Family Rules Canvas

Back when Lindsey did a post about her BFF’s family rules canvas a couple of years ago, I knew it was something I had to re-create.

It’s just right up my alley.

I’m all about clear expectations.

Back when I worked at my Big Girl Job, I remember getting so frustrated sometimes…I mean, if *that’s* what you wanted of me, why didn’t you just TELL me that???!!! Sheesh.

So, a gigantic canvas with our family’s most important virtues splayed across it was perfect.

Besides, I’m trying to be intentional in my parenting.  (Note the careful word choice there…)

When I did a mini tour of my kitchen a few weeks ago, the family rules canvas was an email generator from you guys asking all about it.

So, here goes:

Okay, that’s a bad picture.  Henry took it a few weeks ago.  But it shows scale, and I was too lazy to go downstairs and snap a new one.

This thing is BIG.  24″x36″.  And it sits in my kitchen proudly.  A definite conversation piece.  It always generates comments from people who come to visit.

I borrowed most some of the rules from Nicole’s canvas, omitted some, and thought up a few of my own.  I really wanted this to be representive of our family.

Try to ignore the giant mosquito creature in the pic.  Thanks.

Here’s our rules:

  • Always be kind
  • Obey your parents
  • Sing silly, dance crazy, hug often, snuggle much, say I love you
  • Forgiveness is mandatory
  • Have fun, ask first, no fussing, no whining
  • Husband: hug your wife daily & wife: always be on his side
  • Always tell the truth
  • Keep your promises
  • Never follow an apology with a but…
  • Encourage your siblings…share in their joy
  • Use nice words, ignore dirty ones
  • Use your manners…yes please thank you
  • There is no such thing as “mine” in this house…it is all God’s
  • Too much TV is bad…too much reading is good
  • Bless your food, be grateful, eat together, clean up after yourself
  • Always give to others first
  • No permission shopping!!!
  • Say your prayers…thank God for this family

I’ll tell you how I made mine and then I’ll tell you why I would do it different next time (and likely will eventually re-do it).

I painted a canvas a coordinating color and then simply took one sheet of 12×12 scrapbook paper, cut it in half (so that now I had two pieces of 6″x12″) and lined up the edges…see how there’s a “crease” down the center of each rule?  That’s where the paper meets.  I thought that crease would drive me batty, but it really doesn’t.  It’s worse in some places than others but overall it’s not an issue.

I didn’t want to have to also try to line up individual narrow strips, so I layered all of the paper sheets instead of actually cutting each piece into 2″ (or whatever) strips…so there’s a lot of wasted paper…(I would still recommend wasting the paper though…I can’t imagine trying to line up each individual strip like that…not to mention all the math it would take to decide all of your sizes and whatnot!).  I specifically wanted varying widths of paper…I didn’t want a series of the same sized strips all the way down.  I just eyeballed it.

I had never worked with Modge Podge before, so this was my first attempt.  Probably not the wisest project to learn on.  I slapped a layer of Modge Podge on the canvas, lined everything up, and then slapped more Modge Podge over the top to “seal” it.  Do some googling about proper Modge Podge application before you do this project if you’re a novice.  You’re welcome.

As you can see in these pictures, Modge Podge on paper makes for a crinkling, bubbling, paper warping mess.  It looks fine from afar, but it’s definately not perfect.  I’ve learned to live with it, and somehow the crinkling gives it character, but if I were to ever do it again, I’d probably make a giant frame from baseboard moulding and plexiglass instead of using a canvas.  That way, you avoid the Modge Podge step and it’s a little more protected from the “elements”.  Translation: sticky kid fingers.

As for the wording, I printed out the rules in different fonts on regular printer paper and then I used my projector and traced.  I realize most people don’t own a projector, sorry.  But the good news is that Lindsey did a linky party a while back and people had some great twists on this idea!

She made hers using fabric and printable iron on stuff…I saw some made digitally and printed as giant posters…all kinds of stuff in all sorts of sizes.  Check it out for some inspiration!

Do you have a set of family rules somewhere?

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I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.

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  1. 1

    I’ve seen variations of this idea before and I’m glad I saw this today, it reminded me of yet another DIY I want to tackle! Your “rules” are great! I know I’ll “borrow” a few (several) of them when I make my own!
    Malia @ One2One Network´s last blog post ..Spring is Here!

  2. 2

    WOW. I have been wondering about this. It is AMAZING. I can’t believe you did this by hand. INCREDIBLE.
    Kim´s last blog post ..The Skiger Thaigers

  3. 3

    You got mad skillz, but what is “no permission shopping”?
    Wendy Hagen´s last blog post ..Breaking into Show Business

    • 4

      you know when you tell your kids no and then they go ask their dad hoping for a better answer? that’s permission shopping…asking until they get the answer they want. if mom says no, it’s no. don’t you dare ask your dad afterwards. that’s a capital offense in our house. INSTANT time out if you get caught. we’re mean.


  4. 5

    growing up, we had a set of rules, on the wall for anyone to see. i always thought they were dumb. now, I see that it was ME who was the dummy, and now I want some fancy pants rules in MY house;)
    yours look great, thanks for the inspiration!
    make a great day! xo
    hannah´s last blog post ..i need a minute

  5. 6

    did i mention i adore this? we’re moving next month and it’s going up. somewhere. we have “permission shopping” issues here, too. sometimes she’ll even ask the dog.
    Jessica Johnson´s last blog post ..Biker Chick

  6. 7

    I love how clear the expectations are — I wish the kids I teach could have something like this in their homes!
    Eli´s last blog post ..excitement and celebration!

  7. 8

    I like it…

    I make my rules up as I go along. A little chaos never hurt anything, right?


  8. 9

    i’ll be saving this idea for when i have littles in the house again. sadly this will be years away. but it’s okay. at 19 and 20, my kids aren’t really ready to be parents any more than i’m ready to be a g’ma. give me another five or so years! ; )
    purejoy´s last blog post does my garden grow

  9. 10
    Rachel Slagle says:

    it’s funny that you posted this… i’ve wanted to do one FORever – since lindsey first posted nicole’s. just last week i went searching her blog and yours for the details and spent like an hour on the linky party :)

  10. 11

    I did make one!! I agree though, now there are a lot of things I would do differently and probably will make it over when I have time. :)

    you can see it here:
    Amy K´s last blog post ..easter egg garland tutorial

  11. 12

    LOL on the pic of Lu

  12. 13

    This is so gorgeous. And I looove your family rules!

    I have recently moved to live with my older sister and her family. So we are now a blended family of 9. 3 Adults, my 2 girls and her 4 boys.

    Its working well. However a beautiful reminder of ‘the rules’ wouldn’t go amiss … its been quite a lot of change and upheaval for all of us. And maybe we need a new ‘blended’ set of rules to share and follow.

    Thanks so much for sharing this project!
    Meg´s last blog post ..4 Contests for Charity