Family Tree Art

For Christmas this year, I decided to make family tree pedigree charts for my parents and my in-laws. My inspiration was from THIS amazing website. This is how they turned out:

I used the names of my ancestors to form a tree shape! This version does look a little funky because I blocked out some names so that I would feel comfortable sharing on the internet. But I think you still get the idea.

I can’t give you a step-by-step tutorial, but here are some general instructions if you would like to attempt a project like this:

1. I gathered all the names for my chart. Here are some websites that might help you: Family Search, Ancestry, or Roots Web. This step might require calling grandparents or other relatives.

2. I typed each name into Photoshop and warped the text to make the names look like branches. To warp text, click on the tab LAYER, scroll down to the word TYPE, and click on WARP TEXT. Then you can choose what shape you want to warp the text to. I chose to do all of the names using the ARCH setting and I just made some arch up and some arch down. This gave me the best results.

3. I created a leaf graphic (look in the custom shapes or download clip art) and added one to the end of each name wherever I could fit them.

4. I downloaded a digital scrapbooking paper that I liked and used it as my background. Then when I went to have it printed, I didn’t like the look of the background. So I ended up using sand colored watercolor paper cut to the right size. It look much classier that way.

I printed mine out 11×14 and wouldn’t recommend going any smaller. The names get really small and hard to read. In fact, bigger would definitely be better. I also framed them before giving them as gifts.

Hope that helps get you started! And if you don’t want to make it yourself, you could always have one made up for you HERE.
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  1. These are great, but they are a lot of work! They only work for ancestry trees. If you want a descendant tree, I found some great ones at They can do 2, 3, 4, or 5 generations, and also 4 or 5 generation ancestry trees. I have tried to copy the look myself, but I can't get it right. Their artists do superb work. I gave them as Christmas gifts last year. They were a hit! Even the people who have 'everything' will love it, and appreciate your thoughtfulness. I'm going to give them for Mother's day too. Bonus points with the Mother-In-Law!!

  2. This is awesome…. How many names did you get on the tree? Also, once you get started how long did it take to create the tree in photoshop? I really think this is something I am going to try to do for our family reunion this summer. Thanks


  3. I LOVE this idea! My mom has been researching our family history for years and I think I will do this for her for mother's day. Is there any way you would be willing to share your template or at least your leaf clipart? I'm finding out by playing around that this is going to take a while to do!


  4. Wow, you did a fantastic job! I turned out so well. I was wondering if you would share your sources for the background paper you used, and who did you print this through?

  5. Jenna-

    If I remember right, the background paper was from Shabby Princess. I tried printing it at Costco, but the background didn't end up the way I wanted it (looked cheap), so I removed the background all together and printed words-only at Office Max onto pretty beige watercolor paper I found at Michaels. The bigger you can print it, the better. Some of those teeny tiny names are hard to read! Good luck, and I'd be happy to help if you have more questions. 🙂

  6. Thanks so much. I was almost thinking of doing it on a canvas wrap style, but I need to find a way to get a coloured background. Thanks for the info…so helpful, I'll probably end up doing that!

  7. I just did a 24" x 24" pedigree chart at Staples in black and white for less than $5! All you need is to create the file in pdf format and put it on a disc. I imagine you could email it, as well. Unfortunately, you don't get a choice of paper color. I do remember many years ago, I took a brown crayon, sideways and slid it across the paper. It gives it a bit of a sepia tone.


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