family rules canvas

you all remember this one, right? or maybe you’re new here and visiting from just a girl or jeannett’s blog. if so, welcome! i get sooo many emails asking for more details on how my best friend nicole did this, so i thought i’d just post it again with a few more helpful hints and some more detailed pictures. i have had a canvas all ready to do this project, i even have the wall for it picked out, but i haven’t taken the plunge yet. maybe this’ll help me finally get to it!

Here is how she did it (in her words, with lots of my own added in that are italicized)…

1. get a huge canvas. nicole’s was 30″ x 40″. mine is a little smaller, but not much. get it on sale please. Paint the canvas (you see the paint on the border and on the sides). its best if the canvas is wrapped all around the edges rather than the exposed wood. just paint it sloppily – no need to be perfect, just make sure all the edges are covered.

2. Spend a whole lot of time at the paper store picking out paper you cannot resist. nicole felt some of her papers, although she loves them, were maybe a bit to dark or had too much contrast in them for the final writing to come out really clear. so remember: less contrast, not too dark. got it?

3. Write your rules. Be careful of what you put. My kids often refer to the canvas. My favorite is…”Daddy, hug mommy”. A rule is a rule, ya know? I should have put HUSBAND- MASSAGE YOUR WIFE’S BACK DAILY. check out the links above to the blogs. they also have a few suggestions for rules. i think i will steal most of mine, but add in things like, “tummy to the table”.

4. Now, cut that beautiful paper into strips. I varied the widths, used “torn” scissors, scalloped scissors, and so on. Use glue, mod podge, or spray adhesive to lay it out on the canvas. i would definitely recommend mod podge the most on this.

5. I then went on to the computer and typed all the rules in different fonts. I am a font junky thanks to lindsey’s sister, Jennifer, showing us how to download free fonts. Do it…get hooked! It is easy and wonderful! just google “free fonts” and you’ll get more than you’ll ever need.

6. I printed them and “eyed” or copied them onto my papers with black and white paint pens.
and here’s where all the questions come in: “the canvas is obviously wider than standard 12 x 12 paper. how did she fit this in the printer/get the words on?” she cut her paper in half – it’s not actually one long strip. you can kind of see it in the pic below where it says “forgiveness is mandatory”. maybe she taped them together in the middle? i’ve done that a bunch, and if you are really careful it will work and you can still carefully take the tape off when you’re done. just make sure to change the settings on your computer for your page layout before you print to allow for a larger paper size. when she says she “eyed” them, she did just that. she’d print out the rule in a font she wanted on plain paper, then look at it and copy it with a paint pen directly onto her fancy paper. most of us can’t do that. she’s just good. but i would still print it on one long strip of paper and go over it again with a paint pen just to thicken up the font’s lines. just a thought – i think that’s what she did.

***edited to add!!!: do a layer of mod podge on your canvas, add paper, smooth out, then let dry. then add another layer of mod podge on top to seal. let dry, then add another. it will still probably be a little bubbly.****

7. Cover that baby in mod podge and make your man hang it! do a couple few layers of mod podge. did you know there are different sheens of mod podge? i think nicole prefers matte, but there are also ones with more gloss to them.

in case you couldn’t read all her rules, here they are:

















so there you have it! i hope i have answered all your questions, although i’m pretty sure i just confused a bunch of you even more. sorry!

**ooh! i have an idea! if any of you get to this project, come back here and leave a comment linking to pics of your project. thanks!**

i am going to test this using fabric. i wonder how it’ll work?! (**edited – i did it! lookie here!**)

-lindsey (and nicole)


  1. 1

    Oh i love this. Its something i definatly have to have in my house. I'm getting married in a few months. I have to find someone to make one for us as a wedding present

  2. 2

    I seriously fell in love with this when you first posted it. IN LOVE!!! Thanks so much for the play by play. I am making this for sure.

  3. 3

    I love this!! Thank you for sharing – I'm inspired!

  4. 4

    I love this. Thanks for sharing.

  5. 5

    Oh thank you for posting this!! I am going to do this…right away I hope. I so appreciated this tutorial. It was very helpful for me. And once again…I am VERY happy to have found your blog. :)

  6. 6

    Very nice, love this idea.

  7. 7

    i've done this one! it was so much fun to do and turned out great. I did this for my sister's classroom and made classroom rules.I'm going to do this again when my son is a little older…here is my link :)

  8. 8

    Does nicole have a blog as well?

