Wooden Growth Chart with Fabric 'Appliques'

So along the way I have started a tradition to give all the babies I know a growth chart for their first birthday.  My kids get the sturdy and heavy wood ones (click here for the tutorial for a painted wooden Growth Chart I made for my oldest), and all the other kids I know get the easy to ship fabric growth charts.  Well I've made 8 of the fabric ones in the past few months (was there a baby boom in spring of 2011 or what!?!?!) and I really loved all the fun fabrics I got to use.  So when it came time to make a wooden Growth Chart for my baby girl I was dreading the not-so-impressive painting talents I possess.  I wanted to figure out a way to use all the pretty fabrics I have on a wood Growth Chart.  And here is my solution:
Wooden Growth Chart with Fabric 'Appliqués'

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Now before you roll your eyes…I'm using the term 'appliqué' loosely.  There will be zero sewing through wood!  I know we love to sew anything and everything, but this is a no-sew project!
First, the supply list:
4' x 1' pine board ($7 from Lowe's)
lots of cute fabrics (free from "The Stash")
Heavy Duty iron-on Adhesive ($6 from Wal-Mart)
Cricut/Silhouette machine, or scissors and lots of patience
wooden letters (optional, mine were $2 each from Joann's)
iron
Xacto knife

First, I spray painted my board white to cover 90% of the wood grain. 

{The goal was to get it all covered, but after about 8 coats I ran out of time and patience and we are going to pretend the plan was for a little bit of the grain showing through.}

Then drill two holes in the top for the ribbon to go through when you hang it up.
 Next you need to get the fabric ready to cut.  Since I was using a Cricut I cut my fabric into 12 x 12 squares before using the iron-on adhesive.  Follow the instructions on the packaging and adhere the iron-on adhesive to all your fabric pieces. 

 {The secret to 'appliquéing' fabric onto wood is that you are using the Heavy Duty iron-on adhesive to secure your fabric directly to the wood.  And you have to use the Heavy Duty adhesive, there will be no other bonding materials used to attach the fabric.}

 Next you'll need to cut out lots and lots and lots of fun shapes for your Growth Chart.  I use Sir Cuts-a-lot software with my Cricut so I prefer to stick to the wingding fonts I have on my computer. 

 The flowers used on Bethany's Growth Chart are all from the 'Saru's Flower Ding' font.  You can download if for free hereAnd to get the nested flower effect using Sir Cuts-a-lot you have to use the shadow feature on the letters/flowers and stack them one on top of the other at 1.5" size increments.

 {NOTE:  if you are going to cut your shapes using a Cricut here is a great tutorial I used to get comfortable with cutting fabric}

 Once you have lots and lots and lots of fabric cut outs WITH THE IRON-ON ADHESIVE ALREADY APPLIED you are ready to 'appliqué' your wooden Growth Chart.

 Once it's all laid out the way you like follow your iron-on adhesive's packaging for applying the final product.  The main thing I learned is that your iron should be on high heat with no steam. 

I also learned that if you did pre-paint the board you should not slide the iron back and forth.  This scuffed up my paint on the first section I ironed.

Just set the iron on the fabric in sections holding it down for about 2-3 seconds at a time.  You'll need about 10 total seconds on the fabric to make sure the iron-on adhesive is securely bonded so just keep lifting and setting down the iron.  Over and over and over…

Now for the letters!

I bought white letters and could have just left them as is.  But with the white board it was hard to read baby girl's name.  So I came up with another technique to cover only the tops of each letter with more fabric.  I left the sides white for contrast and to show that they are raised off the board. 

I mentioned that the wooden letters are optional for this project and you could just as easily cut out the letters from fabric and iron them right onto the board.  That's what's so great about this type of project…you can choose how much to spend and how it's going to look.  There are no wrong choices!

If you want to make the fabric front letters like I used, you get your fabric ready just like we mentioned above with the iron-on adhesive on one side.  But you DO NOT CUT out the letters before ironing them on. 

You iron the fabric onto the wooden letter as a big square with lots of overhanging fabric. 


Then you use an Xacto knife and a steady hand to cut away the excess fabric.  This way your fabric will fit perfectly to the shape of the letter and you don’t have to worry about lining it up after it's cut.



Once all the letters are covered I used my trusty hot glue gun to attach the letters to the Growth Chart. 

Add a ribbon through the two holes at the top and there you go!  A personalized Wooden Growth Chart with Fabric 'Appliqués'.  So easy and so custom!  You just have to find the time!


{Bethany was not feeling the photo shoot this day, but trust me, she loves staring at her Growth Chart!!}

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8 Response to Wooden Growth Chart with Fabric 'Appliques'

June 19, 2012 at 7:11 AM

How cute! I've been looking for growth chart ideas now that my son is a couple months from one. Thanks for the ideas!

June 19, 2012 at 7:16 AM

Cute! I love how you used the wood letters too.

June 19, 2012 at 7:39 AM

SO cute! I love how easy the Cricut makes things! Will be such a cool keepsake for her when she is all grown! I am following ; )

June 19, 2012 at 12:55 PM

So cute!!! I might have to copy this idea!!! :)

June 20, 2012 at 11:44 AM

I really love how you have embellished these! So cute!

June 21, 2012 at 1:00 PM

TO CUTE! Would love for you to link up to my linky party.
http://www.thegirlinthewildwest.com/

June 24, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Thanks for linking up to last week's Tuesday Confessional link party! You've been featured so stop by and grab a brag button!
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June 28, 2012 at 7:11 AM

What a great idea! With so many designs and fonts in the Cricut cartridges this would be easy to personalize for any little girl or boy. Really nice.

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