For both sets of parents I decided to make a family tree that they could update with new pictures every year. It turned out awesome! I can't wait until I'm done having kids so I can make one for myself.
Here's the basic steps of how it's done.
1. Choose picture size and cut out plastic tablecloth pieces 1/3 in. bigger on all sides (I recommend using a rotary cutter for this, to make the pieces straight).
2. Layout pictures on fabric for tree and freehand draw tree shape around the pics. That way you know they will all fit in the pattern you desire. (The picture pattern I used was grandparents as roots, then parents and original family pic on trunk, then the kids in the tree. That way as spouses and grand kids come along you can put family pics of them in their kid slot). Freehand draw a trunk and roots that fit the tree.
4. Choose a back panel that is thick or double sided. You need something that can hold the weight of the pics and plastic slots. I used about 2 yards for the back panel. Just depends on the family size.
5. Use heat and bond to put the tree and trunk on back panel. Then zigzag stitch around the edges to make sure it's permanent. (I was lazy and you can see all the stitching on the back of the panel. If you want you can sew on the tree and plastic slots, then sew the double sided panel together. But you have to make sure you tack it in a couple places, or heat and bond, so the panel stays connected to the back or it will become saggy).
6. Sew on the plastic slots using a denim needle. Make sure after sewing there is still enough room to slide pictures in and out easily. (If you have to rip out the seam it usually ruins the plastic slot and you'll have to cut out a new one).
6. Sew a flap along the top to put a dowel through
7. Add vinyl lettering to spell out the family name
8. Add pics and a dowel and your done!
This was a pretty intense project, but well worth the time and effort. The best part about this family tree is you can update it every year!
Another idea I toyed with was on the trunk to put the wedding picture of the parents, and a slot for a recent picture. Then you could see where they started out, and what they look like now, but decided it was too much work for me.
(closer view of the plastic slots and how their sewed on. Also the dowel and lettering.)