  9. 9

    i am confused! ok, so do you print your words onto the patterned paper? stencil them? free-hand them?

    • 10

      Super Cute! Did you get two pieces of paper that matched and go all the way across? How did you get it to look so seamless?

      • 11

        yes, its 2 pieces taped together to span the width of the canvas. once you have teh writing on top you don’t notice the seams much.

  10. 12

    love this! gotta make it!

  11. 13

    i just found your blog and i love it. you are so creative. i have been looking all around :) your house is awesome and i love all the details. we have very similar styles so i have been getting some ideas for my own house. i love this idea and i am definatley going to make one for our family. i will send you a link when i finish.

  12. 14

    sorry! nicole does not have a blog. it would be fabulous, though!

  13. 15

    anonymous – its both printed directly on the paper, and some was just done by hand, like the ones that are white.

  14. 16

    thanks soo much for sharing im so excited to make mine!!!!! i love your blog!!!!


  15. 17

    THis is great. Cute and AMAZINGLY ENCOURAGING for your family. I will be recreating this for sure. thank you so much for the idea!

  16. 18
    Court@BeautyFullyUsed says:

    I completely love this…and think I will have to make one.

  17. 19

    I am so happy you reposted this! Actually, I did my own version shortly after it was posted the first time, but have gotten so many comments on it. I always refer them back here :)

  18. 20
    Heather Bug says:

    This is the cutest thing I've ever seen!!! Love it! I actually may try to make this.

  19. 21

    Hi Lindsey! I'm so not crafty so sorry for my questions. What kind of paint do you use to paint the canvas? So, after I pick out my papers, I can print them, using the cool fonts and don't have to free-hand, is this correct? Except for the white, which would have to be free-handed with the paint pens?

  20. 22

    anonymous – i used basic craft paints on mine. i think they are acrylic? they are just the little bottles you buy at the craft store for under a buck. and you're right about the rest – you shouldn't have to hand write any of it if you print it all. good luck!

  21. 23

    Hi Lindsey, A friend of mine referred me to your blog for ideas on birthday parties and I got side tracked looking at everything. You are one creative girl! I love your blog and I LOVE the family rules canvas. I want one and don't have a creative bone in my body. Would you or your friend be willing to sell me one? I know it's probably very time consuming. Let me know if this is something you would consider.


  22. 24
    Jeannett Gibson says:

    Here's my family rules canvas! Tell Nicole I said thanks for the great idea!!!

  23. 25

    LOVE this, but I must be seriously mod-podged challenged! I made a darling one for my girls' room and RUINED it with the mod podge – it wrinkled and warped all of the paper!! Please help – what am I doing wrong?? Thank you.

  24. 26

    hey robin – sorry this is so frustrating! it could be that you used too much mod podge. also, if you don't let it dry before doing the top coat it can warp the paper, too. but almost every time i've used mod podge the paper bubbles some, unless its a really thick paper. is it salvageable?

  25. 27
    The Chubby Dove says:

    Just found your blog through the Nester. I LOVE this canvas! What a cute idea.

    I'm gonna make one of these for my family.

    Yay, project!

  26. 28
    the wild raspberry says:

    found you through the nester~~

    i love love love this family rules sign! i hope to make one soon.
    i may try using rub~on letters instead of my printer…i let you know how it goes.

    thanks so much for sharing!!!


  27. 29
    Cindy Broaddus says:

    Thank you for posting this project. I LOVE IT! I verbally say so many of these rules, and some are written down, but on posterboard – not nearly as pretty as your friend's "board". I love the big size, too. It's a must project for me now, also. :)

  28. 30

    Made this for myself last night. Going to make one for my friend's new home. Such a great (easy) idea. Thanks for sharing it!

  29. 31
    classiclyamber says:

    This is fabulous! Sim-pleee fabulous! I just heart it so much. I'm inspired, too! It's just what our family has been missin' all these years~!

  30. 32

    I love this!! I am going to have to create one!

  31. 33
    Mod Podge Amy says:

    Absolutely love, especially the use of Podge! Great job –

  32. 34
    AnneYarbs79 says:

    Came over from Nester's… This is such an adorable project and has come at just the right time on our lives! Thanks for posting this!!

