Frequently Asked Questions
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What type of wood should I buy?
Our kit is designed to work best with a 1X8 board (the term used at a hardware store), cut to be six feet long. The 1 being how thick the board is (in inches), and the other number being how wide. Most boards this size are typically sold in 8 foot lengths, but the hardware stores are almost always happy to cut it for you in the store!
As far as what kind, it depends on what look you're wanting. If you like the look of "knotty" wood, then the cheaper, whitewood pine they sell will work great. If you prefer a nice, wood grain look, then I'd spend the extra money and buy one of their nicer boards (usually on the other side of the aisle from the cheaper boards). Be sure to check in the store and make sure the boards aren't warped before you buy them. You can do this by setting one end on the ground, and then while holding the other end, look down the skinny edge with one eye. You should be able to easily see if the board is warped or bowed. I'd also recommend these pine boards because their surface is quite smooth, and the decals definitely stick to a smooth surface better.
How do I prep the wood?
As for a finish, the decals work great on unfinished, stained, or painted wood. If you plan on staining, I did learn the hard way that you'll want to buy and apply a wood conditioner (also in the paint section, next to the stains) before applying the stain. Otherwise, it's real easy for the stain to apply unevenly and come out blotchy. Regarding a stain, choose a simple oil based stain and be careful not to choose a stain that is too dark for this project. You can test out the stain on the back of the board first before applying it to the whole board. Minwax has a newer stain called "Provincial" that I like a lot, or their "Early American". Or, if you like the look of a lighter more traditional ruler you can go with "Golden oak." Do not buy a stain that is a combination stain/poly or quick dry.
How long does the stain need to dry?
After painting or staining, the MOST important step before applying the decals is to give the boards adequate time to dry. Depending on how humid it is where you live, this could take up to 3-4 days. Otherwise, the oil in the stain will virtually repel the decals and cause them to not stick well to the board. If you let the surface dry adequately though the decals stick very securely since they are a high quality vinyl!
Can I use a polycoat?
If you like the look, you can paint on a clear coat or two of brush on (NOT SPRAY ON or BLEND) polyurethane after you've applied the decals. This will help "seal" them on, but is not required (the decals stick great on their own and are actually more permanent the longer they're on).
What if I want to paint my board?
I've found that to ensure the decals adhere well to a painted surface it helps to:
1) pick a smooth board to start with
2) prime the board and then paint 2 coats of paint, allowing each coat of paint to dry a full 24 hrs, and then sanding it in between each coat
4) be sure the final painted surface is completely dry (at least 48 hrs after the final coat) and particle free before adhering the decals.
I use a semigloss paint and as long as it's completely dry (at leas 48 hrs) have never had trouble with the decals sticking!
Do I have to stain or paint the wood?
You can apply the vinyls to bare, unstained wood as long as it is smooth and particle free. Just sand it down really well, and make sure there is no sawdust or particles before applying the decals. I recommend avoiding surfaces like reclaimed barnwood.
Do I have to even use wood?
No! The decals work great on most smooth surfaces. Some of our customers have used the kits on surfaces such as mirrors, copper, and metal. Check out the Brag Board to see more ideas!
ABOUT OUR VINYL
Will there be a clear backing left on the board?
Once applied, only the decals for the tick marks and numbers will remain on the board. It will look just like the examples in the listing photos and looks really sharp on a stained piece of wood. There won't be any type of clear sticker that would remain on the board. Easy to follow application instructions are included with the kits. When you apply the strip, adhering the entire strip to the board, and then pull off the backing paper, only the ticking marks remain. In between each mark would just be the wood surface of your board, no clear vinyl.
Is it one long sticker?
The decal comes in 6 separate strips. Each strip is 12" long X 2" wide, so when put together, you have enough to make a 6' ruler. We also send the #s separately so that you can place and orientate them according to your preference.
We found that most customers in the end prefer this method because it can be difficult to line up and apply a long decal, and if you get off just a little it's noticeable. So, by sending smaller strips, it's a lot easier to handle and place each strip exactly on the edge of the board.
Does the vinyl peel?
The most important factor with ensuring that the decals adhere properly is to make sure the wood is completely dry (after painting or straining) before applying the decal or the oil will essentially repel the vinyl. Once on correctly, the decals we use won't wear off or peel off on their own. Actually, the longer they're on, the more permanent they become. The only reason they would come off would be if someone intentionally and deliberately tried to peel them off with their fingernail or something like that. To prevent this possibility all together, a lot of people will apply a brush on clear coat (not a spray on!) once the decal is on. Not only do a lot of people prefer this look, but it helps to "seal" in the decals.
HANGING YOUR RULER
How do I secure it to the wall?
There are 3 options you can use to secure the ruler to a wall:
1. Screw through wood into the wall. This is not as attractive because you can see the screws in the front of the ruler, but it is most secure.
2. Use a keyhole hanger on the back. This way is very secure and still not visible.
3. Use a sawtooth hanger on the back. This is the easiest way to hang it, but not as secure.
How high do I hang it?
The directions we send with the vinyl decal set are to help you design your ruler to measure up to 6'8" by hanging 8" off the ground to allow for varying baseboard heights. (So, the board you will need to purchase needs to be 6 feet long.) If you carefully follow the instructions and mark your board 4" from the bottom, and then every 12" after that you will be able to place the longest measuring tick mark of each decal strip on that marking and it will turn out designed that way.
You can modify your board to rest on the ground and measure up to 6' by adjusting the application accordingly.
MARKING YOUR BOARD
What should I write on the board with?
Depending on the finish of your board and your preference, you have a few options. You could use either a paint pen, sharpie, or ball point pen. I wanted to keep our rulers looking neat and classy, so they could be an heirloom passed down for years, so we mark ours with a paint pen that I found at a craft store in the art supplies section. I have heard from others that they use a sharpie, or even black ballpoint pen and both work great! It depends on how casual or formal you're going for. Also, applying a polyurethane coating to the ruler might affect how the different markings apply, so I'd test it out first to be safe. Ours are just stained and anything works on them!
What about vinyl height markers?
In response to customer requests, we now offer vinyl height marker decals! Due to their small size, these decals cannot be customized with names or initials. Most families with several children will select a different color for each child, and create a "legend" on the back of their board. Or, for two kids, use a double sided kit with both left and right facing arrows!
WHOLESALE AND LARGE ORDERS
Do you wholesale?
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to order 15 or more kits.