It’s been a long time coming, but here’s the tutorial I have been promising to share on our wooden arrow growth chart from our little boy’s woodland themed nursery. Everyone loves the aged and distressed look of it!
With Ryan on his “I’m going to make everything” mindset this year, we decided to create a growth chart that had some meaning behind it. Not only that, we wanted it to be versatile enough to decorate in any other room. When Conrad gets older and decides he wants a different look for his room (*lump in throat*), I want to be able to take this arrow and incorporate it somewhere else in the house without making it look too “kid” like. I think we accomplished that!
Because we had some other supplies from our other DIY woodland wall art project, this wooden arrow only cost us $20!
We adapted the growth chart from Carrie of Lovely, Etc. with a few small changes. I think it turned out amazing! I’ve linked the exact tools and supplies we used, but you can use whatever you have around the house:
- Miter Saw
- Jig Saw (or whatever saw you are most comfortable with)
- Router with a Finish Trim Bit
- Orbital sander and fine sand paper 120 grit
- Tape Measure
- Straight Edge (whatever you have around the house as a guide)
- Dimensional Pine 3/4 inch x 10 inch x 8 foot (less than $10)
- White Interior Paint
- Miniwax Wood Stain in Dark Walnut (have latex gloves and a few wash cloths near by for this part)
- Miniwax Fast Drying Polyurethane Clear Satin Finish (you could also use the semi gloss one for a shinier look)
- White Paint Pen (find it at Hobby Lobby)
1. Determine where you plan on putting it on the wall. Your options are (a) placing the bottom of the arrow on the ground like this:
or (b) hanging it on the wall above the trim:
This is important and will let you decide how big you want your arrow as well as where to start the numbering. We made the arrow so that the tip hits 6 feet.
2. After figuring out the length of the arrow you want, draw the arrow on the board using the ruler or a straight edge (in the picture, he’s using some railing we had laying around).
Per my own taste, I wanted the tail of the arrow to be a little fat.
3. Use a jig saw (or whatever saw you are most comfortable with) to cut out the arrow without going over the lines.
4. Next, take your router with the finish trim bit and trace the edge of your arrow. This step is not necessary, BUT it will give your arrow a clean smooth look around the edges. This step makes your arrow a lot smoother (and takes the fear out of me for sharp edges around kids).
5. To prep for the next step of painting, sand it down and wipe off the dust completely. Do a thorough job on this, as you do not want any dust on it!
6. Paint the front and sides white (or whatever color you prefer). Do one coat. We didn’t do the backside. Wait until it is thoroughly dry.
7. Next, carefully determine how and where you want the distressed parts of your arrow to be. Sand down the areas of the arrow that you want to distress and weather it. The arrow at Lovely, Etc. has a more uniform and weathered look to it because she sanded evenly as well as used mineral spirits. We decided we want a heavier aged & distressed look, so we sanded some of the areas a little more than the rest to expose the wood grain. We also decided to forgo the mineral spirits.
8. Next step, wipe down the arrow again.This time, stain the arrow using Miniwax Wood Stain in Dark Walnut (make sure you put gloves on).
9. While the arrow was drying, I printed out the numbers in Bodoni Black font. I cut the numbers out so that I could use them as stencils on the arrow.
10. After the arrow dried, I used my pencil to lightly mark and tic where I wanted each measurement (I only marked each foot measurement). I then traced the numbers with pencil LIGHTLY so that I could then go over it with the white paint pen. In the end, I also decided to add a line for each measurement mark on either side of the number.
11. Once the numbers dried, I lightly sanded the numbers to smooth it out.
12. Lastly, to provide a little gloss and sheen, we used Miniwax Fast Drying Polyurethane Clear Satin Finish (you could also use the semi gloss one for a shinier look).
I think this giant aged rustic wooden arrow growth chart is a beautiful addition to his room and hopefully something that can be passed down from one generation to the next!
For more growth chart inspiration, follow my Pinterest Board on exactly that – GROWTH CHARTS! Pin this on your DIY board and share the love.