Tutorial: Paper Scrap Family Tree

Paper Scrap Family TreeUse left over paper scraps to make this charming family tree perfect to tuck into a scrapbook or frame for display.  

I used left over scraps I had of Amy Butler Lotus scrapbook paper, but here are 5 other great paper sources for this project.  (Note:  Some of these options may not be archival.)

  1. Upcycle greeting cards
  2. Use colorful magazine clippings
  3. Use pages from an old atlas or map (like Julie did to make her own envelopes)
  4. Cut up leftover paint chips
  5. Instead of paper use Eco-fi Felt


  • 12 x 12 inch recycled card stock – 1 piece
  • Paper scraps – see suggestions above
  • Photos of baby, parents, and grandparents
  • Circle Cutter or scissors
  • Pencil
  • Glue
  • Optional: Leaf Paper Punch, Decorative Label, Charcopaper or carbon transfer paper

Step by Step:

  1. Cut various size circles from scrap paper.  I did not have a circle cutter, so I traced a few different sizes of round objects (cup, paint bottle, bottle cap, etc.) onto paper and then cut them out carefully with scissors.  Recommended sizes: 1-3″ large circle for baby, at least 6 – 2″ circles for parents and grandparents, 12-15 – 1″ circles, 12-15 – 1/2″ circles for filling in between larger circles
  2. Arrange circles on 12″ x 12″ recycled card stock.  Use photo above as a guide for placement or make up your own pattern.  Largest circle should be near center with second largest circles radiating from it.  Use smaller circles to fill in gaps.
  3. Once you found a layout you like, use a pencil to sketch a tree trunk below the circles.  I used a dark graphite pencil to sketch my trunk.
  4. Glue scrap paper circles in place.  I used Martha Stewart Crafts Glue Pen because it is easy to apply and you don’t waste any glue.
  5. Cut out faces of family members about 1/2″ smaller diameter than the scrap paper circles they will be placed on.  Cut out baby to be 2.5″ in diameter.  Cut parents and grandparents to be 1.5″ in diameter.  My family photos weren’t the right size, so I used Photoshop Elements to resize and crop the images.  Then I reprinted them on a piece of 8″ x 8″ recycled card stock.
  6. Glue family pictures onto appropriate circles.  Glue baby on largest circle.  Glue parents on two circles closest to baby.  Glue maternal grandparents on two circles closest to mom.  Glue paternal grandparents on two circles closest to dad.
  7. OPTIONAL: Add leaves to your tree.  Use a leaf paper punch to cut leaf shapes from additional scrap paper.  I love the Martha Stewart Crafts Oak Leaf Punch.  I used some scraps of green card stock and green vellum that I had in my stash.  I glued the vellum pieces on first and then layered them with the card stock leaves.  The vellum gave a shadow effect.  I only glued leaves around the perimeter of my tree.
  8. OPTIONAL:  Apply a decorative label on the tree trunk to serve as a name plaque.  I used a self-adhesive chipboard label I had in my stash.
  9. OPTIONAL:  Name your tree.  I don’t have the neatest handwriting, so I printed out a font I liked on the computer.  I used charcopaper to transfer the font onto my label.  I love charcopaper because it can be used over and over again to transfer designs onto paper and fabric.  Simply place the charcopaper over the label with the computer print out on top.  Trace the font with a pencil.  Remove the charcopaper and trace over the lines with the same graphite pencil you used for the tree trunk.  I called my tree Pepé’s Family for my son Pepé.  

This 12″ x 12″ family tree will fit into most standard scrapbook albums.  You could also purchase a 12 x 12″ scrapbook frame to hang it on your wall.  I recommend this bamboo frame.


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