Project: Family Rules Canvas

Last week my friend Molly and I got together for a craft afternoon. Our goal: to create wall hangings featuring the rules of our household. We each spent a bit of time the day before thinking about what we wanted to say. We wanted rules that encouraged the best from everyone in a lighthearted and loving way. You can click on the pictures to enlarge them and see what we each came up with.

I got there around 1:30 in the afternoon with 6 kids in tow.  Since she has 7 kids of her own, the house was immediately busy.  We’re both used to chaos, though, and worked hard all afternoon.  It turned out to be rather an ambitious project for a single afternoon, but we were determined.  We finally got it mostly wrapped up by 6, at which times the kids were all starving, and I had to pile them quickly into the car for dinner at home.

Canvas Craft

My rules:

  • Work with excellence
  • Hug mom and dad no matter how tall you are
  • Compliment the cook
  • Look for ways to serve
  • Encourage others– share in their joy
  • Keep your promises
  • Thank God for this family
  • Choose words that are true, kind, and necessary
  • Dream big, smile often, forgive always

Molly’s words:

  • Thank God for this family
  • Obey Mom and Dad
  • Dream big, smile often, forgive always
  • Count your blessings
  • Kiss the cook
  • Say I love you and give lots of hugs
  • Mind your own beeswax
  • Work hard, never give up
  • Clean up after yourself
  • No fussing, whining or complaining



  • Artist’s canvas– ours were about 18×24, and can be found at Michael’s or other craft store ($6 on sale)
  • Colored scrapbook paper in a variety of colors (if you use 12×12 you’ll have to trim it down to printer size)
  • Computer program with a variety of available fonts– you can download more off the internet if you know how
  • Printer– black and white works fine
  • Spray adhesive in a can (or Mod Podge and foam brush)
  • Scissors and paper cutter

How to

  1. Paint the front and sides of your canvas with craft paint in a neutral color and let it dry overnight. (Molly did this the day before)
  2. Choose the rules that you want to feature.   For an 18×24 canvas, 8 – 10 rules is about right.
  3. Choose 3-4 papers that will be the background of your project and cut them to fit the canvas.
  4. Choose 8-10 papers onto which you will print your rules.  The busier the pattern, the bolder your font will need to be so that it can be easily read.
  5. In a word processing or artist’s program on your computer, experiment with large fonts.  Do some trial prints on plain paper to make sure the sizes and page placement are right.  You will probably want to use a horizontal paper setup so that you can maximize the size of your letters.  You may also want to print half of a rule on one piece of paper and half on a second piece of paper.
  6. Once you get words the size you want on scrap paper, it is time to trim your scrapbook paper to fit into your printer.  Molly’s husband set her printer to accept 3 inch strips of paper (put in narrow edge first) but you can also simply trim scrapbook paper to 8.5 inch width, run it through the printer, and then trim it even more once it comes out of the printer.  We spent quite a bit of time getting words to print out just the way we wanted.   It was probably the trickiest part of the project.
  7. Once the rules are printed, trim each strip so there’s not too much blank paper above and below each rule.  This will also allow you to fit more rules onto your canvas.
  8. When you have everything trimmed, arrange it to fit your canvas.  We originally saw this craft done with the ‘Family Rules’ header at the top of the canvas.  However, we both had so many rules that we wanted to feature that we opted to run our headers down the sides of our canvases, where we had a little extra space anyway due to the size of our print-outs. When arranging we also tried to make adjoining rules not have the same color or font, just to keep it interesting.
  9. Once you have everything laid out, it is time to glue it all down.  We used a can of spray adhesive and glued things down one piece at a time.  The spray adhesive was fairly easy to work with.  A couple times we even had to lift and replace a piece of paper that got laid down crooked.
  10. The last step is to put some kind of coating over the top of the whole project to seal it.  We opted for Mod Podge, which worked OK, except that it made the paper slightly wavy.  I think if I did it again, I would use a spray-on sealer instead of Mod Podge, or I would weight down the project very firmly as it dried, which hopefully would cut down on the waves in the paper. Overall, though, it was a really fun project, one that has me thinking of where else I might be able to glue words of wisdom.
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  1. This is awesome! Thanks for the great idea. I think my favorite rule is “kiss the cook”!!

  2. wow, these look great! How well done both of you. Thanks for posting this fantastic idea!

  3. I have been wanting to make one of these ever since I saw it on the Pleated Poppy. Too cute!

  4. What a wonderful and fun idea! I am so NOT crafty, but I’m wondering if I could do this. I could definitely buy the paper and print the rules and glue them on the canvas. I’m not sure about the painting, though. I think I’ll try it!

  5. I love your rules, they made me smile. Thanks for sharing your lovely project!

  6. EXCELLENT! love love it. ;o)

  7. I love this! I would make one for my house, but the cats can’t read – and even if they could, they probably wouldn’t follow the rules, anyway. 🙂

  8. I absolutely love this. We are making one of these in the VERY near future!

  9. I LOVE THIS! I may have to borrow this idea : )

  10. What a genius idea!! I think I’ll be copying you in the near future… just need to think up a perfect list for my crew…..

  11. I LOVE this too! I would so buy one ! I am the anti-craft.

    Really sweet idea :o)

  12. I did a similar project, but when it got wavy I used a hair dryer to heat up the mod podge and smooth the wrinkles out. Worked pretty well.

  13. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing with us.

  14. For more ideas you can also visit:

    That’s awesome you could crank those out in an afternoon…with 13 children too!

  15. I really like this project. Your rules and Molly’s are all so down-to-earth, and having them hang right there in the kitchen – well, that has to enhance the chances that everyone will live by them.

  16. What a great idea! Sometime to consider doing during our slower days in December… :o)

  17. I saw this a while back on another site, loved the idea and have been wanting to make it. Thanks for giving me the inspiration to do so. They both turned out great!

  18. I love it! I think this would make a wonderful family craft for an upcoming movie/craft night at church. Thank you!

  19. Oh I just love these! What a great idea! I am goign to have to add this one to my project list!

  20. i cannot believe you finished that so quickly! it took me weeks to do it!

  21. Marianne says:

    Thanks! I just did one with my child’s name on the top and different phrases or words to descirbe her. It turned out great! The modge podge made it wrinkly though…still so cute hanging over her bed!


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Monica Brand, chellejean. chellejean said: RT @monicabrand: Project: Family Rules Canvas (Love it!) […]

  2. […] want to especially thank Molly at Owlhaven as I copied her layout! I can’t draw. If I thought I would need to script all the text for my board myself, this […]

  3. […] all over the internet a while back and knew I had to make one (photos from The Pleated Poppy, Owlhaven & Tatertots and Jello. Aren’t they adorable?! I picked out my paper, got a canvas […]