no longer there. This was done with the help of a screw driver & Goo be gone.
  • With a household cleaner, wiped the surface clean after using the Goo be gone.
  • I traced the inside edge... where I would later be adding my mat including where the window hole was.
  • Took it outside... laid it out on some newspaper.
  • Spray painted. (a couple of coats)

Adding a little more
  • When the spray paint dried... I grabbed a couple of enamel paints, and added some dots for fun... and a "Hi Sexy"... 'cause we all need to hear that some times, and no matter what the numbers say, I'm still sexy right?!

Step 5: Making the Inviting Mat

I thought It would probably look pretty cool the way it was.  Only I felt like the metal, would be a little cold on my feet in the morning. (I'm not good with cold).  So I decided to make a mat that could go on top.

Cutting out the mat
  • I used fleece for this project, because it doesn't fray, and I figured it would hold up to bathroom humidity fairly well... and feel nice on my toes.
  • Using the pattern I traced on top of the scale, I cut out 2 pieces of fabric exactly the same size.  (NO SEAM ALLOWANCE NEEDED)
  • I cut out the oval for the window as well.

  • I sewed around the edge of the pieces (Good sides out)... to tack them together.
  • I then Blanket Stitched around the edges with some yarn. (See the images for the blanket stitch) This step was a little tough on my fingers... I think because my yarn was so fat.
  • I also blanket stitched around the window oval.

Adding my foot print
I thought this would be fun... 
  • Easy Method: Trace your foot!
  • Cat in the Hat, make a mess all over your house, and watch the black spot grow method... (yup that's what I did) Get some water soluble ink, a roller, and some newspaper. Roller your feet with the ink... step on newspaper. TA DA!  (Now figure out how to get to the bathroom with out making a mess :-)   Water & rag near by would be helpful)
  • Grab a piece of fabric big enough for your foot prints.
  • Fuse some of the double stick fusible web to it. (keep paper on the one side, and don't iron long.) 
  • When the ink has dried (and you've finished cleaning up) pin your foot print to the fabric you have fused.
  • Cut out your foot prints from the fabric.
  • place them on your mat.
  • Iron them on (using a damp cloth over top).. you don't want to use a lot of heat, because the fleece won't like that.
  • Using a zig zag stitch and the thread of your choice (you'll need quite a bit), stitch around the foot print bits.
  • You will want your machine set to make stitch close together (#1 on my machine).  I found closer, and the machine just sort of jammed up on the build up of thread.  I went around each piece 2 times to build up the color a little more.
  • Note... the toes were a pain in the butt :-) next time I'll do 1 large print.

Step 6: Re-assembly!!

Putting it all back together.

The Disk
  • Once the paint has dried, put the disk back on, careful to place the zero spot where you made note of earlier.
  • Tighten the nut back on.
Putting on The Top
  • Put the clean window pieced back in the top, once the paint has dried.
  • Place the top face down. ( I put it on some scrap fabric, so my new paint job wouldn't get scratched)
  • Take the bottom part, with disk now attached, and place it back on the top part.
  • Using the wire, and a screw driver, go fishing for the spring!
  • Once you have the spring, pull it up, and hook it back where it went originally.
  • Do this for both springs
  • Flip the scale over.
  • Add your mat (you could put some of that no slip rug stuff under if you so desire)
  • Check to make sure the zero lines up in the right place, there is a screw on the top of mine, that I can adjust to get it to line up if it came out of adjustment)

Step 7: Ta Daa!!

Now you have a new, polite, even flattering scale!  To help you remember to stay healthy and eat well, but also remind you you're wonderful everyday... even when you forget to feel like it!!

I hope it brings a little brightness to your morning.

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    12 years ago on Step 6

    As someone who used to have an eating disorder, I have to say this is quite possible the coolest thing I've ever seen. :)


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Wow! think that may be the coolest comment i could have ever hoped to receive. Thank you. Neat to think, ideas and art can have an impact. (even mine).

    Dusk Shadows
    Dusk Shadows

    10 years ago on Step 6

    it's kinda saying the heavier you are the healthier now that's not really true but besides that its now in my favorites!


    11 years ago on Step 6

    I have to agree with magdalena89, for the same reason. I don't go near scales now because of the eating disorder which I recently realized isn't 'gone', but that's a sad tale for another time.

    My question to you, awesome author, is, your footprints are very very high in the arch. Do you have trouble finding shoes to fit? Or, even more curiously, do you have scoliosis (curvature of the spine)?

    Inquiring minds want to know (mainly because I have both of those problems with my very high arched foot. ;) I also hate socks touching my arches..)


    Reply 11 years ago on Step 6

    Hey PuzzleJen,
    I guess I never thought about my arches :-) But they are pretty high. I don't like walking bare foot for a long time because of it. I LOVE socks though ;-) the funner the better. Just makes me smile.. in case the picture didn't give it away.

    I don't have scoliosis. I understand that that can be quite frustrating, and painful. I'm sorry to hear that you have to manage that. grrrr.

    Yeah, scales are evil. (except for mine of course). I think there are very few red blooded american woman who are strong enough to not let the scale effect their ego. (and many guys too) It's so unfortunate... think about all the waisted energy we put in to not thinking we're good enough... instead of taking a reading, being aware... and then moving on with our day.

    I'd love to see one that when you step on it, it says, "ONE AT A TIME, PLEASE!", "hey, have ya thought about Weight Watchers?" or, "Dayum! What's the deal?"
    I thought that would be a riot! I would bet that it would sell big time! It's a fad unit, but watch some unsuspecting person step on it.......Hours of fun!

    This is awesome! I am thinking of getting a dial scale now instead of my digital one just to do this to it!


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice... I do not like to measure my weight, but on such scales pleased to have weighed. Thanks


    12 years ago on Step 6

    Those are some sassy looking socks to go with your cute scale :)


    Reply 12 years ago on Step 6

    Why Thank you, Thank you very much :-)


    12 years ago on Step 3

    Ever find it ironic that it says "not legal for trade" on the dial? What is that supposed to mean, anyway?

    Sorry, offbeat sense of humor coming through...


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    I think it means it's not accurate enough to use to measure like postal packages... or if your counting beans (by mass). So I guess I can't stick postage on me & head to warmer climates :-)

    Perhaps I'll point that out t my husband, in case he gets any ideas for trading me in, for say a flask of whiskey.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    This is so cute! You could even make it to match your bathroom decor. Does the mat affect the reading at all?


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Matching scale.. could be fun!
    No, the mat's to light to affect the reading... if it were heavier, on the mechanical scales, there is a screw on the front you can turn to get it to zero out. I think that often the electronic scales have a similar functionality but you may have to reset it or something.