Design

DIY Christmas Gift: Family Tree

December 11, 2013  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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While I still have some shopping to do before Christmas, I have found that homemade gifts are always well-received so Chris and I have tried to incorporate that into our holiday gifting plans each year as well. This family tree project took me 20 minutes and is as sentimental for anyone as it is pretty on the wall:

To start, I used a plain piece of white cardstock, black india drawing ink and a small brush to draw my tree. You could use a sharpie, black acrylic paint even a regular ol’ pen to draw yours. I just happened to be more comfortable with a brush in my hand and I like the consistency of this ink.

I’ll tell you the hardest part about drawing a tree is getting the size right. I didn’t want my tree to take up the whole mat in the frame, but rather be on the small side. If you need to tape off a little box with painter’s tape to confine your drawing to, that could be helpful. Other than that, trees are fun. I like to flick my wrist to create different thicknesses and natural lines. Go crazy. You can’t mess up a tree.

After I was done inking the tree, I switched over to a regular black gel pen and started writing the names of family members.

I tried to keep siblings and spouses on the larger boughs and their children on the twigs. I didn’t really plan out the name placement beforehand–I just went with it.
The parents’ names are on the trunk of the tree and the family name is below.  It’s simple, quick, can be made in a variety of sizes and will be treasured for years to come. I popped this one into a frame I picked up at Target (they have the best frames right now!) and while up close, it is especially sweet:
From far away, it could pass as just a cool line drawing of a tree. Double win.

Anyone else hand-making any gifts this year?

Ps. A DIY gift for your neighbors.

What do you think?

  1. […] at this time I posted about a family tree I made as a DIY gift idea. You can see the whole post here. I just used black india ink to script the […]

  2. Tomas says:

    This design is steller! You most certainly knlw how to kewep a reader amused.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost mokved to start my
    own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job. I rewlly loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented
    it. Too cool!

  3. Kristen says:

    JR painted us a couple of trees for my family and his. They turned out so great! Thanks so much for the idea! I think we’ll have to make one for our own family too and who knows, we may get a few more requests from family once they are gifted to our parents this week :).

  4. This is such a great idea! I love the simplicity!

  5. Love this! It’s gorgeous! There is NO way I could pull off something like this though, no matter how “simple” you say it is. ;)

  6. This is a beautiful and simple gift idea! I’m making homemade goodies and snacks as gifts this year – but will have to keep this in mind for a future gift idea. It’s something someone would cherish for many many years to come. Awesome job!

  7. Laura says:

    Okay, I am going to have to steal this idea. I love it, and family would, too!

  8. girl, you’ve got talent

  9. Elaine says:

    I love it! So simple and pretty :)

  10. qlkowa says:

    It’s beautiful!

  11. You’ve never seen me draw…I could in fact mess up a tree:) love this though, great job!

  12. What a lovely idea! And it’s so artsy. Pinning now!

  13. This is a beautiful gift idea. I think I could handle writing the names on, but not sketching the tree. You should sell it as a print!

  14. This is such a great idea. Too bad I can’t draw a straight line to save my life… Your tree is beautiful!

  15. This is beautiful! I love it! But sadly, the detail I focused most on was … Is you name Julie, not Julia???

    • Hahaha! Good eye. My name is Julia. Most everybody outside of family calls me Julia. Chris calls me Jules. HIS family calls me Julia. My family mostly calls me Julie or Jules. I answer to any form and for this tree, I kept the names really casual “Patty” instead of Patricia. “Krissy” instead of Kristina.

  16. Brad says:

    I love this! And I want to know where that frame came from… details?

  17. Gah! Gorg! Love the frame, too :)

  18. Sue says:

    This is so so beautiful! I am definitely inspired to try making one for my own family. Thank you for sharing!!

  19. Kristen says:

    Yes! I’m going almost 100% handmade/DIY this year. I’ve made a chalkboard sign (even made the chalkboard paint from scratch), coasters, scarves, and a rice pack with a washable cover (for my boyfriend who is allergic to pretty much every medication on earth and gets headaches multiple times a week). Soon to come will be infused vodka, spice meat rubs, sugar face/body scrubs, and cookie in a jar mixes! :)

  20. Can you make one for me? lol

    This is beautiful! I want to make one for everyone in my family!!!

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