  33. 35
    The Cook Book says:

    I decided to copy this adorable craft using fabric and it turned out sooo cute! I used my cricut cutter for the letters in tons of different fonts and it looks FAB! thank you for posting this again!

  34. 36

    cook book – i am going to try that, too! please please please show us a picture!

  35. 37

    definitely doing this!! It's just too cute and I have the perfect empty spot for it!

  36. 38

    dolly – i'm having a hard tome finding a way to contact you, so hopefully you'll check back here. nicole is looking to possibly sell these. can you contact me and give me an email address i can pass along to nicole if you really are interested in having a canvas made? thanks!

  37. 40

    This is AMAZING!!!!I love it. I am doing it – I will link back to you.



  38. 41

    I would love to think that I am capable of doing this, but I'm not quite sure. However, I can definitely PAY someone to do this for me. Any chance you will make and sell these? (Please?) :)

    They should be required for every household. :)

  39. 42

    I loved this project. It was the perfec thing to do with my 9 year old! Due to lack of wall space I had to do a smaller version:
    Thanks for the great idea!

  40. 43
    The Chocolate dog Life says:

    Here is my version. I changed the rules since our kids were older.

    Thanks so much for showing us how to do this.

    I still think your looks better than mine.

  41. 44
    Mique (as in Mickey) says:

    Hey Lindsey-
    way past my bedtime but I just finished my own digital version (to be printed on canvas as a jpg). Check it out here:

    Thanks for always inspiring me (you and Nicole :).

  42. 45
    Mique (as in Mickey) says:
  43. 46


    Oops, sorry I didn't leave my email address. I didn't even think about that. Nicole can contact me at

    Thanks so much!

  44. 47

    This is brilliant! Excellent work.

  45. 48

    here's a link to jenjen's – you have to check it out!

  46. 49
  47. 50
    Amber@theRunaMuck says:

    The canvas is great, but your rules just knock me out. I love them. You're such an artist.

  48. 51
    Michelle, Muffin Tin Mom says:

    absolutely, postively LOVE this idea!

  49. 52

    Awesome!!! Love it – it's definitely added on to my list of projects to do during my maternity leave (darn good thing we get a year off up here…my list is getting long!). Now to figure out which rules I want…

  50. 53
    sarasophia says:

    I love it, love it, LOVE IT!! I will definitely be making this one to hang in our kitchen. The best and easiest idea yet…thank you so much for sharing.

    As soon as I have a chance to make it up I'll definitely link up.

    <3 Sara Sophia

  51. 54
  52. 55
    We are THAT Family says:

    I can't wait to make one! LOVE it!

  53. 56
    Anonymous says:

    Just a thought, if you want the mod podge to not be bubbly get your paper wet as in soaking wet before you apply it with mod podge to the canvas. It stretches the paper a bit so when it dries with the glue on it doesn't bubble. Cute idea. Here via Rocks in my Dryer.

  54. 57

    I really like this project. Think I'll enlist my kids with their ideas on the rules . . . that way they cannot argue about the rules themselves!

    I am here via Rocks In My Dryer. Off to check out your commentors projects.

  55. 58

    So very creative!! I fell here after Rock in my Dryer as well. So glad I did!

  56. 59

    I DID IT! Thanks for the inspiration! I linked your blog in my post!

  57. 60

    I attempted this tonight! not nearly as pretty but I tried!

  58. 61
    MooBee Mama says:

    What a fabulous idea. Thank you so much for sharing it with the rest of the world.

  59. 62
    Scrapping With Liz says:

    I saw this and loved it…so since I'm a digital scrapbooker I thought I would make it digital. I also have a template on my blog for those of you who might want to do it digitally.

  60. 63
    Nancy Ward says:


    Today I posted an entry on my blog with a link to this tutorial.

    I'd appreciate your letting me know if that's OK.


    Nancy Ward

  61. 64

    Wow this is awesome!!!!! I have a spare HUGE canvas in my shed…..actually I think it's too big but never mind……what a fabulous idea I will tuck it away with the cobwebs and get around to it one day…just thought maybe Xmas eve and Xmas day rules for a starter!!
    *Bed at 7pm
    *No getting up during the night or santa won't visit
    *Daddy cooks Xmas dinner because Mum has a migraine due to too much shpping, wrapping stress and lack of sleep etc…oh what fun!!
    This is so inspiring…did I already say that?

