Thursday, June 28, 2012

Family Tree Wall - A Vision Realized

I had this vision to make a family tree in our vast entry hallway that would represent both sides of our ancestors and our own family. I looked for inspiration on the internet and found some of what I envisioned, but nothing quite like what I had in mind. After toying around with the idea of cutting a tree out of wood and putting it on the wall I settled on simply painting the wall. Here is how I did it in case anyone ever tries to do the same thing. I will also share the image of the tree I made for downloading.

To do this I needed:
  • 28 frames - I decided to use silver ones from the dollar store that were all the same size.
  • Pictures of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. I tried to get photos of them around middle aged so we could see what they really looked like
  • A way to attach/hang frames on the wall - I used foam wall stickers
  • exacto knife
  • spray adhesive
  • paint and paint roller
  • tree design

This image shows how I designed the tree using Photoshop. Illustrator would have made this a bit easier but I don't have it installed on my computer right now. To get the final tree lines I used the pen tool after free handing with the paint tool.
Next I made the tree life size in photoshop which equaled a very large file size. Thinking about it now, there are other ways I could have done this, oh well. I made a grid and printed each part then taped them together. I then put it on the wall to check the size and placement. I made marks on the paper and wall so I could line it up again later.

I then laid it on the table, grabbed my exacto knife and cutting board and carefully cut out the tree. To keep it from getting all weird I taped strips of paper across sections as I went.

Here it is all cut out and held together with strips of paper.

I read online that you could spray a stencil with spray adhesive, let it dry for a few minutes and then if you put it on the wall it will stick but not permanently and it won't leave a residue. Perfect. So I did that.

I then carefully carried it to the wall and stuck it there.  It worked.  Probably would have been easier with another person though.

I got out the mini foam roller and my paint and carefully rolled on the paint. At first I did it lightly, but then the paper started getting too wet for my 2nd and 3rd coats so at the end I painted a heavier coat just once or twice. 

Lastly I pulled off the stencil and threw it away. Using paper this stencil can only be used once, but I didn't need to use it again, so that didn't matter.

All done and ready for the photos.

Earlier I gathered the photos from family,  formatted them in photoshop to the right size, printed them at the photo center, cut them out and put them in the frames. Each one was attached to the wall using a foam wall sticker. I also considered using command strips. 

My frames had a stand on the back that I couldn't remove that made it so the frames weren't flush. To remedy this I cut out little squares of cardboard and hot glued them to the center back of each frame. I put the foam sticker on the cardboard and then it could stick to the wall. Clear as mud?

All done. Yay.

For the last part I need a new family photo that I am going to frame and put on the trunk at the bottom. Then as our family grows up we can put a new photo in every year or so.

I love seeing our ancestors and seeing how much they look like us or each other and I hope this way my own kids can be familiar with their great-great-grandparents on down.


DeAnn said...

She does it again! Looks amazing Sarah! I know you have been wanting to do that for a long time!

Ben said...

That is WAY cool, Sarah. I am thoroughly impressed. What a great way to fill that huge space! And how neat for your kids to see photos of all of those wonderful people every day. Way to go.

Brooke said...

oops--that was Brooke, not Ben. :)

Veronica Cervantes said...

Could you put the link on here or file. Thanks !!!

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