Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Family Tree Inspirations

My father-in-law began working on a family tree a few years ago.
He began digging into family records and getting names and dates from family members.
He also began putting everything together on an online family tree database.

I thought it was a perfect opportunity for me to make something really special for him as a Christmas gift.  He'd done all of the work, and I was going to turn it into a family keepsake, as well as a piece of art.

Here is what I created...

 ... and in a closer look, you can see the names hand-printed on the family tree.

Of course, by this point, the family tree is branching out in new directions.  It didn't end with my father-in-law, so we had to add names down into the roots.  I thought forever about how I was going to go about this, because I thought the grandchildren were important to add.  This is how I added them to our tree...

I first drew a light pencil sketch on a good quality water color paper.
I used water colors to paint the tree, adding lots of swirls in various colors.  You might notice on the full shot that the colors of the tree move from left to right, from dark greens, to lighter greens and yellows, to oranges and reds.

I used simple brush strokes (and let me just tell you now... I am by no means an "artist" when it comes to these things!)  I do love working with watercolors because they are so forgiving!  I added some leaves, but still thought that I could do something more.

So, I came up with the idea of adding a 3-dimensional component to my tree.  I painted additional pieces of watercolor paper that I let dry, then cut into swirls that I glued onto my tree.  I also cut small leaves that I glued to the tree and then painted.  I added two little blue birds for fun, as well as a heart "carved" into the trunk of the tree.

Once I had all the names I could get (and as much of them as I could... I didn't always have a middle name, or the maiden name, but I used what I had), I used a fine-tipped Sharpie marker to write them on the branches.  I made one boo-boo in my spelling... EEK!  I'm a master at hiding my mistakes.  Ok... I'm a perfectionist who has mastered the art of making my work look perfect even when it is not.  You may notice in the image above, one of my additional swirls overlapping a name that I had to correct.  Works for me ;)

Again... I'm not an artist.  I think this is it for my painting skills, but I think I pulled it off.  I had it professionally framed, and I think it made a beautiful gift.  My in-laws proudly display it in their entry, and my oldest daughter has spent a lot of time admiring it.  She thinks we need to make one for our house.  I agree :)

So... Interested in making your own?
Use my idea, or check out some of these other amazing Family Tree Inspirations.

at Martha Stewart

at Martha Stewart

at Martha Stewart

at Martha Stewart

Family Tree Craft Project Family Tree Calendar
at HOME Made Simple

Thumbprint Tree Thumbprint Tree
at Factory Direct Craft Blog

at Putti Prapancha

at Quiltsy

Paper Scrap Family Tree
at Crafting a Green World 

at Craft Lovely

at So You Think You're Crafty

at Ruffles and Stuff

Free Family Tree Templates

at Martha Stewart

A printable blank family tree on which to record 4 generations of Our Family.


  1. What an inspirational post! It is beautiful...kids will enjoy a lot! Thanks for sharing:)
    Friend, I would love to see you on my blog:)

  2. It is beautiful! I love it. I love the colors. Thank You for these ideas. I will probably steal it one day.

  3. Thanks for including 'Family Trees' that my daughter made! Loved all the other amazing ideas, especially love the thumbprint one.

    How is the new place treating you?

  4. That is absolutely beautiful! And I think you are mistaken...you are indeed an artist! I would be proud to display such a detailed and meaningful piece in my home.

  5. Gorgeous! Just gorgeous! I am super impressed!

  6. I believe you are an artist! Thank you for sharing this with our blogworld. I think the three dimesional swirls create movement and help bring it to life!

  7. WOW! I'm HIGHLY impressed! You did an amazing job! I LOVE the swirls! You created a family heirloom.

  8. That turned out gorgeous! I love all the colors and the swirls!

  9. I am visiting via Someday Crafts. This is an absolutely adorable project!

    If you have written a post about a great restaurant, store or perhaps taken a fun trip I am now hosting a new linky party entitled Wayfaring Wednesdays. Come on by!

    Happy Wednesday!

  10. I love how your project came out! I've been doing some family research lately and have been thinking about making a crafty tree with the research results.

  11. What a great round-Up! I featured this at somedaycrarfts.blospot.com

  12. Oh wow! I love it! I've been working on my own version of a family tree but now I want to use some of the versions I see listed here. Inspirational post!

  13. Just found your blog and LOVE IT! This family tree is incredibly beautiful! I am linking! Just amazing!

  14. I love your project. I think this would make a great gift for grandparents for Christmas. What size paper did you use?

  15. Hi! My name is Rachel too! hehe
    I love your blog and your tree is really pretty and functional!

    I would LOVE for you to link this up at my Link Party, Once Upon a Weekend on my blog Family Ever After. The party starts on Fridays and lasts all week.

    Here’s the link if you’re interested:www.familyeverafter.blogspot.com

    Also, if you have a list of favorite link parties, I’d love to be included on Fridays. Thanks a ton! Have an awesome day!!!

  16. You did a wonderful job, it's beautiful!!

  17. Your family tree is amazing! I love that you wrote the names on the branches. What a fabulous heirloom.

  18. Awesome collection of ideas.
    Yours looks equally good. A lot of hard work has been put in it, which actually shows. Like the colors used.


  19. Wow! Your family tree is beautiful! I have had a family tree project on my to do list and am inspired to move it up the list! Thanks for the inspiration! I would love for you to share your tree at my Savvy HomeMade Monday blog party!

    P.S. I am a new follower!

  20. Such great ideas. I"m sure your family will treasure it always. I'd love for you to link this to my first ever linky party. http://trophyw.blogspot.com/2011/08/linky-party-1.html -Tara

  21. Wow! Your family tree is totally unique. I love it. I know it was a lot of work, but it turned out gorgeous! There are so many gorgeous ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Uuups... Very nice :) Well done!

  23. Love it! I wish I could pull off watercolors like this... mine look like the work of a 1st grader!

    I did a write up on Family trees last year and shared a several to make several different syles including the hand lettered Martha Stewart & Legacy style that doesn't require pretty handwriting!

    Check it out if you get a sec... http://extraordinarybree.blogspot.com/2010/12/family-tree-quick-tutorial.html

  24. This was a great idea. Your tree is awesome. You are a very talented painter. :)

  25. Probably the prettiest tree I've seen in a long time!

  26. I just found your blog post today. What a beautiful family tree and what a great idea. I;ve been looking for some way to dsiplay my family tree and there are certainly some good ideas here.

    Regards, Jim
    Family Tree Ideas at Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

  27. Thank you for sharing this beautiful idea. I love (!) the added beauty of making it three dimensional-- so clever and whimsical. It's also nice that each of the names can be seen clearly up close but don't overwhelm the beautiful tree. Thanks for the inspiration!

  28. sbo bet Apakah Ada Cara Anda dapat Hapus Orang Dari Layanan Itu? Terima kasih!


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