Looking for a special and unique holiday season project that is focused on family history? Something that could also be a centerpiece at holiday meals? Take a look at this antique piece of Victorian Americana: A folk art family tree!
This is most definitely not your Styrofoam & glitter family tree craft project!
Yes, this rare item is for sale in our Etsy shop; but I mainly post it here as an inspiration. You'll have to make a wooden base (in pyramid style, with flat sides), but the rest is plaster, some frames with family photos, and seashells. (Of course, you could embellish it however you like.) Finding small glass frames, especially those with fancy gold frames or mats, may take a bit of time...
You can search for tintypes and other antique photos with frames; cheaper yet, search for broken cases, like this. You can search for antique metal picture mats. If you're especially crafty, you can probably create something out of metallic gold picture mats. There's also Modern Day Antique, where they make & sell reproduction gold picture case mats (from resin). Prices range from $5 to $25, depending upon size.
In any case, once you get the matting and/or frames, you'll need to create photographs in the sizes which will look great in those frames. (Pretty easy with today's scanners, tech, and even image services.) Then you'll need to get glass and/or frames cut to fit too. Now those antique photograph cases don't seem so expensive, do they? *wink*
Of course, you can also just search for some small picture frames that capture the look and feel you want. (Sometimes the dollar stores, the craft stores, and even WalMart have lots of cute little frames -- for cheap. Usually not when I am looking for them lol) Just remember that you want to make sure that they are not too thick, with flat backs (no easels) so that the plaster can hold them; and that they are sealed nicely so the plaster won't damage or distort the images you place inside.
I'm sure this all can sound overwhelming... But once you're done, you'll have a family heirloom piece for sure!
PS Make sure you keep a record of all the family members in the photos and keep it with the family tree. (Perhaps adhere it to the bottom of the piece.) That way future generations will know who is literally on the family tree!