Your Family Tree

DIY family tree

Keep track of your family lineage with this paper-and-wire tree designed for a married couple.
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The leaves represent the parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents of each partner back three generations. Children of the married couple can be included by placing their names on Post-it notes pasted down the center trunk. Obviously, you will have to do some research to fill out the appropriate ancestral names; for tips, click here.


  • 8 florist wires (green, straight, metal, 30 gauge, 18 inches long)
  • 4 sheets of green-colored paper, 24 lbs., (two different shades)
  • 1 wine bottle gift bag (green), or substitute glass bottle, pencil holder, or vase


  • Elmer's brand glue or equivalent
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Wire trimmer (finger nail trimmers and scissors work well, but it may cause them to dull)
  • A few paper towels, a sponge or florist foam
steps image steps image 2 steps image 3


First, we will make the tree structure.

step 1Bundle 8 florist wires. Use a short piece of extra wire to wrap a couple of loops (Knot A) in the middle of the bundle. Tighten the knot using the pliers and trim the ends of the tie wire.
step 2Right above the knot (Knot A), separate the wires into two groups of 4 (Group 1 and Group 2). Bend Group 1 to the left just above the knot and Group 2 to the right until you have formed a V-shaped angle of approximately 45 degrees just above the knot.
step 3Use a small piece of wire to tie a knot (Knot B) around the four Group 1 wires, 3 inches up from Knot A. Repeat for Group 2.
step 4Separate the Group 1 wires into two groups of 2 wires (Group 3 and Group 4). Just above Knot B, bend Group 3 to the left and Group 4 to the right. Form a V-shaped angle of 45 degrees just above Knot B. Repeat using the four Group 2 wires (this should result in another two groups of 2 wires (Groups 5 and 6).
Now, let's make some leaves.

step 5Use another small piece of wire to tie a knot (Knot C) around the two Group 3 wires 3 inches up from Knot B. Repeat for Groups 4, 5 and 6. For the Group 3 wires, bend the two remaining strands just above Knot 3 to form another V-shaped 45-degree angle. Repeat for Groups 4, 5, and 6. This completes the tree structure.
step 6Download the leaf model as a .PDF file.
step 7Using your colored paper, make 30 leaves. Make 15 leaves using lighter color (these will represent females) and another 15 using your darker color (these will represent males).
step 8Lengthwise, make a crease at the tip and another at the stem (do not crease along the entire length). The result should be a slight bowl shape.
Now, let's attach leaves to the tree structures.

step 9Glue a pair of leaves (one—female, one—male) over each knot beginning with Knot A and working outwards. Finally, glue a pair of leaves at the tip of each single strand at the top of your tree.
step 10To secure each leaf using glue, place a drop of glue on the underside of the stem. Wrap the stem around the knot and hold tightly.
step 11Using a felt tip pen, write the results of your ancestry research, starting with yourself. Write the birth (and death) dates on the back of each leaf.
Finally, the family tree!

step 12Stuff the wine bag with a few paper towels (or sponge, or florist foam) to anchor the tree.
step 13Place the tree in the center of the wine bag and admire!
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2/10/2013 , 
Loraine  C.
We had a painting of our family tree on a hallway wall in a lake cottage that my grand parents owned. We loved that tree and the leaves were made of different colored construction paper that were pinned to the tree. The actual tree was painted on the wood wall and it was beautiful. I think that this is the one thing that I miss most since we had to sell lake cottage a few years back. I suggest that if you have the wall in a familyroom or hallway, it is a FANTASTIC idea and all generations will love it!!
5/23/2012 , 
I love this. Sounds like fun. My first thought was making it for a bridal shower/wedding present. I may be using this for just that!
8/4/2010 , 
Laurel  M.
Great ideas...consider this: Check out a local arts or crafts store...see if they have colorful tagboard (abt 3' x 4'). Do the tree on there. Another option would be to use a nice thin piece of wood, paint or stain the background and use stickers cut down to the shape of leaves. Have each generation or 'side' of the family in one color. Do males in one color ink, females in another. That way you'd have a colorful tree which would be easy to understand. All the smiths are in black, the jones in white, THEIR joint offsprings are in orange and blue (or whatever).
6/8/2010 , 
Sandra  A.
Robby O. I thought of the same thing of maybe painting or attaching it to the wall. If you do it tell me how it turns out.
3/27/2010 , 
Janyce  S.
I have even used dried branches for the tree. This is a great craft to do with your kids. They have fun doing it while learning about their family. While doing the tree, it is a great time for everyone to share stories about their ancestors.
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