  62. 65
    Simply Sara says:

    Lindsey, first off I have to say I completely love reading your blog! Your creativity blows me away. Seriously.

    Ok, next, I just finished my canvas and had to tell you AND Nicole how awesome you are. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial! I had so much fun making it.

  63. 66
    Stock Insurance Services says:

    Ok so here is my finished product. Thank you for sharing this awesome project!!!!


  64. 67

    Here is my version!

    I'm soooo glad you posted this- it is a great idea!

  65. 68
    The Pretty Neat Company says:

    Love Love Love this project! Thanks so much for sharing it! I posted this link on your other entry about this project but thought I should post it to this one too!

  66. 69

    Thank you so much for sharing this project! I love it! Here is my version –

  67. 70
    It'll Be Fine says:

    I finally made one and my children are so proud of it! Love the blog and love hearing from Nicole too!

  68. 71

    Thanks for posting this! Nicole we love it and think it's a great idea! Here is the one we just made.
    Definately not as cute as yours, but it was fun.

  69. 72
    The UnModern Mom says:

    This is the greatest thing I have ever seen in my entire life.

    Well, maybe that's a wee exaggeration but I love it so much!

    I've been looking for something to put in a great big gap in our entry way and now I've got it.


  70. 73

    I Googled "Family Rules" and found lots of good family-therapy sites with lists. They had good ideas, but they lacked warmth. What I love about yours is the positive, whimsical feel! I have a five year-old daughter, so I don't want these "rules" to be severe and legalistc. Your site encouraged me to to change the language, and I'm definitely going to follow your creative canvas project. You've turned something I was feeling quite serious about into a joyful adventure!

  71. 74

    I made one! :)

    Thanks so much for the inspiration!


  72. 75

    A little late here, but I just made one for our playroom. Thanks for the fun and creative idea!

  73. 76

    Thanks so much for the tutorial! I just finished mine and linked back to you. I love this. Thanks again!

  74. 77
    Kat @ Black Kats Design says:

    You were caught being creative and featured on Black Kats Design Fab Friday Favorites. Stop on by and grab a button to show off!

    Kat @
    Black Kats Design

  75. 78
    Dawn Lange says:

    I am so inspired!! I have been struggling with family rules for quite some time- Not knowing what they should be, how to present them, etc. Also, I have felt so alone in my desire to make the rules that I have felt overwhelmed. This beautiful project gives me a reason to really do some soul searching about the rules that are relevant to my family. So many of the rules here are lovely- thank you so much for posting!

  76. 79
    The Pretty Neat Company says:

    Hi again! I posted my project last fall! A friend shared it with her church's craft group and that asked that we show their class how to make the rules canvas. I called mine 'values' so some used that too. You inpired many of us and I just wanted to show you all the canvases that were made because you shared this great idea with so many! Thank you! Here they are . . .

  77. 80

    What a great idea — so cute!

  78. 81

    I have a question. I've made a couple of these in 9 x 12 because I couldn't figure out how to do wider with the paper. Do you just put pages end to end across?

  79. 82

    Thank you, thank you for the inspiration!! I just made one for my home, too. :)

  80. 83
  81. 84

    Found your blog by accident and just love it! Thank you for a great idea! Here is ours:

  82. 85

    OK, finally took the first step and bought a beautiful canvas, but want to make sure I don’t screw it up! What size fonts did you use? Also, is it modge podge, paper, then modge podge again? One layer on the top or put on one, let it dry, put on another, etc.? Sorry so many questions!!

  83. 86

    Do I print or do I hand draw the rules onto the paper

  84. 87

    Do I put the paper on the canvas before I write on the paper?

  85. 88
    Natalie says:

    As I embark on a trip to our family reunion, nothing could be more perfect to share w/ them. Only 5 days left, not sure I can finish one of these awesome family message boards in time but thanks to the posting, I can share it w/ everyone. Such truth should never be wasted. Pass it on!

  86. 89
    Allyson says:

    I love this!! I did something similar, with vinyl lettering and wrote out our own family rules, and hung them in our breakfast room. Always a nice reminder each morning!

    Here’s a place for custom lettering:

  87. 90

    I had so much fun researching and making mine. Here is a link to my pictures and tutorial.

  88. 91
    archana says:

    hi, loved your project. how did you print the letters on the scrapbook paper?

  89. 92

    This looks really awesome!

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