Introduction: Growth Chart for Children Made Out of Colored Pencils

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I wanted a growth chart ruler to measure my daughter as she grows up. I was going to make one out of walnut and maple but then I decided to use colored pencils and make a truly one of a kind growth chart ruler that will become a family heirloom and hopefully be passed down for generations to come! This growth chart is 7 feet long and 6 inches wide and just over an inch thick.

It takes approximately 100 colored pencils cut into 1 inch long bits to make up a 6 inch by 6 inch square. This has 1400 pencils in it that are cut into 5 pieces each making that about 7000 pencil bits in total! This turned out better than I could have ever imagined and I hope this intructable will help you make your own!

*Note that I did not use any of the white pencils for this project. I wanted the numbers and dash marks to stand out and I didn't want the white pencils to take away from that!




Enjoy the build and don't forget to send me pictures when you are done!


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Step 1: Cut Out All Pieces of Melamine

Above is a cut list and exploded diagram of what you need to cut out for the mold for the growth chart. This can be cut out from 1 piece of melamine that is at least 8 feet long and 12 inches wide.

Step 2: Pre Drill Screw Holes in Melamine Pieces

Pre dril screw holes using the countersink drill bit. place these screws about every foot along the length of the mold to fasten down the sides and at least 2 holes across the base and 1 holding the ends together.

Step 3: Wipe Paste Wax

Wipe paste wax using a rag on the entire inside of the mold, this does two things; First it acts as release agent for the epoxy we are going to pour in there later but it also stops the excess silicone caulking from sticking to the melamine when we apply it in the next step,

Step 4: Apply a Healthy Bead of Silicone

Apply a healthy bead of silicone around all the inside joints in the mold. Once done use the cake fondant ball tool to smooth the rides on the silicone. Once that is done leave it until the silicone is completely dried!

Step 5: Now Peal Up the Excess Silicone!

Once fully dry peal up the excess silicone! Because you coated the melamine in a thin layer of paste wax the excess silicone should pull up nice and clean leaving you with a perfectly smooth radius in the corners!

Step 6: Time to Cut the Pencils!

Make sure to wear eye protection!

I set up a bucket on each end of my bandsaw table to catch the bits, also I taped over the throat of where the blade enters the table to help prevent loosing any of the bits.

I set my bandsaw fence up at 1 1/8" from the blade. I only cut 1 pencil at a time and tried to make the cuts as square as possible. Each pencil should be cut into 5 pieces of equal length (1 1/8'') leaving only the very tip as waste.

*Note that I did not use any of the white pencils for this project. I wanted the numbers and dash marks to stand out and I didn't want the white pencils to take away from that!

Step 7: Start Stacking!

Its time to start filling the mold with the pencil bits! This is easiest if you stand the mold up on end this will help the bits stay in place while you are stacking them. This is tedious and takes quite a long time so be prepared for that. Also you will want to jiggle the bits every so often to get them seated together nicely with no gaps. once the mold is full all the bits should be tight together interlocking like the picture above.

Step 8: Mix and Pour Epoxy

I used the Ecopoxy Liquid Plastic 2:1.

Mix the epoxy as per the manufacturers specifications

Mix up the epoxy in small batches this is because once you pour it, it will take some time for the epoxy to settle down through all the pencils. I did this pour over 3 days popping the bubbles with a heat gun as I went.

I tinted my epoxy with black Tint. This is not necessary. I really liked the look that the black brings to the piece and it makes the colors pop.You could tint the epoxy any color you want or leave it untinted too.

Let epoxy cure completely before moving to the next step.

*You may find some of the pencils float up and start to stick out higher than the rest. don't panic just push them back down.

Step 9: Break Out!

Once the epoxy is fully cured (See manufactures specifications) you can remove the melamine mold.

Step 10: Time to Sand!

Now its time to sand your growth chart! I used a drum sander for this to get a nice smooth consistent finish.

If you don't have a drum sander then a thickness planer should work. If you use this then I would build some sort of planer sled for it with a stop on the back to help prevent tear out!

Step 11: Lay Out Your Numbers!

I used a white coloured pencil to mark the location of the numbers. I used the 2.5 inch numbers from the Miles Craft Sign Pro Router Jig and placed them out inside the jig. I centered the numbers to cross the line at every foot starting 6 inches from the bottom. (see the photo above). to set the location of the numbers from the side of the chart I lined up the edge of the jig to the edge of the growth chart (see photo above).

Step 12: Router Out Numbers

Now its time to router out the numbers! Be sure everything is lined up and your number templates are the correct orientation!

Step 13: Lay Out the Inch Marks and Dashes

Now that your numbers are cut it's time to lay out the inch marks and dashes. I used the period and the dash provided in the template to do this. I placed a dash at the line for every foot and eleven dots for each inch at 1 inch spacing between them. Use the same procedure to router these out.

Step 14: Mix Up Coloured Epoxy

Now it's time to mix up the coloured epoxy for the numbers. I used white because it stands out really good against the coloured pencils. Mix the epoxy as per manufacturer specifications. I used a mixing stick to dab the epoxy in place. let dry until fully cured before proceeding to the next step.

Step 15: Sand the Numbers!

Now its time to sand the numbers flush with the growth chart surface. I used a drum sander for this, but you could also use a scraper and random orbital sander.

Step 16: Lay the Top Coat of Epoxy

First I ran TUCK Tape around the perimeter of the chart to act as a barrier to keep the epoxy in.

Then I mixed up a batch of clear epoxy and poured it on the surface.

I used a Bondo Trowel to spread the epoxy around. once this was completed I used a heat gun to pop any bubbles that formed and I let fully cure.

Step 17: Round Over the Edge

I used painters tape to protect the surface while I did this step.

Take your trim router and a 1/8 rounder bit and round over the top surface edges.

Step 18: Cut the Keyhole!

Flip the growth chart over and mark the top with a white grease pen. measure out the best location to place your keyhole for hanging the chart on your wall. Use a keyhole router bit and your trim router for this.

Step 19: Hang It on Your Wall!

Now its time to enjoy this growth chart! I use a white Sharpie marker to mark on it I have been taking every opportunity to record everyone in my families hight!

If you liked this Instructable please check out my web site to and youtube channel to check out some of my other projects!