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Natalie Growth Board - May 2018

I made 2 of these growth boards for my son a couple years ago,  You can see that project here.

My daughter now needs one for her daughter, Natalie.  My daughter wants an oak board, stained dark to match here floors, with white markings and numbers.

I went to Menards and got a 1x10 x 72 inch oak board (really 3/4 x 9.25 x 72) inches. It was about $37.

I am going to use this sequence on this project.........

1. sand board to 180 or 220 grit.  Wipe with damp rag to remove dust, let dry.

2. stain with Modern Walnut, about the darkest stain I have.

3. polyurethane.

4. maybe sand again and 1 more coat of poly, will assess the need for 2nd coat after 1st coat dries (ended up with 2 coats)

5. hand letter markings and numbers using white acrylic paint

I will not apply a coat of poly on top of the white markings and numbers............because on past projects, the poly turns the white a nasty yellowish color.  Sequence on past 2 projects was....

Chalk board


-paint chalk paint

-hand letter using white acrylic

Light oak


-stain with golden oak

-hand letter in black acrylic


-since markings were black, discoloration from poly not an issue, poly even made the black letters pop out



White fine point paint pens from Hobby Lobby

This is a picture from the 1st projects, so on this one I only needed a fine point white paint pen pair, and a bottle of white acrylic paint........

Increment Marks

On  this project, I used the following process:

1. Lay down blue masking tape on RH side of board (not the increment marking side)

2. Using a 12 ft tape measure, mark each 1" increment with black Sharpie on blue tape

3. Use square to line up on each of the 1 inch marks on the blue tape

4. Using hobby lobby ink pen, mark increment line to correct length using square

5. Trace printed numbers using carbon paper

6. Hand paint the numbers inside the tracing marks with white acrylic paint and artist's brush

I used a flashlight to help illuminate the carbon tracing marks so I could see them better.  I put the board up on my table saw, so ergonomically I was in a better position to hand paint inside the carbon tracing.   I started out with the board on my lower sawhorse table, and it was too awkward of a position to hand paint.

Finished Growth Board

Closing Thoughts on This Project

Everything went pretty well as expected.  I used a little blue masking tape as borders on some of the numbers to restrict the paint..........but the latex paint wanted to pull off the varnished board when I removed the I cut it with a razor knife.  It took 3 or 4 coats of white paint to fill in each letter, since the background was dark brown.  In retrospect, maybe I should have used white enamel paint for the numbers versus acrylic paint.  The enamel paint might have stuck better to the polyurethane than the acrylic.  I rubbed the dry numbers with my fingers, and the paint stayed stuck to the wood, so good enough for this project.

It is very easy to get out of sequence drawing the increment lines, since there are 4 different lengths of lines (1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and 3 inch).  Take your time and double check as you go.

This board is designed to be attached to a wall.  It starts just below 1 ft in height, so the growth board will not his the baseboard molding on the house.