This DIY wooden tree growth chart was my solution to our classroom auction project last year. I’m excited to be able to share the tutorial so you can create one of these for yourself – whether in your own home or for your own school auction. The two-tone stained tree with child-created wooden discs will become a keepsake and an art piece that you will be proud to display. I’ve been in charge of an auction project before, and this is our previous auction item that was also a hit at the event.
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DIY Wooden Tree Growth Chart – Materials Needed
- Wood – We bought dimensional lumber. In retrospect, I wish I had taken more time to search for a better piece. Ours was a little warped, so it was probably harder to hang flat on a wall – do-able just not as easy. My husband recommends picking out a shelf and just going with a grain and size that is good for you and your design. We bought lumber that we cut down to 6 feet long. I did the project a year ago and forgot the width of the board. Eek. I’m so sorry. I would estimate 18 inches. You just want to make sure you have enough room for your tree design, wooden circles and numbers. * Note, one of my readers did the project, and she reported back that based on her calculations, my board was probably closer to 12″ wide. She might be right.
- Circular Saw
- 150 grit Sand Paper
- Hand Sander – optional, but it makes life so much easier
- MinWax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner
- Polyurethane Rust-Oleum, Satin
- MinWax Espresso Stain
- Wooden Craft Circles of Varying Sizes
- Colored Sharpies or Other Markers
- Wood Glue
- Wood Burning Tool
- Wooden Numbers
- Tape Measure
- Metal Square Tool
- Paint Brush for larger areas
- Small Paint Brush for smaller details
Note: I linked to the products I used, but you can pick out the stain color or wood treatments that you love.
DIY Wooden Tree Growth Chart – Written Instructions
- Cut your wood to size and sand.
- Lay out your design. Measure and set the wooden height numbers in place – every foot. We wanted this to be hung 6″ off the ground, so started at 6″.
- With numbers in place, draw out your tree design. I just free-handed the tree. If you are uncomfortable attempting this, find an artist friend who is willing to help. Remember to leave room for the wooden circles.
- Using the wood burning tool, trace around your tree outline. You might want to experiment with this on a scrap piece of wood. My Type A husband was much better at this – knowing how to keep proper pressure while moving along the wood.
- At this point I would also measure out all of your notch marks that indicate height (Not shown in pictures as we did later in the process). Set your tape measure along the side and mark at every inch. Do a longer line at each foot. We used a metal square tool to keep the notches straight. Once marked with a pencil, trace over with the wood burning tool.
- Brush on a coat of pre-stain wood conditioner. Allow to dry as per instructions on the back.
- Stain wooden numbers.
- Stain wooden tree up to the edge of the wood burned outline. Test away from the line to watch for bleeding. We had very little problem with bleeding, but it might depend on the wood type. You could test on a sample wood to feel confident moving forward.
- Once stained, press a paper towel into the stain to remove excess. Do not rub. Just press down once and dispose of towel and then move on to the next area with a new paper towel.
- Allow to dry as indicated on the back of the stain container.
- Spray with final polyurethane coat. Allow to dry as indicated on the back of the container.
- Using wood glue, glue down the numbers in the correct spot.
- Have children color the wooden circles. I encouraged a graphic, geometric design, limiting the number of colors to give a more cohesive look.
- Using wood glue, glue the wooden circles in place as you see fit.
Note: This being an auction project we wanted to incorporate the children’s designs on the circles. This is completely optional. The tree can be kept bare or the circles could be stained a variety of stain colors as well. There are a variety of ways the base of this project can be adapted for your design needs.
Another Idea: A reader wrote in that did this project. Here is what she did – “I had them trace their hands today and I’m going to use the wood burner on the back to add their hand prints and all their names… part of a concession for not putting names on front!” I love this idea!!
DIY Wooden Tree Growth Chart – Picture Tutorial
This was such a fun project to create and be able to auction off for our school. I hope it might inspire more DIY projects for your home.