December 1, 2010

Holiday Giving: MSL Family Tree

Tis the season for giving! This Christmas I'm gifting a very memorable gift to our families - a thoughtful, handmade Family Tree.


The idea comes from Martha Stewart (who else?). This is the inspiration photo - Martha even shares the free printable graphic here. You can print the artwork and the blank tags to hand write the names of family members.
I took the graphics (PDF on zip drive) to my local FedEx office and had them print it out poster size on roll paper - the stuff they use to print blue prints. This option is for B&W printing only but that's perfect for this project because the graphic itself is a beautiful soft grey.

So once you get the big graphic printed on roll paper and the tags printed on card stock, bring everything home and get to work.
Hop on and start researching (they have a two week free trial going on right now - plenty of time to compile your research). Once you have your family tree down you can fill in the tags. Assuming you start with your parents, the inspiration photo (at the top) goes back to great-great grandparents but, with a little rearranging you really could go back further.
I wrote all the family names with a black fountain pen in print but here's where you can get creative - go modern with block letters or add some color by using red or green ink. This is my favorite tag - can you believe I have a relative named Tirzah?
Next, cut out your cards with an x-acto knife or scissors (if you're like me) and outline the cards with gold. You can use a gold (or silver) sharpie or run it over a gold metallic ink pad.
Then after the pieces have thoroughly dried, start laying everything out. Use memory mount or other archival (non wrinkling glue) to attach the cards in the place you want them. I used the inspiration photo from the magazine to layout the cards in a pleasing place - and I used a yard stick to line everything up.
Here is the finished result: (minus the top couple of rows of grandparents)
I plan on using the Ribba frame from Ikea in black.

This is a really rewarding project and a perfect gift for the upcoming holidays. From start to finish (excluding the ancestry research time) took about an hour and should cost less than $50. Let me know if you make one!


  1. thank you! i think my christmas "shopping" is officially done now :)

  2. What a gorgeous & meaningful gift! I'm loving it.

  3. YAY! I am so glad you two love it! Sweet Tater - let me know if you make it, can't wait to see photos!


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