Introduction: Make a Height Chart Using Only 1 Board!

About: Average Can Be Extraordinary

Wondering how to make a kids height chart? It really couldn't be easier! Here's how I made a height chart using only one plank of wood!


Step 1: Carve Measurement Lines

This project requires 1 cut to be made. Seriously! I measured 6ft from the bottom of the board and marked a square line. Then using a handsaw I cut the board to length. You can of course make the board as long as you want but 6ft is a good average to work with.

With the board cut to length the next step is to mark the measurement along the right hand side. I only show quarter foot marks which are ever 3 inches. Using a tape measure I marked 3 inch steps all the way up the board. I started the measurements at 6 inches. This is so the board can be hung 6 inches off the floor and the measurements will be right.

Using a square, I marked lines at the 3 inch marks I made earlier. The lines that represent the 1/4 foot marks were the shortest. The 1/2 foot marks were slightly longer and the full 1 foot marks were the longest. Now we can carve the lines we marked. A palm router and straight bit is great for this job. I used a 10mm straight bit set to 4mm deep to carve the full 1 foot marks. To keep the router straight I used my square as a guide. I could then ride the straight edge of my routers base plate against it.

For the 1/2 foot and 1/4 foot marks I used a 6mm straight bit set to 4mm deep. You can also use a scrap piece of wood clamped to the board as a straight edge guide if you don't feel comfortable using the square.

Step 2: Carve the Numbers

Once those lines are carved all the way up the board then its time to carve the numbers. I made some number templates using my laser engraver but these shapes can be bought online and from craft stores. I traced round them to give me a guide line so I could free hand carve them.

Using the same 6mm bit as earlier set to 4mm deep I carved away the majority of the material inside of the lines. I could then clean up the edges with a chisel.

Step 3: Paint the Details

A quick sand cleans up the board ready for painting. I used black acrylic paint for the craved lines and then used a variety of bright acrylic colours for the numbers. Don't worry about staying inside the carved lines. We will clean them up later with the sander.

When the paint was dry I gave the painted areas a couple coats of spray lacquer. This will just protect the paint. The sander will remove any excess paint from the surface but leaves the paint untouched inside the carving. Last bit of shaping to do is to ease the edges. I opted for a chamfer bit in my palm router. I trimmed all the edges on both sides.

Step 4: Stain & Add Hanger

I thought the board was looking a bit pale so stain was the option I went with. I used a water based teak stain. It made the colours look a lot richer I think. When the stain was dry I applied some wood butter (wax). This gets buffed after it has been left to soak into the wood for a while.

To hang the height chart on the wall I thought keyhole hangers would be the best bet. It only needs one for the use case so I set the hanger in the centre of the board on the back at the 6ft mark. This means the screw can be placed in the wall at 6ft and all the measurements will be right. I needed the hanger to be flush on the back so I used the palm router to carve away a small pocket for it to fit in. 2 screws hold the hanger in place. Really simple.

Step 5: Add Magnets

I wanted a way for people to add photos to the side of the board if they wanted to. I think it would be great to show photos of your child as they grow up. Being able to look back at their height mark, their age, the year and a photo of them at that time. To add the photos I thought magnets would be a good option so I used the off cut from the board to make some 1 inch squares. These got painted with the same acrylic colours that I used for the numbers. Then I attached an adhesive fridge magnet to the back on the square. I lined up the mating magnets to it, making sure the orientation was correct for the strongest hold. Then I stuck it to the board by the side of the number.

Photo's are held really well under the magnets. It enables a lot of possibilities for displays. Of course you don't need to add these magnets but I think they make a nice addition.

Step 6: Done

Here is the height chart done. A really simple project and it makes an ideal gift idea! Give it a try!

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