Folk Art Family Tree Using Silhouette

A Silhouette Cutting Machine was the Christmas present I bought for myself.  I played around with this and that and finally settled on my first, real project.  A Family Tree.

I wanted it to be a folk-art style tree with symbolism.  And, that is what I got.  I wanted the roots to go as deep as the branches reached high.  I wanted the roots to be a tangle, representing our ancestors who support us.  The children are silhouettes themselves and so can be any child, playing under the shade of their family tree in safety  with many people who love them to guide them and protect them.  Lambs symbolize new life and have great spiritual significance.



I love family history and love telling stories.  In the middle is a reminder that “this family tree tells a story”.   Below are the hollyhocks.  My favorite cut-out for this project.  I associate hollyhocks with the past.  Even though we plant them today, my ancestors planted them outside of their cabin doors and little girls made dollies out of the blossoms.  By using two-sided patterned paper, the hollyhocks came to life.  They are so delicate looking but in reality are very hardy.


Making a family tree using my new cutting machine expanded the possibilities for artistry.  I was able to create layers and texture and interest.  I used heavy and medium weight card stock on which I sprayed adhesive to the underside.  I added the little jewels at the very end and signed it, of course.  My husband says that it is a keepsake.  I certainly hope that he is right.


” . . . if there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy –

we seek after these things.”

-Article of Faith-









  1. Sandra

    Hi, Gretchen. I didn’t use a pattern. It is an original design. With Silhouette, you download shapes to your computer from their library and print them out on your cutting machine. I chose various cuts like the flourishes for the roots and the tree branches and then sent the shapes to the printer through my computer. The silhouettes of the children and lambs were among the shapes available to cut through the Silhouette library. The tree trunk was free hand. I just made it up.

    So, I guess to answer your question, I didn’t use a pattern but made it up as I put it together using things I had cut out. I am sure that you could do the same with the machine you have if you had some shapes you liked to make the roots and branches. For the family names, I just typed them on a sheet of card stock on the computer and left space between them. Then I punched them out with an oval punch and distressed the edges with an ink pad. Then I attached them with pop dots to lift them.

    I used spray adhesive on the back of each piece to attach it to the background paper.

    I hope this helps. Thank you for the note !

  2. Gretchen

    Thank you so much, this makes perfect sense. I was wondering if the roots were flourishes, I really like them! Your work is absolutely gorgeous, and having spent the first year working on our family’s genealogy, this idea combines two great loves. THANK YOU! 🙂 🙂

  3. Sandra

    Gretchen. You are welcome. I have been trying to put odds and ends from our family history on another blog I couldn’t possibly put up everything because it fills a filing cabinet but I am trying to select things I think might be interesting to other people. My son has helped me to figure out the blog-thing. Elsewhere on the grandma blog is a family group portrait, if you can call it that, which I made before I had a cutting machine. It is freehand. It might give you some ideas, too. I too, love genealogy ! Good luck. Sandra

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