I originally posted this idea on my blog, 517 Creations last week, but thought that it fit in so well with our mom2mom series that I'd post it here, too. :)
One sure way for our mailman to make my day is for him to leave a Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, or Ballard Designs catalog in our mailbox! I love browsing through the catalogs, pouring over the pages, and circling items I’d love to buy if I had a million dollars. But, let’s face it…I have Pottery Barn (and Ballard) taste on a Target budget!
To remedy this, I have started creating “knock offs” of some of my favorite items from the design catalogs. One item that’s been in the Inspiration folder on my computer – doesn’t everyone have an Inspiration folder? – is the Pottery Barn Ruler Growth Chart. Sadly, they don’t sell it anymore…but that didn’t stop me from creating a “knock off”.This project ended up costing me a little under $7, because I had most of the supplies on hand. The only thing I had to purchase was a 1 x 8 x 6 board from Lowe’s.
I stained the board with Walnut stain, giving it 2 coats and letting it dry in between coats. I brushed the stain on with a paint brush and then wiped most of it off with a rag. I wanted a vintage, aged look, so I wasn’t too careful with making sure the coats were even.
After letting it dry for 4-6 hours (per the instructions on the can), I brought it in the house to tackle making this stained piece of wood look like a ruler. I pulled out a pencil, a ballpoint pen, my acrylic ruler, and a paint pen. This is where it gets a little tricky, but it’s worth it!
I marked off 1-inch marks along the entire length of the board. In order to mimic the lines on a ruler, I made the “quarter” lines 2 inches long and the “eighth” lines 1 inch long. Make sense? I drew all the lines in pencil first, then went back and went over them with my paint pen. This took a little while, but I did it while watching “The King’s Speech” with my hubs to help me pass the time! This picture gives you a better idea of how I did the lines...
One more thing – I started marking off my “ruler” at 6 inches, because I wanted to be able to hang it on the wall. If you’d rather rest it on the floor, start marking at 1 inch. So, my 6 foot board ends up looking more like a 6 ½ foot “ruler”.
I wanted the numbers to look authentic, so I found a font that I liked (Century) and printed out the numbers 1-6 in 200 point font. I rubbed a pencil on the back of the numbers, placed the numbers where I liked, and traced the numbers with my ballpoint pen. This left a slight indention and pencil lines on the actual board. I simply filled that outline in with my paint pen. It requires a little bit of a steady hand, but you’ll get the hang of it!
After I created my “ruler”, I sprayed the entire board with a clear coat to protect my work. This still allows me to measure my son’s height and mark on it, but gives it a finished look.
To hang it, I simply attached a sawtooth picture hanger to the back and hung it on a nail in our playroom. It’s not very heavy, so it didn’t take much to hold it. But, if you have a particularly rowdy crew, or want to hang it in a more high traffic area, you might consider attaching it a little more permanently to the wall.
Using a measuring tape, I made sure that the Ruler Growth Chart was hung on the wall at an accurate height. This way Grayson can just stand in front of the ruler to measure his height, much like you’d do on a wall or door at your house.
I’ll be back next week with another fun way to decorate on a budget!
Do you have any great ideas for decorating on a budget? Any good Pottery Barn knock offs we need to know about? :)
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