Vintage Farm-Themed Room

As part of Typography Appreciation Month, I’ve shared with you two tutorials on how to make a vintage ruler growth chart and an advertising-inspired sign. This week, I’ll reveal all of Ryker’s room, which features typography in numerous ways. It’s been nearly 4 years in the making, and I’m always adding, changing and rearranging things, but overall the vintage farm theme has been my inspiration.

When you first walk in you’ll probably notice the signs, every where, on all 4 walls. Galt is where my husband and I grew up and his dad got the sign from working a railroad job. The Jackson St. sign is one I picked up at a flea market years ago for $12. The Route 66 sign is from swap shop for $3. The Country Raised “BOY” sign is one I hand painted (tutorial here). And the license plates have been collected over the years, either from my husband’s old cars/trucks or flea market finds. Other vintage farm items include an antique saw, random iron tools and a John Deere thermometer.


Vintage farm themed bedroom

Vintage farm themed bedroom



Ryker's RoomThe cow and the pig were helium balloons from our baby shower that we kept for decoration. The small bench and Lego table were both mine as a child.
Ryker's RoomThis bookcase was handed down to my husband from a relative, while the John Deere corn planter container was his grandfather’s. Jackson made the wooden base for it. The rocking chair was made by a close friend’s grandfather. He makes one for all of his grandkids, and Ryker was lucky enough to be included in that bunch!

Ryker's RoomOf course, Ryker has to have his own TYPOGRFX. I actually waited to create this until he was about a year and a half, because we wanted to capture some of the nicknames and fun things we liked to do with him as a baby. My favorite – Mr. Babypants. (There’s a whole song that goes along with this nickname we made up. I can still sing it word for word.)



And Ryker’s truly impressive bunk bed. Let me explain. In our old house, we were so crammed for space, that we had to make use of vertical space as much as possible. Jackson had this bunk bed from his childhood and he added a “lift kit” of sorts to make it tall enough to put his weight bench under (this was before I came along). When we moved here, we figured with our tall ceilings, we might as well keep it as is. So when Ryker graduated from a crib to a big boy bed, we started out with the mattress on the floor underneath and used the bunks for storage (our house does not have any closets – more on that some other time). Eventually, we built stairs and a removable side rail and moved the mattress up to the bottom bunk (which is a good 3 feet off the floor) so Ryker could have the additional play space underneath the bed.

Ryker's bed

Ryker’s bed

And if you’re going to have a bed 3-feet off the floor, you have to have stairs to it. My husband built these (trust me I tried and was going to fail). But I painted, lettered and distressed them for that vintage look. This is my second favorite thing in the room (besides the “BOY” sign). It reads “When I’m worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep” which is a line I found from a song. My husband, always being a comedian, took one look at it and read it aloud from bottom to top (go ahead and do it) and has joked about it ever since.



An under-bed hideaway would not be complete without a “parking garage” as Ryker calls it (my husband calls it the “ratty shelf” because it’s another burn pile save.. I screwed salvaged bead board to the back and painted/distressed it. Hey, it was FREE!). I picked up the “corral” for the animals at a flea market for $8. There’s also Christmas lights for added ambience!



And lastly, we have to keep track of how fast this “BOY” is growing, so I made my own version of a ruler growth chart – again using a board from our neighbor’s burn pile (tutorial here). It was  painted white and on a whim, I applied stain over top of the paint resulting in a unique but perfectly aged look.

Growth Chart

Growth Chart

And there you have it! A vintage farm-themed bedroom fit for any country “BOY” complete with tons of examples of using typography in decor.


Tutorial: Ruler Growth Chart

Ok, so I’m sure by now you’ve seen the ruler-inspired growth charts on Pinterest, on facebook, in magazines, just about everywhere you look! I usually try to avoid such overdone trends, but as I was working on my son’s vintage farm-themed bedroom, I knew I wanted a way to mark his growth. I did a lot of research (ok, so I was just killing time on Pinterest!) trying to find inspiration for a growth chart that would fit his room’s theme, but not be too childish. One of the things I was drawn to the most was vintage advertisement rulers (I know it’s real shocking that I would like advertisement designs). My husband’s grandparents owned a hardware and general store for decades in our hometown, so I thought I might try to create something that said “Ryker’s Hardware Store” or “Jackson Hardware.” After looking through my pile of salvaged boards, I decided to use a 1×4 painted trim board which turned out to be too narrow for much of a design. I gave in and decided to go with something very similar to all of the ones on Pinterest.

Here’s the board I started out with. It was painted white and the paint itself was crackling (or is it cracking? I can’t decide). Anyways, it was dirty, dented and full of imperfections.


But not quite enough imperfections for my taste. So I set it out in the grass and Ryker and I beat on it with a hammer, screwdriver and whatever other tools we could find. Then came the experimentation. Like I said, the board was painted, but I wanted something that looked more like wood. Not being one to do any extra work, I decided to see what would happen if I simply applied stain on top of the paint. Bring out the old sock rags! I rubbed and rubbed the stain into the board, making sure to get into all of the little nooks and crannies left by the beating. (Poor board!) The effect was exactly what I was going for!


After letting it dry a few days, I used my tried and true method of tracing the numbers onto the board, filling them in with a sharpie marker. (More detailed instructions coming next week when I post another sign tutorial!)


Couple of really IMPORTANT NOTES: I placed the 1-foot mark six inches from the bottom of the board, because I had already determined that the board would hang six inches off of the floor. I didn’t want it to hang in front of the baseboard trim. I also made the mistake of marking the sections between the 1-foot marks into eighths, just like a standard ruler. In hindsight, I would have marked twelfths instead so it would have represented inches, instead of eights of a foot. Make sense?

Despite spending a few more days in the shed drying, the entire board was still somewhat tacky. I’m guessing it’s because you aren’t supposed to stain paint? So I let it sit another week or so, then took it out in the yard and coated it (I mean really coated it!) with a matte finish spray sealer. Another few days of drying and it was ready to hang! I used a rusty wire and a couple of short screws to make a hanger along the top. Then I put a screw into a stud making sure that when it hung down it would be exactly six inches off of the floor. And just to make sure it didn’t go anywhere, I applied a couple velcro-type picture hangers to the middle and bottom of it and pressed it firmly onto the wall. Since Ryker was almost 2 when I made the growth chart, I used his baby well-check records to go back and mark his height from birth up. So there you have it, one bonafide ruler growth chart – straight from Pinterest!