Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Elephant Growth Chart

Lydia has become really aware of how big she is and also how big she wants to be this school year. With the help of Pinterest and a Sharpie marker I made a "giant ruler" growth chart a while back and have enjoyed watching Lydia measure herself frequently.
I was trying to think of something to make as a gift for Lydia's teacher. I started thinking that if Lydia enjoyed measuring herself, a whole class of three to four year olds might really enjoy a classroom growth chart. Lydia's class has an elephant theme, so I started dreaming up ideas for an elephant themed growth chart.
I found an odd scrap of canvas and then found an elephant image online. I cropped and resized the picture in Word so that the elephant was exactly six inches tall. My idea was elephants stacked on top of each other so that 2 elephants equaled a foot.
Using my printout, I did a simple transfer by rubbing pencil lead on the back.
Then I could just trace the picture pressing really hard to transfer the design. I just traced the outside edge of the elephant shape because I was painting the whole thing grey anyway.
I would trace an elephant and then paint an elephant until I filled the length of the canvas.
Next I traced the details and went over them with a paint pen.
Because the chart had unfinished canvas edges, I wanted to make a sign to finish off the top and create a focal point. I found a wood plaque at Walmart and an image of an elephant balancing on a ball.
Just like on the growth chart, I painted in the shape of the elephant and then used a paint pen to add the details.
I planned out a message about the students in this teacher's class growing "in mind, body, and spirit." I used the same technique to transfer the images and words to the plaque.
I decided that I really didn't like the unfinished canvas edge down the length of the growth chart. I got the idea to attach a fabric measuring tape to add a fun detail while hiding the raw edge. I didn't want to guess about a glue that would stick so I decided to sew the measuring tape to the canvas.
I went ahead and brightened up the the colors on the elephants so that they matched with the bright yellow of the measuring tape. I also added larger measurements (in eleph-eet) so the kids can see if they are 3 elepheet or 4 elepheet.
Here is the finished plaque attached to the growth chart and below you can see the whole thing. I hope it finds a happy home with lots of little "elephants" to check how big they are.

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