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family week: make a family tree

Families come together in many ways. My brothers and sisters and I are all adopted (a fantastic way for a family to grow!), and we have a dear friend who is as much a part of our family as any uncles are. I love the idea of family trees, but with all of the lines and linking and branches, I get a little overwhelmed. Not to mention, a traditional family tree doesn't make room for our friend.

So I made something a little less formal. Well, actually, I haven't finished it yet. There are still some little details that I'll be adding to mine, so you don't get to see the final product. (But it's Family Week, so I couldn't wait on posting this...you understand, right?)
Family Tree Supplies
Here's what you'll need:
Family Tree templates PDF
Paper-backed fusible web (like Wonder Under, about 1/4 yard)
Green plain or patterned fabric (about 8.5x11 inches)
Brown plain or patterned fabric (about 8x8 inches)
Canvas (cut to 14x18 inches)
Green felt (scraps for leaves)
Embroidery floss
Fabric glue (optional)
3/8 inch dowel rod
Family Tree
Here's what you do:
Iron the fusible web onto the back of the green and brown fabrics. Follow the instructions for your fusible web. (It's easy!)
Family Tree
Using the templates, cut out the tree top and trunk from the fabrics. Lay them on the canvas to find the right placement. There should be a few inches of blank space at the top. Peel the paper from the fusible web, then iron the pieces down onto the canvas.

The fusible web is all you need to hold the fabric pieces down, but you might want to add some decorative stitches around the tree, or on the tree trunk...just for fun.
Family Tree
Cut out as many leaves as you will need from the green felt. Embroider a name on each leaf. If you have a large family and will need extra room for more leaves, you might want to stitch couples names onto a single leaf.

For mine, I just roughly stitched the names, without a pattern, using a back stitch. There is nothing about this tree that is fancy, but it will be hanging in our family room, and it works!
Family Tree
Lay out the leaves, then attach them. You can hand sew them on, or use fabric glue. Some of the leaves can overlap the sides a bit. It gives you more room, plus it makes it less constrained. Don't forget to leave room for your family to grow!
Family Tree
Cut the dowel rod to be a little wider than your canvas. Fold the top down and sew a little casing for the dowel rod to slide through. A running stitch will hold it nicely.

Slide the dowel through and attach a ribbon at each end to hang your family tree.

This is where my photos stop as I continue to embellish our family's wall hanging. When it gets all fancy and is actually in place, I'll try and get a photo to add. Despite my lack of a finished photo, I hope this shows how simple it can be to display your family's names in your home!


  1. Absolutely adorable!!! Thanks for sharing the details! Can't wait to see the finished tree! xoxo beth

  2. I love this idea! And you're absolutely right...family trees are much too linear for any family! Love the "family as a group" idea of this one!!!

  3. Love this idea! I have been planning to do something similar but was also put off by all the lines and what not with a 'traditional' family tree. This is family tree is doable, will have to get my little girls involved to help get on together for our family :) Thanks for the inspiration and wonderful instructions you provide ;)

  4. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 4 post on Apr. 02, 2011. Thanks again.

  5. Years ago I painted my Grandmother a teapot. It was just a plain white teapot but I painted a green vine twisting and winding all around it with little leaves representing her children and grandchildren.
    This project reminds me of that.
    That made me smile.
    Great idea here and I'll totally have to get making myself one!


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