Inch By Inch: Making A Measuring Keepsake

*This post was Freshly Pressed*

There is a photo of me from when I was small, standing in front of a closet door posing in a long cuddly nightgown.  The funny part about the picture is that you can see I’m not even tall enough to hit my head on the doorknob. It’s just amazing to me that I was ever that small.

My parents kept a little tally of my and my brother’s heights on the wall in our basement.  We would stand straight, back flush against the wall, trying to make ourselves as tall as we could manage, as my dad made the little pencil mark above our heads, adding our names and the date.  My brother, three years younger than me, was always inches shorter, until one year, when he was about 11, he shot right past me and never looked back.  When my parents moved from the house I grew up in about 9 years ago, our little measuring keepsake was left behind.  I’m sure the new owners have long since painted over it, since I’m guessing they don’t really care how tall “Kelly” was in 1986.

Now that I have a baby girl growing taller and taller every day, I wanted a place to record all of her precious inches and feet.  Having left behind my own measuring keepsake, I wanted Annabelle’s to be portable and not simply on a stationary wall in our house.

First I thought I would buy one, but after searching in stores and online, I couldn’t find one that I loved.  So, I decided to make one for her.

This is a little sketch of my plan, which was to draw measurements on a board and then paint on some flowers and a large letter A.  As always my crafting is very loosey-goosey.  I have a general idea and then, for better or for worse, I just dive in…

First, I went to Home Depot and bought a piece of wooden molding.  Then Mike and I cut the molding down to 6 feet.  My plan was to hang the piece one foot off the ground, and start the measuring at 12 inches.

Next I drilled a hole in the top of the molding, that I could later fit a nail through to hang the piece.  (I wanted to drill the hole first because my biggest fear was that I would spend all this time painting and decorating the piece, only to have it split right now the middle when I tried to hang it up.)  Then, I sanded the drill hole and the end of the molding where it had been cut.  The below picture shows the lovely floor in our garage, where I did some night painting once The Belle was asleep…

Then I painted the wood white.  It took three coats to really cover it.

When I went to Michael’s to buy the paint to decorate the board, I found this little wooden “A” for $1.99 that I thought would be perfect for the “A” I was envisioning at the top.  When I was painting the board, I also painted the “A” blue.

After letting the board dry, I used a tape measure to carefully measure out all the inches and feet on the board, which I drew on using a thin-point black sharpie.  (I taped the tape measure to the board using painter’s tape so it wouldn’t move while I was drawing.) As you can see I started the measurements at 1 foot and put in etch marks for every half an inch.

Once I was done, I realized that I wanted the numbers to be a bit bigger, so I traced over each using a regular point black sharpie.  Then using my notes I put in all of Annabelle’s measurements starting with the day she was born.

Then it was time for the fun part…decorating it.  Using two different color blues, I painted some flowers on the board, followed by some swirly green vines and leaves.

Once all was dry I went back and added a little more detail to each flower.

Lastly, I put the “A” on using glue dots (I knew glue dots would be enough since the “A” was super light).

The room that Annabelle is in right now has a chair rail, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to hang it in there.  So we put it in one of the guest rooms.  If we have another little one, Annabelle will move to this room and the new baby will go in the nursery.  We’re kind of envisioning her in this room one day, so we thought it was the best place to hang it.  When we redo this room for her (somewhere down the line) I plan to redo it in shades of blue and white, hence the colors I chose for the keepsake.

When we showed it to Annabelle, she was so excited.  We taught her how to stand with her back up against it so we could measure her.  Now whenever we go into the room where it’s hanging, she immediately backs up and stands straight, ready to be measured.  It’s pretty adorable.

It’s already amazing to see just how small she was when she was first born, versus now.  I can only imagine how incredible it’s going to be as the marks continue to climb higher and higher with every precious inch she grows.

How do you record your child’s sweet inches and feet?

P.S. If you liked this post, you might also like: The Shirt Off Her Little Back and Remember When…

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  1. I want one! Okay, two!!!

