I also debated adding Lily's name or some pastel colors to match her nursery, but in the end thought it would be cool if they could use that one ruler for all of their future kids. Then I teared up thinking about their future kids marking their height on it (I'm a sap).
This project is super easy to do, but can be a bit time consuming if you're a perfectionist. The good news is that it only requires one board (no cuts) and you can use any color paint or stain that you want. Customize away!
First you'll want to sand your board. I used a medium grit hand sanding block from 3M, but anything comparable will work. Smooth the edges of the board fairly well and lightly sand the front and back of the board. Use a dry brush to wipe away the bulk of the sanding dust, then use a damp cloth to remove any remaining dust.
Next comes the painting. I'm a big believer in using water based paints and primers. I work in a small space and they don't fill it with awful smells like oil based formulas do. I'm also a big fan of priming wood before painting. I use Minwax Pre-Stain Conditioner and apply it with a foam roller. Let it dry for about 10 minutes, then you're ready to paint.
I like to use 2-3 thin coats and sand lightly in between each coat (wiping away the dust in between each coat). I apply the paint with a small, angled paint brush and work in small sections. Allow for 1 hour of drying time in between coats, assuming you use water-based paint (oil based require longer dry time).
I found it easier to trace everything out with a pencil and then just fill it in free-hand with my paint pen. I used a Sharpie paint pen in fine to do the outline and medium to fill everything in. It was a little time consuming, but really easy. I did it while I was watching TV.
One really important step (i.e. READ THIS PART) - make sure to factor in where you will hang the ruler and how high off the ground it will be. I started mine at 5 inches to allow for their 4 inch baseboards and a little room in between.
For marking height and using this over the years, it's as simple as using a paint pen or a regular sharpie. You can use a different color for each child or customize it however you want.
That's it! I think these make a really nice gift for new parents. I'm going to try my hand at a stained ruler next, to see if I can replicate the ruler look exactly.
If you try this project, I would love to hear about it or see your post so leave it in the comments section.