I made a giant ruler for my granddaughter so her growth can be easily marked and kept forever. I used a router but it can be done with a wood burner too. These are so fun to make and use!
Step 1: Select Your Board and Begin Marking the Measurement Lines
I used a piece of pine that was 6 feet long, 8 inches wide, and 3/4 inch thick. I started marking, using a pencil, beginning at 6 inches. I marked every ½ of an inch making the ½ inch marks ½ inch long, the inch marks and inch long, the 3 inch marks 1.5 inches long, the half foot marks 2 inches long, and the foot marks 3 inches long.
Step 2: Add the Numbers
Then added the numbers using a template and a pencil. Make sure to add the numbers so that they are going from 1 to 6 left to right. ( I have done this backwards, it still works but looks better the other way.) Or you can put them horizontal when the ruler is vertical. It’s whatever you want!
Step 3: Router the Lines and the Numbers or Use a Wood Burner
Next I started routering. (I have also done this with my wood burner and burn the lines and numbers.) You can start wherever you would like, I started with outlining the numbers first. I used the Solid Carbide 45°/15° Sign Making Veining Bit #5075 with ¼ inch shank by MLCS. When I marked the lines of the ruler I used a speed square to guide the router. That made it very easy to router straight lines. Then I cleaned out the inside of the numbers using a flat tipped router bit.
Step 4: Sand Away the Fuzzies If You Used the Router
I sanded all of the fuzzies left from routering. I used a sanding sponge and it worked very well.
Step 5: Optional: Placing a Sanding Sealer
Sanding sealer prevents paint from seeping or bleeding into areas outside of where you have painted. The sealer will help maintain a nice paint line. If you are not painting on your project you won't need the sealer. I placed a sanding sealer because I used a piece of pine which tends to allow bleeding, and I was adding paint.
Allow the sealer to completely dry before proceeding.
Step 6: Paint the Routered Areas
I used blue tape to tape over the knots in the wood that I didn’t want paint to get into. Then I painted all of the routered areas with black primer. Let that dry completely.
I used black primer because I like how it works with the wood and it dries really fast. You can use whatever paint you want though.
If you didn't router then you can move on to the decorating step!
Step 7: Sanding Off the Excess Paint
Next I removed the blue tape and sanded off the excess paint with 80 grit sandpaper using an orbital sander.
Step 8: Decorate!
Next I decorated the ruler how I wanted. This can be done any way that you like. I have used water colors, color toner transfer, black toner transfer, and acrylic paint. I have also used carbon paper to transfer an image or letters and then router them or paint them. On this particular project I printed off colored characters with my laser jet and heat transferred them to the ruler with my wood burner.
Step 9: Paint the Edge
Then I used a giant 1 inch sharpie to blacken one edge where the lines of the ruler meet the edge. You can use paint if you would like too, a sharpie works well for black! If you used a different color for the lines and numbers then use that same color.
Step 10: Add a Protective Finish
Lastly, I added a finish to protect the project. I used polyurethane. Make sure to follow the instructions for application, drying time, and any recommended sanding. I also pre-drilled 4 holes, two on the top and two on the bottom, for easy attaching to the wall. Remember to mount the ruler 6 inches from the floor.
I always like to add something to the back of my projects. I put my logo and usually a Bible verse. You can put whatever you like. Adding the date is a good idea too. Or even an email address for customer projects.