When I attend baby showers I always try to get something a little different. As fun as it is to buy baby clothes, I know that’s what most people buy, and as nice as it is to receive them it can also be frustrating when you get too many of one size. To avoid that I like to buy toys for down the road, older sized clothes, a little gift for the mom (because how many moms feel forgotten after baby?) or something practical. I also like to try and make my own gifts if I can. 1, Because it’s fun! 2, It saves us money. When my husbands cousin and his wife had a baby a few weeks ago I knew exactly what I wanted to make for them!
When Ellie was born I had been on Pinterest and found a few growth charts. I also saw them frequently posted on a BST (Buy/Sell/Trade) group I’m in. They were always priced around $50-$60 and I knew there was no way I could spend that on one! So I went to work researching how to make one for cheap, and it was so easy! I found a wood fence post that had already been primed, at a hardware store, for what I believe was $3-$4. I took house paint I already had at home and did 2 coats of paint on the front of the board. I let it dry and measured from the bottom of the board up. The board was 6 ft. tall and I was hanging it just about the baseboard, so I measured how high off the ground it would be and made a mark for every inch and then foot. I painted on the numbers and lines with acrylic paint, and I was done! It was so easy, and I was so happy I had done it instead of spent the money.
For this growth chart I wanted to try something different. Because I didn’t really know their style in their house or if they would like to hang something like this up I wanted it to be able to fold up easily if they wanted to just mark it off and put it away until next time. Off to Pinterest I went, looking at the different styles of fabric growth charts. Most of them were actually fabric and had cute designs, but I wanted to work with burlap. I got some ideas and made my own!
I went to Michaels and, with a 30% off coupon and $20 gift card, I ended up paying $6 for a $39 dollar purchase! What I left with:
-roll of burlap, 6m long, 6″ wide ($19.99)
-blue twine ($7.99)
-wooden dowel ($1.49)
-blue Sharpie (I forget!)
Other items you’ll need for the project:
-wooden box (bought from Dollarama, $2)
-safety pins ($2 from Walmart)
-acrylic paint (from Dollarama, $1/tube)
-paint brushes (Dollarama, $2/pack)
-hot glue gun, glue sticks
-sewing machine (optional)
-small saw (I used a knife and cutting board, the dowel wasn’t thick)
I don’t think I’m missing anything! Now to get started. Gather all your supplies and try to get everything in one place. The project took me about 1.5 hours, not including paint drying time.
1.) cut your dowel down to size. The one I bought was long enough to make a few charts, so I took the width of the burlap and added an inch to each side and got my length for the dowel. You need two of these.
3.a) before you measure out your burlap hot glue the first dowel about 3 inches down on the top of the burlap. You want to have enough room to fold over the burlap and have it fold on top of the dowel to make a seam. I also left enough room for the pressure foot on my sewing machine, but this can be skipped if you don’t want to sew the seam for extra support.
3.b) if you’re skipping the sewing step you can go ahead and hot glue the first fold for the seam, then fold the material over the dowel and hot glue again. Make sure you’re folding it under the first time as that will prevent the material from unravelling.
3.c) if you are planning on sewing the seam you can hot glue the first fold, then fold the fabric across the dowel and pin in place until you’re able to sew it. I prefer to get both ends pinned and sew at the same time.
4.) next I rolled out the burlap on the floor and used a sharpie to mark each inch, until I had marked out 6 feet and a few inches, leaving about 6 inches above the last mark for the second seam and dowel. I also started from 0 so the chart can be even with the ground, however you can measure how high off the ground you would like it if you don’t want it level with the ground. Typically they’re hung just above the baseboard so you would need to leave approximately 2″.
5.) repeat step 3, gluing the dowel to the burlap and creating a seam. Be sure that the seam is closed on the opposite side of where you’re planning on painting, and that both seams are on the same side.
6.) once you have both seams pinned you can choose to glue them or sew them closed.
7.) take the dowel with the holes drilled through and feed through the twine, making tight knots on each side. This will be how the chart is hung on the wall.
8.) paint over the ticks you’ve made for each marking of feet and inches and let dry. I free-handed the numbers but you can print off templates if you want fancier numbers. Let the paint dry completely.
Then you’re done! It’s such a simple project, and it was so fun to make. I made a little kit personalized to the baby (excuse the crooked writing, I did it freehand and it didn’t turn out well!), but added name tags so that the chart could be used for more than one child if they wanted. In the kit I included the tags and safety pins (not pictured) so the tags could be hung at the correct place. The chart can be personalized however you wish, if you want to add birth information to the chart or just a name. Either way you can make it your own!