My kids are all grown up, and they’re out of the house now, but I can still remember the mountains of paintings and doodles that came home from school, Sunday school, and summer camp – plus the vast quantities of last-minute drawings my kids produced while they were waiting for dinner to be prepared.
As parents, we want to encourage creativity, and there’s something lovely about the innocence of a child’s drawing or painting – so we often feel moved to display our kid’s artwork on our refrigerators or bulletin boards.
Then as the quantity of artwork grows, we might get some boxes to handle the overflow. Before long, the piles of drawings and paintings get completely out of control, and we’re drowning in paper.
There is a way to manage the steady flow of artistic creations, while still giving your children a sense of appreciation for their hard work.
My recommendation is to carefully select what you’re going to showcase in your home. Put a few special pieces on display in creative ways, so you can show off your child’s creations and give them a place of honor in your home, without feeling like you need to save and display every crayon and colored pencil drawing he or she brings home.
You can group similar items together (sorting by color or theme, like animals, notes, or poems). Sorting things together automatically adds a bit of extra pizzazz to your display.
If you have more than one child, you might set aside an area for each child, or put siblings’ items side-by-side accordings to the groupings above. For example, you can put Susie’s blue paintings next to Jack’s blue colored pencil drawings.
Once you’ve selected some special pieces, it’s time to display them! Here are some possible display options for your home:
1. Hang on the fridge or bulletin board.
This super-basic option is simple and easy, and the only supplies you’ll need are some magnets or push pins. Just make sure to maintain your display, and swap older drawings every now and then – you don’t want your fridge to end up looking like an overloaded bulletin board on a college campus!
2. Hang in regular frames.
You can use regular picture frames to mount your child’s artwork on the wall – just buy some simple frames, and you’re in business!
Keep your eye out for discount frame sales at craft stores like Michael’s, or at your local frame shop.
3. Create your own rotating art gallery.
If you’d like to create your own do-it-yourself art gallery for your home, there are number of ways to go about it.
You can hang inexpensive (empty) frames, then mount some simple binder clips inside the frames so your child can hang her latest creations. Check out how blogger Julie did this on her site, Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss.
Or, you can mount a simple wire between two eye bolts – check out this post to see how blogger Kelli W. created her display.
Or if you want a slightly fancier option, you can create an attractive wood and wire display, like the one Liz Marie did in her home.
No matter how simple or fancy you make your in-home art gallery, you can hang your children’s artwork in your gallery with pride!
4. Digitize to archive the artwork – or make something more elaborate with your digital images.
You can also digitize your favorite pieces, to archive them and keep them long term. You’ve got two digitizing options: Scanning or photographing.
If you’re going to scan your child’s artwork, make sure the original is free of dirt or lint before you scan it. For additional scanning tips, check out my previous post on restoring old photo albums.
If you’d like to photograph the pieces to digitize them, take your photos in natural light for best results. Kate, a blogger from the site Picklebums.com, also recommends standing directly over the artwork to snap the best shots. For additional photo tips for kids’ artwork, check out her blog post, Photographing Kids Art to Save.
Once you’ve photographed the artwork, you can enlarge certain images to fit larger size frames, or make a collage with multiple creations. Jen, a blogger who writes at JenThousandWords.com, wrote about how she created photo collages of her children’s artwork for their bedroom and playroom walls. You can find additional collage and display ideas on our “Kids Artwork” board on Pinterest.
5. Make greeting cards.
You can also make greeting cards from your kids’ artistic creations! You can use part of the artwork as the front of the card (and leave the inside blank so you can it for any occasion), or you can get artwork printed onto postcards.
Looking for printing options? You can try your local photo lab — a lot of local shops will have options for printing photo cards. Or you can try an online site like Tiny Prints, which can give you customizable options for creating your own cards.
Creating a special place for your child’s artwork
Hopefully I’ve given you some options for displaying or archiving your child’s artistic creations. What’s important is that you find a display system that works for you (and for your family) and frees you from having to keep mountains of boxes full of drawings and paintings that never see the light of day.
Of course, make sure you have fun with your art display efforts! This can be a creative and enjoyable project for the whole family.