Ideas for Coats of Arms

By Kay Ireland ; Updated September 15, 2017
Coat of Arms

Making your own family coat of arms is a great project for kids to take on. With a simple cutout of a shield, you can send them to work on a coat of arms that explains their family in its images and colors. Each characteristic of a coat of arms means something, and in years past it was a way to identify families. While we don't formally use coat of arms any more, making one is a fun craft project and might make kids think about the characteristics that make their own family unique.

Traditional Colors

The color of a coat of arms sent a message about the family who owned it. Gold stood for generosity, while white represented peace and serenity. A coat of arms that was black represented constancy and grief, and a coat that was blue indicated the loyalty of the family. A red coat suggested that the family was involved in the military, and a green coat showed hope and joy. Finally, the color purple was reserved for royal families or those who reigned in justice in some way. Choose the color that best describes your family for the base of your coat of arms.

Traditional Animals

Animals represented characteristics of a family in the coats of arms of old, starting with the bear that represented protectiveness and the bee that represented industriousness. A camel suggested perseverance, while a dog was indicative of loyalty. An eagle showed leadership, while the symbol of a dragon suggested that the family guarded some kind of treasure. A fox was clever, and a griffin was brave. A lion suggested courage, and a tiger suggested ferociousness. In short, an animal was chosen that had characteristics that best matched the family.

Traditional Symbols

Traditional coats of arms were covered with symbols that represented the family. Some of the more popular symbols were an axe for dutifulness, a bridge for magistrates, a crescent for enlightenment, crosses for religious families, crowns representing authority, fire for zeal, a flaming heart to show passion and a fleur de lis for purity, or for a family who had French ancestry, a hand for faith, heart for sincerity and antlers representing fortitude. A moon suggested serenity, while an oyster shell indicated that the family was made up of travelers. A ring stood for fidelity, and a star stood for nobility. When making a coat of arms, choose those symbols that match your family. You can use more than one symbol in your coat of arms to make it truly personalized.

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About the Author

Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.