Portable Rocket Ship Height Chart; or, when crafting calls the fool must answer.


“Portable” might be stretching it, but when your choice is to take a board or take a wall with your childrens’ height on it, guess which one you can put in the back of a U-haul? We’re packing up our whole house, which is a perfect time to make a height chart, right?  We had been measuring the boys’ heights on the wall, and we wanted to transfer the record so we could take it with us. In fairness, I bought the supplies well before we decided to move, and just now decided to put on the finishing – oh let’s be honest – starting touches.  For the design I tried to think of . . . well, tall things.  Not trees, not giraffes, too cliche, something like reaching for the stars. . . . Rocket ship!  3, 2, 1 and we have crafting lift-off!


6 foot board (1×6 inches)

Acrylic Paint

  • blue for night sky
  • white for ship
  • red or orange for fins
  • gray for windows, bolts
  • yellow for accents

You could paint the background first, or paint the ship first.  I chose the former and as with all first decisions, wish I had done it the other way to save blue paint.  Anyway, I created a ship template on craft paper nearly the length of the board, traced the outline on the board and painted it white.   I then let the board season on the floor of our living room for approximately 2 months.  This was critical.  I have to say that because otherwise it means I procrastinated for no good reason and for two months four people who know my housekeeping style (step over a rubber band on the floor for weeks instead of just picking it up) and random guests who were too well mannered to comment passed by a blue board in the living room.


Once the procrastinating seasoning was over, I picked today of all days to squeeze past all the crap in my garage to get the board, and cut out parallelograms on craft paper to trace the tail fins.  I know it looked like I just popped up from a post-Target nap and wandered in a silent trance like zombie to the garage to pull out a procrastinated board, but hey.  That’s me.

IMG_0260    IMG_0261

Anyway I traced the fins onto the ship and painted them red.  At some point in the process I was lured outside by the boys and finished the painting outside.  I felt like frickin’ Monet, the birds were chirping, the leaves whispered, and of course after the boys went back inside I heard what I tell myself was a squirrel making some menacing chittering noises, so I started to paint faster, images of a sitcom-like situation with the boys watching tv while over their shoulders through the sliding glass door you see me struggling wildly and silently with a aggressive squirrel, covered in paint and squirrel scratches.  Sometimes I think I watch too much TV.  I used a tin can to trace round windows/portholes, and painted them gray.  I am still toying with the idea of decoupaging the boys’ pictures in there, but we’ll see.


I used a balding pencil (i.e. very little eraser left) to dip in black paint, deciding the gray might not show up too well, and stamp rivets up the middle of the ship.

I then free-handed a crescent moon that started out looking like a gravity-challenged banana in the corner.  In the past, when I painted stars I painted small asterisks and didn’t really like the effect.  The background looked a little plain though without stars, so this time I dipped the handle-end of my paint brush in yellow paint and dotted the background, clustering the stars more closely towards the top and spacing them out further down.  It’s ridiculous to be that pleased about what amounts to polka dots on a 6 foot board when I painted so many other larger things, but the effect was just right.


I decided the nose of the ship needed some definition, so I Rudolphed it up with some red paint.  I then added in the heights of the boys and then measured them today.  Height chart done.


I may go back and add in their names somehow as a part of the ship design, or add a name for the ship on the nose, or the aforementioned decoupaged pictures.  For now the height record is preserved — as a historian I know there’s no going back (“scrooch down like it’s October 2013, baby, so I can falsify your height progress”) to capture the moment, so I’m happy we can take this with us when we move.