Family Names Crosswords - A Guide

June 29, 2020 4 min read


family names custom crossword wall art

What Is Personalised Family Crossword Wall Art?

A personalised family crossword is a crossword made up of the names of people in your family (is that too obvious?).

You don't have to restrict a family crossword just to family names, of course. You can include anything that's important to a family - place names (a home town, for example) or pets names or any other words (live, love, laugh). Most people keep it simple, though - they just want family names on their crosswords. 

We've designed a lot of custom family name crosswords - a family crossword was one of our very first products when we joined Not On The High Street back in 2017. We've learnt a few things about custom crosswords and if you want to learn them too, read on...

A Great Way To Celebrate Family!

Crosswords are a brilliant way to display lots of kinds of information. Why?

  • They're clear and concise.
  • They work well as wall art in your home because, even from a distance, crossword designs form attractive patterns with a balance of text and space.
  • Everybody understands how a crossword works but, given a random selection of names, not everybody could design one.

Even though crosswords are an attractive way to display many kinds of information, there are several reasons why they're particularly suitable as a way of celebrating a family. 

Find out why one grandparent's grandchildren love their family crossword.

custom family crossword print


Every personalised family crossword, like every family, is unique. Every family consists of a different set of names, so every family crossword design is different too. There's something satisfying about knowing that the crossword design for YOUR family is different to the crossword design for everybody else's family. 


Crosswords show all the family members, interconnected, in one place. Crosswords, by definition, are interconnected designs that link words together, so they resonate well with the idea of a linked, interconnected family. Other family wall art designs aren't usually able to show this aspect of family in the way that crosswords can. 


Crosswords have a lovely, unspoken feeling of equality about them - all the names on a crossword are of equal importance. If one name is removed, then the crossword design can be broken. In contrast, a list of names has a name at the top and a name at the bottom, so a list style print can imply a difference in importance, even when there isn't one.


When you read a crossword, your usual sequential method of reading is disrupted because on a crossword the names appear both horizontally and vertically, and they might be in a different order to how you usually think of those same names.

You don't read a crossword by starting at the top left hand corner and working your way down to the bottom right corner. You read it much more randomly and attentively because the connections between the names divert your eyes in different directions and along different lines. Your reading is taken off 'auto-pilot'.

custom family names crossword print

Is A Custom Crossword Possible To Design From Any Set Of Names?

No! Custom family crosswords can be designed from the vast majority of sets of names. But occasionally a crossword isn't possible. It can happen, for example, when one of the names has no letters in common with any of the other names or where a lot of the names are very short (short names restrict crossword design options). 

However, all is not lost! There are several solutions:

  • add another word to the list of names (for example, the family surname, the word 'family' or the word 'love').
  • Sometimes one or more of the names can be expanded into a longer version of the name (so SAM might be expanded into SAMUEL or SAMANTHA).
  • add another character (like a heart symbol) to the end of two or more of the names.

If we're ever in this situation, we discuss with the customer how they want to proceed.

How Many Names?

In theory you can put any number of names on a crossword - you'd just need a very big crossword for a lot of names! In practice, it depends on the crossword style (some styles happily work with lots of names, some styles work better with just a few names).

We suggest getting your list of names together first. After you know how many names you have, then check crossword styles. We offer crosswords from 4 to 20 names, though we've done crosswords with 3 words and we've done custom crosswords with over 50 names. So, if you have a lot of names, get your list together first and then contact us for a quote.


Spellings of people's names is obviously very important, and it's even more important for us when we're designing crosswords. One spelling mistake in one name can mean that the entire crossword needs to be redesigned! Thankfully, this is not always the case, but corrections to name spellings cause delays, which means your print won't reach you as quickly as it could have done.

The Same Name

We've often seen the same name used more than once in a crossword because different family members have the same name. If you enter the same name twice on your list of names for a crossword, we'll design the crossword with the same name appearing twice.

personalised family names crossword print

A Wall Of History

To show how much people like their family crosswords we'll just tell you the story of one family. They come back to us for a new crossword whenever a new grandchild is born. They told us that their grandchildren loved looking at the crossword to find their own names and that they were creating 'a wall of history' with each new crossword!


Any Questions?

If you have any questions about personalised family crosswords, ask away! Click here to ask your question.

Check out all our crossword styles here.

3 Responses

Norma Dorothea Johnston
Norma Dorothea Johnston

January 05, 2023

Hi I have the tiles but I need help making a crossword out of 10 names can you help me?
what would the cost be?

Rob at elevencorners
Rob at elevencorners

February 14, 2021

Hi Darren, Yes, that’s right. We create a crossword from a list of family names that you send us. If you have any more questions, let me know! Thanks, Rob.

Darren Jones
Darren Jones

February 13, 2021

If I give you a list of name can you create a family crossword?

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