creating a family wall

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Our family wall.

Before I talk about what it represents, let's first get down to the building of it.  This is one of my most favorite projects for our home over the years: a homemade bulletin board.

You've probably seen many of our homemade bulletin boards around our home: at my desk, in the girls' room with a frame, as art, and at my sewing counter to mention a few.  They are a piece of cake to make and can add so much aesthetics and functionality to a room.  Come check it out...

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How to make a bulletin board:

canvas

fabric (I used burlap here)

staple gun

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There are a variety of canvases out there.  I use a variety of thicknesses and sizes when I make mine. You can reuse old canvases or buy them when as they go on sale at the craft store.  I chose large, thin canvases for these particular bulletin boards so they would feel more a part of the wall and protrude less in this high traffic area.

Canvases are excellent for making your own bulletin boards because they have wooden supports as the frame and more support through the middle the larger they are.

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Cut your fabric around the four sides of your canvas so that it would overlap each side by a few inches.  Pick one side and starting in the middle of that side, begin stapling the fabric to the wooden frame until you reach a corner.  Start at the middle again and staple the other half of that side.

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Repeat the stapling process on the opposite side, this time, pulling your fabric taut.

Repeat the stapling and pulling taut on the other two sides, leaving the corners to be stapled until the end.

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To staple the corners, tuck in the bulk of the fabric neatly and tightly. Then staple it a few times to secure it.

Your bulletin board is complete!!!  Now you can make one for every room with pretty/inspiring/textured fabric.

In case you're wondering, canvas bulletin boards really work.  The gesso applied to the canvas, the thick canvas itself, and the stapled fabric that goes on top creates a binding combination to hold push pins and thumb tacks in securely.  I've been using these homemade bulletin boards for years in my homes, rooms, and as gifts.  They are so much more customizable and prettier than cork boards and the likes.

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Now...

Creating a Family Wall

So you now have your homemade bulletin boards (the larger the wall, the more boards can go up!) and homemade thumb tacks.  Now is the really wonderful part: creating your family wall with your family.

Here are some questions to ask in order to begin your family wall:

  • What is our family most excited about at this moment?
  • What upcoming events are coming for us to begin planning?
  • What is each child thriving with at the moment?
  • What are we learning together as a family right now or what are the children learning we want to encourage?
  • What are we as a family or individually wanting to do this month?  This week?
  • What do we talk about doing but never seem to remember to plan or start setting goals towards?
  • What do we dream about as a family?
  • What accomplishments have your family made or individuals that you want to celebrate?
  • What projects do your children want to accomplish with you? 
  • What values, traits, or important topics do you really want to start a conversation with your children?

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The whole idea of a family wall is to have something tangible that represents your family, right now in this particular season.  It will grow and evolve with your family.  Things will be pinned up, moved, exchanged, and added to.  It is a wall of celebration, motivation, encouragement, and learning.  A place where everyone can feel a part of something special and whole.  

Let me give you some examples from our family wall.  Ours is still growing, but at the moment our family is very much dreaming of all things outdoors.  The garden for this spring and when things will be planted where, plans for land and property some day with chickens and animals.  Our own sketches of our dream property are hung close to photos that inspire us now.  The girls stop and look at their sketches and photographs remembering all of our discussions we've had about "someday."

The neighboring bulletin board is growing as well.  We have changing columns of projects and recipes to try that week, lists that Caroline and Johanna are making to soon be added to those columns.  They will be a visible reminder of what we're most excited about that week and what takes priority.  We will be adding illustrations and vocabulary words that we've learned in French together, maps of our state as we explore its history and geography, and snippets of things we've learned and want to use as conversation starters at the dinner table.

My hopes are that sometimes we'll hang prints of famous artwork to discuss at the table.  (I am an art history major, by the way.)  Other times we'll hang pictures from our family history for our children to see what their ancestors looked like which also encourages great conversation.  The options are endless.  And the exciting part is that the family wall will change as does our family, its interests, goals, struggles, and overall personality.

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{While we were in the process of making it a family wall... Slowly adding things.}

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Right now each girl has something special or something up as a reminder on the wall.  For Caroline, it is a place to remind her to send her "James and the Giant Peach" peach to her cousin to keep the peach rolling.  Johanna has her famous face picture for the whole family to see.  Ainsleigh and Annabelle have the only thing they care about at the moment: their upcoming birthday invitation with a cut-out treat bag that would usually be carried around the house under arm.

Our Easter egg dyeing ideas will be pinned up along with some spring ideas we've talked about doing.  It is an exciting, alive wall indeed.

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{If you missed Creating a Family Wall: Homemade Thumb Tacks catch up on it here.}

So what about you?  What would you pin to your family wall this very moment??

the sleepy time gal