Wednesday, January 14, 2015

DIY Family Heritage Wall

Can you name the full names of your grandparents?  What about your great-grandparents?  Do you know what your great-grandparents looked like?  I have always enjoyed history--specifically the parts about how people conducted their lives, what changed the world, and what it was actually like to live in their time.  I especially enjoy knowing about my own ancestors.  There's just something so cool about learning that something my great-grandmother did her life has actually influenced my own life.  I love hearing the stories and looking at the old photographs.  But lately I have been wanting to do more about my family history.  I've been wanting to make it more real.  I decided to create my own Family Heritage Wall.  It's an easy DIY way to make the family who has gone before a part of our lives.  Making your own family tree wall is affordable, simple, and a craft you'll really become connected to.

One of the main reasons I created this family heritage wall is that I want my children to know their roots.  I want them to know the faces and the names of their family that came before.  I don't want their lives just lost in a dusty book somewhere.  I want them to know that they were real people who worked hard and lived good lives.  I believe that families are forever.  I believe that we will see those who have died again someday.  So I want us to recognize them and feel connected to them.  So here's what I did:

In our new home all of our walls are white.  While I love the brightness it brings, I wanted to add some contrast to all the whiteness.  The black and white photographs are perfect for this.  I plan to fill up most of this wall with pictures of our ancestors.

Here's what I did to make this project easy and affordable:

1.  The pictures are just copies printed on my laser printer at home.  My wall is near a window and I don't want real photographs to fade.  Printers nowadays print beautifully and it's cheap to make your own copies and you can easily crop it to fit your frame.  Many of my family's pictures have already been uploaded or scanned into our computers.  But if I find one that is not, I will scan it, or I will actually take a picture of it with my own camera (cameras are good now too), upload it, and then edit and crop it as needed.

2. I re-purpose old frames, find them on sale, or buy at the dollar store.  We are on a budget at our house and frames can get very pricey.  I have found some great ones at Dollar Tree, from my own stash, and yard sales.  I also will save my craft store coupons to get some favorites that I find there.

This is just the beginning.  I started with our grandparents and great-grandparents.  As I find more family pictures and frames I will expand.  I have found to be super helpful in finding and sharing photos and names (and it's FREE!).  Have you tried it?

I found these darling little oval frames at Dollar Tree.  I didn't want the gold finish, so I painted over them with Sherwin Williams Sea Salt paint that I had leftover from painting my bathroom.  When they were dry I used sandpaper to lightly expose the designs and give it an antique look.

I figured out my arrangement on the floor before I put it up.  
It's been very interesting looking through family pictures and finding the ones I love.

And really that's it!  So easy to add your own personality and style and fill your empty wall with a family tree.

Try visiting Family Search and see what you find.  They have tons of resources for finding your family roots.  It's free to sign up, and free to use (always).  Love it.

Also, if you are interested in February there is an annual family history conference called RootsTech in Salt Lake City, Utah.  It's a huge conference for a very affordable price ($19 and even a FREE family day).  They have over 200 classes, keynote speakers (like Laura Bush), entertainment for the whole family, and exhibitors.  It's a 3 day event and I am so excited to attend for my first time this year. 

So tell me seriously, do you know all your great-grandparent's names?

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  1. I've been wanting to do a heritage wall for a long time. Yours turned out lovely! When you go to RootsTech stop by the RootsMagic booth & say hi to Mike for me if he's there. He's my uncle (:

    1. Absolutely! I'll try to find him!

    2. My Gramma will be there at the Booth too... Her name is June (:

    3. Your Gramma too? I will try to find them!

  2. This is such a great idea and I need to try using FamilySearch, too, thanks! Stopping by from FLBN and pinning this :)

  3. I am totally doing this! What a great idea. Pinning!

    1. Thank you!! I'd love to see how it turns out.

  4. I so love this idea! This is crafty, historic, and nostalgic all at the same time. Pinned!! :)

  5. What a creative idea. I have lots of photos that I need to do something with, and you have really inspired me. Thanks!


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