Drawing, coloring, and painting is something at which most kids are experts. Kids are prodigious producers of art and you are probably flooded with beautiful, colorful, creative pieces. What to do with all these masterpieces is a dilemma most parents face. Throwing them away is heartrending, but keeping them all is a major undertaking. Even after throwing away most of the art your child has created, you will likely still have a lot of it.
As you wade into curating your child’s art collection, making decisions about what to keep and the best way to show off the beautiful pieces will come up again and again. Whether you are looking for temporary ways to show off your child’s art, or permanent ways to keep it forever, we have collected our favorite tips to help you.
Throwing Art Away
It seems harsh to start with throwing art away. Surely, you must be thinking, can’t we start with keeping things forever? Much like tearing off a band aid to avoid pain, we start with the unavoidable. You cannot possibly keep all of the art your child colors, paints, sculpts, glues, glitters, and papier-mâchés. Throwing your child’s art away is best approached with delicacy if not stealth. While you are not doing anything you should feel guilty about, your child’s tears over her most recent Dora picture are hard to face. In order to avoid hurt feelings, display each new piece for a few days and then dispose of it. Of course, you should not throw everything away. You may want to keep paintings that are particularly meaningful or show a new skill.
If you don’t want to be secretive about throwing away the art, you can talk with your child about how keeping every single thing is impossible. Most kids care more about actually making the art than keeping it. As long as they know you will keep some things, they will likely get on board with a display and dispose cycle.
Most families have a fridge covered in art, which is a lovely way to see your child’s art every day, but perhaps you would like to do something a little more creative. It is probably a good idea to think of displaying the art in two different ways; one for temporary exhibit, and a permanent collection.
To make rotating art easy, a display that has quick releases is the way to go. Think corkboard in a frame with no glass, clipboards hung on a wall, or string and clips. With these methods you can change out the art in seconds every day if needed. Each picture gets its day in the sun, then to the recycle bin it goes.
There are nearly unending options for permanent children’s art displays. Of course, framing and hanging the pieces in the house works. You can also take pictures of your favorites, size them to be around the same size, and have them printed on a large poster as a collage. This is very time consuming, but makes a beautiful and meaningful end product. Most printers will be able to print your child’s art on calendars, coasters, mugs, and more. You don’t have to go to the printer to make the art last. Use adhesive laminating sheets to protect your child’s art and use it as a placemat.
One of the cutest ideas we have seen is to make a photo book, alternating pictures of your child and collages of art. If you are particularly organized, it would be sweet to have each page be a year, a picture of year one and the first crayon scribbles, then year two, and so on. It would make a sentimental graduation gift.
Unless you have unlimited wall space and time to spend at the printers, you will not be able to display all of your child’s artwork. Sticking your favorites in a box works, but before they are put away until college there is something you should do. Remembering what age, frame of mind, and sometimes even the topic of the picture is not possible. Use a notecard or write on the back of the picture. Mark down the date, title, and maybe what inspired the picture.
Gifting your Child’s Art
We already mentioned just a few of the myriad ways that you can turn your children’s art into keepsakes. These make great gifts for grandparents and doting aunties and uncles. Another nice way to share your child’s art is to ask him to draw a card, or turn his art into cards. Fold a beautiful drawing in half and write a sweet message on the inside. Your child will be delighted to visit grandma and grandpa and find her art on the fridge there too!
You can also turn your child’s art into an actual, useable US Postal stamp. Visit the US Postal Service webpage to learn how. How lucky for all of your loved ones to get Christmas cards, birthday cards, letters, and other fun snail mail with a very special stamp on it. What kid wouldn’t be inspired to write more letters home from camp or thank you notes when they have their very own stamps?
How to Best Display and Keep your Child’s Art
If you are looking for creative ways to display your child’s artwork, try some of these methods.