Unearth and display your ancestral roots by mapping your lines of lineage on a family tree. Everyone has roots in yesterday; some can easily refer to preserved family records and stories, while others face a lifelong journey and struggle to uncover an almost forgotten past. As pieces come together, display your history in a homemade family tree frame.
A Tree Theme
Make your family tree frame using thick tree branches. The rustic look will give the frame an aged yet timeless appearance, as if the document were framed this way many generations ago. Select branches between 1 and 3 inches thick, but make sure they are all the same thickness. Measure the desired width and length of your family tree. Cut two branches each for the width measurement and for the length measurement to end up with four pieces.
Miter cut both ends of each branch piece at opposing 45-degree angles. Keep the branch stable to make the cuts without having the branch roll out of position. The miter cuts should resemble the letter V longitudinally split in half and placed at each end of the stick when the branches are laid horizontally--the longest measurement side of the branch at top and the short side at the bottom.
Lay the top and bottom frame piece parallel to each other and add in the two side pieces to complete the frame. Check how well the mitered cuts fit together. Each piece must meet tightly at each corner. If a piece was not cut at the right angle, cut another piece of branch. This is important to get right--your frame will be as highly visible as the family tree it displays.
Attach the branches at each corner using wood glue and brad or finishing nails. Use an air tool brad nailer to power drive the nails into each joint. Nail on both sides of each corner to reinforce the bond. Once all corners are secured together, set aside to dry. Cut a backing for the frame to its same width and length--just shy of the measurements to conceal the edges--using a thin wood panel about 1/8-inch thick or thinner.
Place the frame onto the wood panel once it is dry. Think about how you will mount your family tree document onto the backing. If you will permanently attach it to the wood panel, apply a thin layer of archival-quality adhesive to the panel and spread the family tree onto it. Cover the document with a piece of glass or Plexiglas cut slightly smaller than the backing, and then nail the tree branch frame through the the back of the wood panel around its outer edges.
For a more flexible homemade family tree frame, lay the glass panel over the backing and use spacers between the panel and the backing to create a slight gap between the two. Place very thin strips of wood, such as Popsicle sticks, spaced across the top and at least one side of the frame. Nail the frame to the backing along the sides and bottom, but do not nail the top. This is where you will insert and remove the family tree as you made additions to it over the years. Remove the Popsicle sticks after nailing.
Finishing the Frame
Complete your homemade family tree frame with a preserving finish. Stain it, leave it natural or give it a paint wash. Cover your finish with a layer or two of polyurethane--a barrier to protect your homemade family tree frame for years to come. Add your picture-hanging hardware to the back and display your family tree in a highly-visible, conversation location in your living area.