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Creative projects can help you display your meticulous family history research in fun, visually appealing ways. Whether you want to tell an ancestor’s story or create a collage of favorite photos, you can likely find the right project to fit your needs.
Of course, a carefully planned project often requires some handy tools—and not always the usual paper, scissors, and glue. You can also use digital tools to make beautiful crafts worth sharing with the entire family.
One tool that can help with such projects is Canva, a versatile graphic design platform with an extensive catalog of creative templates, colorful stock photos and more. Here’s what you need to know to use Canva for genealogy.
Is Canva Free?
The first thing you may be wondering: How much will this cost me? The good news is that a free Canva account gives you access to over 250,000 templates, 100 design types, 1 million stock images and so much more. For most genealogy projects, the free version of Canva will likely suffice. That said, if you would like access to many more stock photos and more advanced photo editing options, you can upgrade to Canva Pro for $14.99 monthly or $119.99 for the year.
Whatever you choose, Canva is an excellent tool for allowing your creativity to shine while also highlighting your family history. Below are some fun family history projects you might try!
Build a Family Tree
Family trees are a classic way to illustrate your lineage. While there are countless software programs out there to help you create your family tree, such programs can feel overwhelming if you’re just starting out. Fortunately, you can make your own family tree right from your own laptop with the help of Canva.
Below are a couple of examples:
Free Family Tree Templates
If you have never created a family tree before, you may prefer to follow a template that simply requires you to fill in the blanks and customize as you fit. Canva offers several free family tree templates. All you have to do is replace the placeholder names with your own ancestors.
You can even change the colors to better reflect your own family’s heritage. For example, if you want to emphasize your Greek roots, you might opt for all blue and white to represent the flag of Greece. You can add to the family tree or trim it as you see fit. You can also cut design elements that feel extraneous (or add new ones, by exploring the Elements option!) Some templates even make it easy for you add photos, which can bring your tree to life.
White Board Tools
If a template feels too restrictive, no fear! Canva also boasts a white board tool that makes creating your family tree painless while still providing you the freedom to be creative. You choose the design, color, and shape of every branch of your tree and drag and drop elements where they belong.
No matter what option you choose, Canva lets you invite family to edit trees, which can lead to an exciting, enriching collaborative project!
Assemble a Photo Collage
Family photos capture important moments and preserve them forever. A photo collage gives you the chance to bring all of your favorite photos together to tell an ageless, visual story about your family. Canva offers many free photo collage templates so that you can organize your memories in a way that makes sense to you.
Adding your own photos to Canva is easy. Click on the purple button to the right that says “Create a design.” Then, select the option that says “Import File.” From there, you will be able to upload images directly from your device.
Once you have uploaded your photos, you can find them under “uploads” and use them whenever you want. You can swap out the placeholder photos in the collage template simply by dragging your desired photo over the desired spot on the template, as pictured below.
Just like the family tree template, you don’t have to stick with the colors and design provided by the template. You can customize to fit the theme of the photos or the personality of your family. You can change the colors of elements and add new graphics that reflect your family’s heritage.
Craft a Family Newsletter
If your family always has big things on the horizon—be those graduations, births, or just fun summer vacations—you could create a family newsletter to recognize those events. You could also use the newsletter to remind the whole family about upcoming get-togethers like reunions, holiday parties and more.
Canva even offers a free template centered around the family newsletter!
Ultimately, what you include in your family newsletter is up to you. What makes this medium so appealing is that you can not only share photos but also the stories and memories behind them! You can also choose the fonts, graphics, and photos that make your newsletter pop.
Create Family Recipe Cards
Perhaps the best way to spread love is through food. And what better way to celebrate a family’s legacy than through the recipes that have been passed down for generations? With Canva’s recipe card templates, you don’t have to rely on recipes hastily scribbled on the back of receipts. You can design beautiful recipe cards that you can pass out at family events or just because! And like other Canva templates, you can customize to match the flavor and timelessness of that special recipe.
Design Family Reunion Invitations
While a quick group text invitation is efficient, what if there were an even more exciting way to invite everyone to the next family reunion? A family reunion invitation created in Canva can add a splash a color! Below is just one example of the many wonderful family reunion templates that Canva has to offer.
Family reunion templates allow you to provide all of the essential details clearly and crisply: date, time, place and RSVP information. You can also personalize the invitations to reflect your family’s spirit. Below is an example of the above invitation modified.
Bottom line: creative projects can help you preserve your family history, tell wonderful stories about your family, celebrate your heritage and so much more. Canva provides many tools that makes completing these projects effortless and fun.
Last updated: October 2023.