Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Wall Ruler

Okay, how fun is this?!?  I love functional, yet beautiful decor.  And this fits the bill.  I saw one perusing Pinterest, posted by First Home . . . Love Life and pinned it immediately.  I had to make my own.
 Lucky for me, I had just the right wood in my garage.  You see, on one of my various jaunts to the local landfill, I headed over to the household demo section.  I'm at home there, tip toeing through the piles of discarded treasures.  Making sure I had on rubber-soled shoes (unlike the time I showed up in slippers),  I spotted this jewel.  It's amazing to me that someone could throw out this fabulous barn door.  I guess it's not all that amazing.  I'm just weird that way.
The fabulous barn door carelessly discarded -- yahoo!!
Anyhow, I took the door apart and chose one of the planks to create the ruler.  The wood is about an inch thick, 6' tall, and about 5 1/2" wide.  I cleaned the wood with soap and water and decided not to add any stain because I knew putting wax on as a finishing coat would bring out the beauty of the wood.

The next, and IMPORTANT step is to figure where you will put this on the wall.  You can make your ruler as "tall" as you want, depending on where you start it on the wall.  I needed mine to be placed 4" above the floor.  So that means that my ruler markings will start at 4", not at zero.  If you choose to make your own, don't miss this important step.  You will be sorely disappointed that you forgot to figure in the baseboard heater with your measurements.
Now you need to figure out where your markings will go.  I took a yard stick and a pencil and just started to make small marks along the wood.  When finished, you are ready to grab your permanent marker and start making the lines.  Have a game plan before you start.  I used a square and pulled my marker along the square for a perfect line.  I also decided that the foot markings would be the longest lines, the half-foot markings the next longest and quarter-foot markings the next longest and the rest stayed the same length.

The fun part is figuring the font to use for your numbers.  I chose Bodoni MT at 370 font.  I change the font to an outline format so I don't waste ink by filling in the numbers.  After printing them and cutting each number out individually, I place where I like and then use a ballpoint pen and heavy pressure to trace the number.  If you find that your wood is too hard to show the indentation in the wood, use a pencil or soft charcoal to trace the number on the back of the paper, so when you put it in place on the ruler, the pressure you use to trace the number on the right side will transfer the pencil markings.  Fill the numbers in with your marker.  When finished, I just used a coat of Minwax Paste Finishing Wax. I love the feel of wax, so it's my go-to sealer.

Bodoni MT font
Now hang that baby!  I chose to use screws with washers into a stud.  It didn't make sense to me to "hang" it as it is meant to be functional, so I was afraid it would sway along the wall when the children backed into it to measure themselves.  

Jack approved.  :)
I have a few more pieces of wood available from the reclaimed barn door.  If you don't want to attempt one of these beauties on your own, I've made them available in my shop


  1. This is a great project! I have been wanting to attempt one so thanx for the tutorial!

  2. Im SO into your blog! lol I too want to make one of these,what a precious smile!! :))

    I have JUST the spot for this~

  3. I've made one with my silhouette, and I thought it was difficult! You make it sound so easy!

    great job, happy Jack approves!


  4. Yours turned out great :) thanks for linking back to me. Much appreciated! Xo

  5. I make custom growth charts for folks just like this but I paint on the numbers and lines. I like the marker idea. I also put the name and birthdate of the child if they wish, it has been a huge hit. People like the idea they can take it with them if they move.
    I am with you, my heart would've stopped if I had seen that barn door discarded at a landfill. And to think you have more wood to use yet. Score!

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