  2. donnaheaney says:

    I just love the way the measuring keepsake looks in Annabelle’s future bedroom – and like you said – it is portable. Morris & Ana who bought our house told us they would never paint over the wall with the measurements of you and Christopher on it. One day we’ll have to go back to check:)

  3. that’s a lovely idea…functional and looks beautiful!

  4. Why couldn’t you have posted this — oh, I don’t know — 10 YEARS AGO?!?!


    I love the idea. Seriously LOVE. But I’ll have to start at a height of 50 inches for my youngest child…

    • Ha! That’s EXACTLY what my mom said…although in her case she would have needed the post slightly more than 10 years ago 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by, Mikalee!

  5. It’s perfect ! So pretty, just like your daughter. A wonderful idea. It will mean the world to her.

  6. so cute !! great idea, :) can you look at my fashion website, i would love to have your opinion on my post, its fairly new :)

  7. Oh, so cute! I love DIY crafts. :)

  8. thank you

  9. This is such a wonderful idea! And so beautifully executed. Congrats on FP, too :-)

  10. Fantastic idea, I’m gonna create one to my daughter..

  11. Really sweet; just happened to come acroos your blog by chance; it was recommended by on the ‘Dorset Cereals’ website. Love the height chart that you have created, and the decorations are very artistically drawn! Halfway through your account, I realised that you live in the U.S. Delightful blog, going to explore it a bit more now. Love the bit where you say that after you got married, you can’t stop grinning for the first year when you referred to your ‘husband’. All the best, Maureen, London.

  12. Very crafty, I LOVE it!! And your little girl is just precious! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  13. This is great! I have very good memories of my parents just marking the wall with pencil too and yes, they moved… brilliant idea… perhaps one day if I ever have a family I’ll be able to put it into action 😉

    • I’m glad you have happy memories of the pencil marks too! (Even if both of ours got left behind.) Thanks so much for stopping by…

  14. This is so cool. I was looking at some of these online but I couldn’t find one that I liked. I love the idea of making one myself. Thanks for the step-by-step directions, now I know better how to tackle it. :)

  15. Brilliant :) Loved it.

  16. This is craft is sweeeeeeeeet! I love it! =)

  17. This is so cute! Growing up, we always marked our heights on the wall, but then we couldn’t take it with us when we moved. This is a great idea!

  18. I like that you made a measuring board yourself instead of buying one, but I feel there is something lost in it becoming an object. Part of what I like about the desire to measure a child’s growth is that it Is impermanent. Even after the house that my parents live in is occupied by another family after their deaths, and the marks on the wall are painted over, they are still there. It becomes more than just a memory, but a sense of wonder for those who paint over as their mind recalls their own experiences of childhood. I just feel that what makes something beautiful is that there is the now, the then, and the eventual.
    A poem by my favorite poet exemplifies this feeling of a shared memory.
    summer rain / where the poem card peeled off / a mark on the wall

    • Thank for stopping by and for commenting. I understand what you are saying, and it is a beautiful way to look at measuring a child’s growth. I guess for me there is joyful love and amazement in seeing where she was and where she is going. It’s why I keep a journal for her and take so many pictures…so I can remember and record the moments that are so wonderfully fleeting…Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s always nice to hear a fresh perspective.

  19. This is lovely! Absolutely adorable!

  20. Cute! Love that you can take it with you if you had to move. Great post – congrats on FP!

  21. This is adorable! What a crafty mom you are!

    Courtney Hosny

  22. What a great idea! If you were so inclined, you could make these at home & sell them (or give as gifts).

  23. That is such a great idea and a cool project! Thanks for sharing.

  24. Yay! Sorry I missed your Freshly Pressed! How exciting! Great idea. My husband’s parents measure the kids when they visit and they mark it on the back of one of our doors. I’ll have to transfer it to paper if we ever move. This is much cuter.

  25. So cute! I’m reading through a bunch of your blogs and I’m amazed at how much you accomplish with glue dots! :)

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